Gables' Next Wave Of Units Will Look Different
Gables Residential president and CEO Sue Ansel knows some insist multifamily is over-delivering the market. She knows developers are opting to under-deliver (or not deliver at all) e-commerce packages to residents. But she disagrees. Hear more at our Multifamily Annual Conference South event on July 21, an all-day extravaganza in Dallas.
Slow and steady job growth throughout the nation (and quick and plentiful growth in DFW in particular) is increasing household formations, which means multifamily is still fundamentally under-delivering units, Sue tells us. New construction is getting tougher for developers because the availability of construction debt is decreasing. Sue believes those companies that have done good business in the past and have solid relationships with bankers will have an advantage in identifying debt financing.
As Gables locks in financing and plans its next projects (likely in Denver and Boston—two markets it's looking to bulk up in), it'll be taking a different strategy. Although Gables' average tenant is 35 years old (the top of the Millennial range), Sue says Gables' future ground-up developments will focus more heavily on Baby Boomer demand with larger floor plans and more storage options (like the 11 floor plans available at Gables McKinney in Uptown Dallas pictured below). This demographic of older renters often has moved out of their four-bedroom suburban homes and want to live in areas of high walkability during the week while keeping a country (or beach or mountain or lake) home for the weekends. And they've got a lot of stuff that won't fit in a 900 SF unit like the ones delivered for the last 10 years.
Those larger floor plans might come in handy for many Millennials who—even after they get married and have kids at historically older ages—choose to rent. Parents will do anything to stay in a good school district, after all. Gables is exploring ways to cater to aging Millennials with amenities such as smaller common spaces (because Millennials prefer to be social with just a few friends).
Millennials, Boomers and all generations shop online. Multifamily managers everywhere must decide what to do with all the subscription boxes, Amazon books and e-commerce packages. While some refuse residents' packages altogether, Gables—like many others—is looking for a sustainable solution. Accepting packages is a critical piece of customer service, but it's a mixed-bag solution per property right now, Sue tells us. Gables is working for a final fix such as package lockers and concierge service, which many of its properties already use.