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The effects of the huge supply hitting DC's multifamily market have arrived, said ReedSmith's Olivia Shay-Byrne yesterday at our Mid-Year Multifamily Summit at the Willard. Vacancy is creeping up in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, says Olivia (with Greystone's Keith Hires) and in the case of the District, it went up over 5% in the first quarter. (Is there a such thing as building up to your summer weight?) Keith says owners remain faithful in the market though, and that many are seeking to lock in permanent financing now while interest rates remain low.

Today's fast-paced renters, many of whom come from out of town, demand unique branding in apartment communities, says AvalonBay's Jon Cox, and that's why his firm created three separate brands for each of its product types. "You have to establish a character for the property before you ever put pencil to the drawing," says Jon, flanked by Bozzuto's Stephanie Williams and Insight Property's Richard Hausler. Stephanie says since 40% of Bozzuto's DC renters come from out of town, a unique brand and amenity base is crucial, and Richard says having "a cultural identity" for a project is of the utmost importance.

It's important for owners to not get caught up in the "arms race" that adding amenities has become, says developer Jair Lynch (middle, with Skyline Innovations' David Hoedeman and Moseley Construction boss Johnny Moseley). Young renters may desire something completely different years from now, so aspects of new projects have to be built with some kind of a long-term view. (You can easily convert that dog park into a human park once aliens take over and become our masters. Or is that too long term?) We'll have even more summit coverage tomorrow.