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NAA Industry Insider: How Apartment Communities Can Prepare for Trick-or-Treaters

October 28, 2014


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How Apartment Communities Can Prepare for Trick-or-Treaters
Digested From "Renters Don't Have to Bypass Trick-or-Treating Fun"
Cleveland Plain Dealer (10/26/14) Stringer, Judy

With more and more households opting to rent rather than own, Halloween trick-or-treating is becoming more and more of an apartment community pastime. "Apartment communities are as much of a community as a single-family detached community," remarks Rick Haughey, vice president of Industry Technology Initiatives at the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC). "A home is a home, whether you own it [or] rent it or whether it's a house, a townhouse or an apartment." He adds that apartment trick-or-treating has its advantages. The proximity of the rental units means larger candy hauls over shorter distances. It also makes it easier for moms and dads to monitor their costumed children. Another advantage is the fact that much of the action typically takes place indoors away from cehicular traffic and unpredictable October weather. Haughley states, "Oftentimes, the apartment communities are covered, well-lit and climate-controlled areas for kids to trick or treat, which can be a big deal in some parts of the country where it's cold by Oct. 31."

Meanwhile, those who rent who do not have children get the added benefit of enjoying the creativity of the Halloween costumes and the chance to get to know their neighbors a little better. What apartment owners and managers do around the country to celebrate Halloween is just about as diverse as rental communities themselves. Some help organize a trick-or-treating time and offer a sign or decoration for residents to put on their door to tell the kids that they can knock and get candy at that apartment. Others hold Halloween parties in a clubhouse or community room -- usually while it is still daylight out -- where the little ones can parade their costumes, play games, and get candy. "Trunk-or-treating" events are also becoming more popular, with residents pull up their vehicles to the front of the community and passing out treats from their trunks. This approach enables apartment management to open Halloween to the surrounding community without permitting a lot of non-residents into secure apartment buildings. Finally, those apartment communities without many kids can still get into the Halloween spirit by hosting dog costume parties and/or costume competitions for adult residents. Currently, 24 percent of all apartments have at least one or more children under the age of 18, according to NMHC research.

Market Trend Insights


No Picket Fence: Younger Adults Opting to Rent
Digested From "No Picket Fence: Younger Adults Opting to Rent"
New York Times (10/23/14) P. A1 Searcey, Dionne

Apartment living may be the most promising housing opportunity in post-recession America, fueled by those shut out of the homeownership market and a mostly younger group that is moving out of their parents' homes and away from roommate situations. "They're not going to go from living with their parents to buying a home," says Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi. "They're going to rent an apartment." And they are looking for apartment communities with a wide array of amenities like TV lounges, fire pits, on-site fitness facilities as well as apartment features such as built-in iPod docking stations hard-wired to speakers that pipe music throughout the apartment and link to TVs. Since 2008, there has been a steady increase in the number of people aged 18 to 34 renting instead of purchasing homes.

According to a study by Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko, about 875,000 more households consist of young adult renters than would have existed if the 2008-era trend had held steady. Even as the economy improves and more 20- and 30-somethings branch out on their own, tight lending standards are shutting many out of the mortgage market. Single-family home building has not recovered, as a result; meanwhile, construction of multifamily housing units -- which includes both apartments and condominiums -- is at the highest level in 25 years. Apartment construction is even exceeding its pre-recession peaks in such markets as Austin, San Jose, and the D.C. metro area. Vacancy rates for rental apartments are as low as they have been in over 20 years, and the price of renting is climbing as a result. "Our problem in the next three to five years isn’t a surfeit of multifamily housing but a shortage," concludes Zandi.

Two Reasons for High Apartment Demand in N.C.'s Triad
Digested From "Apartment Vacancy Rate Drops in Triad"
Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area (10/22/14) Ando, Stephanie

The apartment vacancy rate in North Carolina's Triad region is the lowest it has been in a decade, according to the latest Real Data study. Researchers say demand for rental housing is so high that more than 93 percent of apartments in the Triad are now occupied. One of the main reasons for the trend is more people do not want the responsibilities of homeownership. A second reason is the fact that more young people are moving to the area, and many are not in a financial position to buy. Hannah Boyd, property manager at the 100-percent occupied Greenway at Fisher Park community in downtown Greensboro, reasons, "People want new opportunities. People don't settle as much these days as they used to, so it gives them the opportunity to give them that option to stay or leave -- short term or long term. Then it's our job to make them love it so much they want to stay for a longer period of time." For its results, Real Data surveyed 61,137 rental apartments in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point area.

