Catching the Apartment Love Bug

In case the hordes of men having panic attacks in the card aisle of CVS hasn’t tipped you off, today is Valentine’s Day.

This cruel holiday certainly makes us all ponder a lot of things. Why, for example, do candy hearts taste like chalk dust? Why do we still eat 40 of them? Why can’t we meet that special someone while sitting on our respective couches in pajamas?

We also stop to think about what we love.

I, for one, love the fact that I actually have a Valentine this year and can stop pretending to enjoy celebrating today’s alternative holiday, “Singles Awareness Day.” I enjoy doing a lot of things on my own; buying my own flowers and lobster dinner isn’t one of them.

Why must this day only be about celebrating our personal lives, though? If you’re in the apartment industry, there’s a lot of professional lovin’ to go around, too. Cause in case you haven’t heard, we’re doing pretty well for ourselves.

According to a new report—based on research by economist Stephen S. Fuller, Ph.D., of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis, and released by the National Apartment Association (NAA) and National Multi Housing Council (NMHC)—apartment communities and their residents contributed $1.1 trillion to the 2011 economy despite one of the worst recessions in a generation.  

Spending included $14.8 billion on construction, $67.9 billion to operate and improve the country’s 19.3 million apartments and $421.5 billion on goods and services. Imagine how many boxes of candy hearts it would take to fuel the economy in the same way.

Additionally, apartments supported 25.4 million jobs on both the construction and operation side, including positions as construction managers, framers, electricians, engineers, architects, design professionals, leasing agents, building managers and maintenance professionals.

And with up to seven million new renter households, or occupied apartments, forming this decade—up to half of all new households—the dollars and jobs apartments add to the economy will only grow in magnitude.

“Although attention is usually focused on homebuilding and the single-family sector, the annual construction and operating outlays for apartment buildings with five or more units are major sources of economic activity, jobs and personal earnings,” Fuller said.

“In addition, the residents of apartment buildings constitute an important source of local, state and national economic activity as their spending for goods and services is recycled through the economy," he added. "Like the operating outlays for apartment buildings, the spending by renters recurs annually, thereby supporting local economies on an ongoing basis.”

If all we do for the economy doesn’t deserve a cheesy Hallmark card and a box of mediocre chocolates, I don’t know what does.

For more on the industry’s economic impact, check out “The Trillion Dollar Apartment Industry” on pg. 39 of the February issue of units Magazine, which mailed Feb. 12.