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Preparing for the New Normal

May 2020

You could have been a community manager or leasing agent for a decade now and not really had to deal with an economic downturn. But that is probably changing. By March 26, it was a whole new world. Measuring same-store change on a rolling seven-day average, traffic to multifamily property websites was down 15 percent year over year and guest cards were down nearly 3 percent, according to RealPage.

GlobeSt’s Lisa Brown spoke to Greg Willett, RealPage’s Chief Economist about how leasing teams can weather the downturn. One of Willett’s most important tips was to avoid panic: “It’s always important to take emotion out of pricing and it’s even more important in a downturn. Build a pricing strategy with a balance of science and operational expertise,” Brown writes. “Protect rent rolls in order to capitalize when markets improve. Simply slashing rents won’t necessarily buy demand if that demand isn’t there.”

Along with aligning pricing strategy with investment strategy, locking in renters on longer lease terms is also important. “Every asset is unique, but many benefited in 2008 and 2009 from pushing longer lease terms to reduce churn and minimize vacancy,” says Brown.