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All Cashed Up, Investors Are Expected To Flock To Multifamily Product


A few months into the coronavirus pandemic, some product types have performed better than others. Unlike struggling retail and hospitality assets, multifamily has continued to see healthy rent collection rates across the U.S., including in Houston.

“What we just saw in the last four months is multifamily recession resiliency,” Swapnil Agarwal, founder and CEO of Nitya Capital and Karya Property Management, said during a Bisnow webinar Tuesday.

“People are starting to see how recession-resilient multifamily assets are, and what that's going to do is really increase the demand for multifamily assets going forward.”

The National Multifamily Housing Council’s rent payment tracker showed that 94.6% of rent was partially or fully paid in April, 95.1% in May and 95.9% in June, as reported by more than 11 million professionally managed market-rate apartment units.

Most industry experts have suggested that the health of that industry has been largely due to government intervention through the $2B Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. A combination of stimulus checks, increased unemployment payments and Paycheck Protection Program loans have helped rent payments continue. Lawmakers are continuing to debate the details of another federal stimulus package this year, including proposals of up to $100B in rental assistance.

Because of all the federal assistance, there hasn’t been a wave of distressed multifamily properties coming on the market, which has thwarted potential opportunistic buyers, Agarwal said. Nitya Capital owns a large portfolio of multifamily properties, particularly workforce housing.

Even without discounts, the stability of the product type is anticipated to attract investment. Activity in the capital markets is beginning to pick up, especially in light of low interest rates and subsequently cheap debt.

“We expect in the next two to three months, the debt market will become very active, and as soon as that happens, there is a lot of equity being raised and just sitting on the sidelines,” Agarwal said.

“A lot of large funds [are] sitting on hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars, waiting for the capital to be deployed.”