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How Millennials Are Impacting Multifamily

The state of multifamily was closely examined at this year's BMAC West, including how Millennials are swaying the industry.

Sean Burton, CityView CEO

CityView CEO Sean Burton said Millennials are a force to be reckoned with and "deserve special attention" given the size of the market and the impact it's having on multifamily.

Unlike his generation, which typically rented for a few years until saving up to buy a house, Sean said, Millennials are renting for longer.

This means "the largest generation in history is 2.5 times more likely to rent than any other generation before it," Sean told the more than 400 in attendance.

As a result, the multifamily industry needs to focus on delivering and designing products that respond to the "uniquely diverse lifestyle" of Millennials, he said.

In addition to wanting easy access to transportation and jobs, they also prefer to be within walking distance of shops and restaurants.

Sean Burton, CityView CEO

Millennials have helped in ushering in amenities, including pet spas, yoga studios, espresso bars and electric vehicle charging stations, that were previously just in luxury housing developments but are now standard in many multi-housing projects, he said.

Sean said creating buildings that are more sustainable and more green than before, "using recyclable building materials, systems to recapture our water," bike parking and sharing, and smart landscaping should be priorities.

Sean also encouraged the multifamily players in the room to take leadership roles in helping shape the industry and make decisions "good for our industry and good for the communities in which we work."

BMAC West Panel

Freddie Mac managing regional director Scott Croul, Hunt Mortgage Group managing director Paul Angle, Meridian Capital managing director Seth Grossman, Resmark Apartment Living COO Ziv Cohen, Bellwether Enterprise SVP Laurie Morfin, and Homeier & Law PC founding shareholder Michael Homeier discussed capital markets on a panel moderated by Liner LLP partner Richard Schloss.

While fundamentals for apartments are still strong, it was noted there is a shortage of affordable housing.

BMAC West First Panel

There was optimism when looking at the economy over the next six to nine months or so.

However, Laurie said some of her clients are concerned there could be a correction in the next two or three years.

BMAC West Panel

When it comes to making deals happen, there's "tremendous liquidity" in the marketplace and more attention is being paid to multifamily, according to another panel.

BMAC West Panel

However, investors don't like uncertainty, and it may be too soon to tell the impact of Brexit on real estate, according to iBorrow CEO Brian Good.

The election and its possible ramifications on the industry also appear to be on investors' minds.

BMAC West Panel

LT Global Investment CEO Max Yang, who said there's been a "flight to safety," rounded out the panel, along with Canyon Capital Realty Advisors senior director Charlie Rose, Avison Young principal Peter Sherman, TruAmerica senior managing director Noah Hochman and moderator Matthews Multifamily Advisors EVP David Harrington.


There was also plenty of networking at last week's event at the Omni Downtown LA.


Speed networking, which was presented by Caesarstone, was on the agenda with more than 100 people participating.