Why Are Denver Apt. Vacancies Nearing a Record Low?
Digested From "Rents Soar as Apartment Vacancies in Metro Denver Near All-Time Low"
Denver Post (10/24/14) Pankratz, Howard

According to figures released Friday in the Denver Metro Area Apartment Vacancy and Rent Survey, metro Denver apartment vacancies fell to 3.9 percent during the three-month period ended Sept. 30 -- the second-lowest recorded rate. Finding rental housing was tougher only during the third quarter of 2000, when the information-technology boom made the Mile High City one of the top markets to live in the country. The vacancy rate then fell to 3.7 percent, reports Patty Silverstein, chief economist for the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. The latest statistics were compiled by the University of Denver's Daniels College of Business and Colorado Economic and Management Associates. Silverstein forecasts, "You are going to start seeing a continual escalation of rental rates. You definitely will have to pay a little bit more to get that same apartment." Rents averaged $762 in the second quarter of 2000 versus $1,145 during the third quarter of 2014 and $1,117 in the second quarter of this year. Silverstein said the vacancy rate drop from 4.7 percent in the second quarter to 3.9 percent was surprising due to the number of new apartments being constructed. A total of 9,145 new apartments were built last year and approximately 8,700 new apartments are expected to come online in 2014 and another 8,700 next year.

Are Apartment Amenities the Future of Single Family Communities?
Digested From "Are Apartment Complex Amenities the Future of Single Family Communities?"
Construction Dive (10/15/14) O'Malley, Sharon

Renting in an apartment community means having close-by neighbors and frequent socializing opportunities within communal spaces designed just for that purpose. With more people living alone and to entice these people to buy homes rather than rent, home builders could soon find themselves redesigning their single-family developments with more of the amenities of apartment communities. These could range from shared spaces like outdoor dining areas to on-site fitness facilities or even theater screening rooms. Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that a growing number of people who rent apartments instead of buying homes are doing so by choice. With lifestyle preferences now among the primary factors driving the surge in apartment living, it is no wonder some home builders are focusing as much on their overall communities as the homes they are building in them. But home designs could also be changing. Trend watcher Susan Yashinsky of Michigan-based Sphere Trending predicts the traditional "static" floor plan will become more flexible to accommodate the needs of platonic, adult housemates. Also, the floor plans that will attract singles of all ages will almost certainly have space for working from home. Most important, she adds, builders will have to satisfy the needs of single homeowners that couples usually tend to themselves. For instance, communal sheds will be one desired amenity where residents can store and share expensive lawn equipment.

Deals and Transactions


Where and Why Are Asian Investors Buying U.S. Apartments?
Digested From "Asian Investors Snap Up U.S. Apartment Buildings"
Wall Street Journal (10/22/14) Chow, Jason

A new CBRE study forecasts that investment from Asia into the U.S. apartment sector is set to reach record highs in 2014. Asians already bought up $522 million worth of multifamily housing properties during the first eight months of the year, close to the 2013 total of $537 million and exceeding the 2012 total of $356 million. "Asian investors understand residential, especially those in dense, downtown areas," said Marc Giuffrida, executive director at CBRE Global Capital Markets. Indeed, Asian buyers currently comprise 18 percent of foreign investment in this asset class, trailing only Canadian buyers. San Francisco is currently the top geographic market for Asian dollars in this regard, attracting $326 million worth of purchases since January 2013. Los Angeles places second at $252 million, followed by New York in third place at $175 million. For the most part, Asian investors prefer to buy single apartment communities in the $10 million to $70 million range as opposed to portfolios of multiple buildings.

Miller-Valentine Group's Heart Is in Apartments With Latest Buy
Digested From "Miller-Valentine Group Buys $62M Apartment Portfolio"
Dayton Business Journal (10/20/14) Barrow, Olivia

Miller-Valentine Group, one of the Dayton metro area's biggest commercial developers, has acquired a couple of luxury apartment communities in Michigan and Ohio. The total purchase price was $61.5 million in a deal that is adding approximately 500 new rental units to the company's portfolio of more than 14,000 apartments. Analysts note that the purchase not only represents an aggressive growth strategy by Miller-Valentine, it demonstrates the company's optimism about the continued strength of multifamily housing investing. Miller-Valentine has yet to disclose the names or cities of the communities involved in this latest transaction. Michael Riechman, managing director of Miller-Valentine Group Multifamily Investment Management, comments, "These acquisitions are part of our overall strategy to grow our multifamily portfolio and plan to strategically acquire more properties throughout our 14-state footprint." Separately, the company has elevated Charles Rulick to vice president of its multifamily development division to continue expanding that business.

Avesta Communities Sells Off $81 Million Apartment Portfolio
Digested From "Tampa Apartment Investors Sell off $81 Million Portfolio"
Tampa Bay Business Journal (10/22/14) Kritzer, Ashley G.

Avesta Communities, of Tampa Bay, sold off an $81 million portfolio of apartment buildings throughout Florida recently. Tzadik Management announced it's acquisition of the 2,1999-unit portfolio on Wednesday. "We look to purchase off market and special circumstance real estate," said Adam M. Hendry, president and managing member of Tzadik Management. "This acquisition completely encapsulates our investment philosophy and the future of our company." The portfolio includes communities in Tampa, Winter Haven, Lakeland, Sarasota, Orlando, Jacksonville, Mount Dora, and Eustis. The acquisition price breaks down to $36,834 per unit.

