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DEVELOPMENT SPIKES
Mark Humphreys
Apartment development?s on the rise as conventional financing returns. Without it, there would be no new starts, says Humphreys & Partners CEO Mark Humphreys (pictured with his Cirrus SR-22 at Addison Airport). In the last month, Mark?s seen a 270% increase in incoming phone calls about new work, compared to January 2010. The firm's in-house tracking coincides with national reports that show a marked uptick in the multifamily sector after Q2 '10 and building on into 2011. Fundamentally, it's time to build since it takes on average 22 months to get from drawing board to ribbon-cutting, he says. It'll be years before production catches up to demand. Rents and occupancy will be increasing. The apartment architecture firm has experienced nearly a 40% increase in the number of projects in its eight US offices since midyear 2010.
The Big House
The Big House project in San Antonio, developed by USAA Real Estate & Cambridge Development Group (photo by Richard Muniz Photography). This 376-unit project has plug-ins for electric carsand garage wiring for easy installation of plug-in panels. Mark says about 15% of his clients are contemplating photovoltaic panels. Green is in, he adds, but the underlying story is demand from Echo Boomers replacing college dorms with market-rate units close to employment centers and empty-nesters racing to fill high-end mixed-use, urban product rather than downsize in the 'burbs. USoccupancy rose two percentage points, ending 2010 at 93.5%.Research now shows demand is four times greater than the 60k units that delivered in 2010, Mark tells us. Buoyed by market demand, developers began construction on 90k units in '10, about 25k more than '09. Market-rate units accounted for nearly half of last year's starts. Humphreys & Partners Architects says its 2010 volume represented 15% to 20% of the US starts.