Industry Buzz


Four Quick Tips to Help You Form a Crisis Communications Plan
Digested From "4 Quick Tips to Help You Form a Crisis Communications Plan"
Property Management Insider (10/21/14) Lashley, Lea

For apartment managers, protecting residents should be a top priority. Even the most harmless of situations could result in a reputation nightmare. Managers and their staff need to recognize that displaying a high level of responsiveness in a state of crisis will help put your residents at ease. There are four rules of thumb when crafting an effective crisis communications plan. One, plan ahead. Considering what could happen is an important exercise in understanding what and apartment community and its residents will need in the event of a crisis. Two, be sure to have a thorough grasp of the facts of a potential crisis situation, and then decide how much of the information you can or should communicate to residents. Among the examples of what crisis response facts to share range from a clear explanation of the issue/what went wrong to expressing concern for the impact to residents to apologizing if warranted.

The third tip is to identify the chain of command and clearly outline everyone's roles and responsibilities prior to a crisis occurring. Special attention must be paid to who has the final say on a communications strategy, messaging, and timing. Finally, communicate to residents via the best and most appropriate channels. In this regard, it is a good idea to take advantage of the technology residents use to communicate with management staff and vice versa. Such communications channels can include the Internet, social media, a community resident portal, e-mail, text messaging, video messaging, and even old-fashioned flyers.

The Best Day to Buy Airline Tickets
Digested From "The Best Day to Buy Tickets"
Wall Street Journal (10/23/14) McCartney, Scott

A new Airlines Reporting Corp. study of airline fares suggests Sunday is the best day to find low fares. This represents a departure from the conventional wisdom of recent years, when Tuesday was widely considered the best bet for budget-conscious travelers. The firm, which processes tickets for travel agencies and handles nearly 50 percent of all tickets sold, tallied up ticket sales over a 19-month period ending in July. According to the research, sales of 130 million domestic and international round-trip tickets worth $94 billion showed the lowest average price -- of $432 -- was on Sunday. At $439, Saturday's average is also lower than Tuesday, which averages $497. One reason behind the change is that airline executives come into work Monday looking to raise fares, not discount them with sales to fill seats. Analysts add that the lower Sunday and Saturday rates are also result of social media giving airlines the capability to throw discounts in front of consumers at any given time. Finally, the report's findings reflect the lack of corporate sales over the weekend, as business travelers typically fly on more pricier tickets than vacation buyers. Tuesday, it should be noted, is still the day of the week with the most frequent price drops, leaving the door open for good deals. Additionally, Tuesday remains the busiest day for domestic ticket sales and the cheapest of the workweek, although all weekdays hover around $500.

How Ads Tied to Web Searches Are Deceptive
Digested From "Ads Tied to Web Searches Criticized as Deceptive"
Wall Street Journal (10/13/14) Winkler, Rolfe

In 2013, federal regulators urged Google Inc., Yahoo Inc., and Microsoft Corp. to more clearly highlight the ads in their search-engine results to avoid deceiving the public. To date, the three leading U.S. search engines have made few changes, making it difficult for users to distinguish ads from "natural" search results. Google earlier this year stopped placing colored shading around ads. It now displays a small yellow "Ad" label next to certain paid links. Meanwhile, the shading of ads on Yahoo and Microsoft's Bing search results is practically imperceptible. Both search engines label ads with a single line of light-gray text. Among the most vocal critics is Robert Weissman, president of the Public Citizen consumer-advocacy group. His organization's complaints helped push the FTC to first issue guidelines more than a decade ago, recommending that search engines clearly delineate listings that are ads. He states, "Consumers are being tricked." In the summer of 2013, Mary Engle, the FTC's associate director for advertising practices, wrote to 22 search sites to caution them of a "decline in compliance" with those guidelines. Since then, she has declined to say whether her agency has followed up with any of the search engines since that letter or if the FTC is considering enforcement actions.

Legal/Legislative Did You Know


Why New Guidelines for the Emerging Rental Home Sector?
Digested From "Emerging Rental Home Sector Gets Guidelines" (10/27/14) Bubny, Paul

As further proof that the single-family rental (SFR) industry is gaining traction, the National Rental Home Council (NRHC) -- an industry association formed earlier this year by some of the sector's biggest players -- has issued a set of operating guidelines. The new guidelines cover everything from home rehabilitation and property management to resident relations and legal compliance. In a statement, NRHC member American Homes 4 Rent says such standards "can help improve the resident experience and the quality of service provided across the industry." The guidelines come as experts see an increasingly bright future for securitizations in the space. The 10 SFR securitizations since 2012, totaling $7.5 billion and backed by approximately 38,000 properties, have been single-borrower deals. Published reports say next year's securitization total could either match or exceed that amount. One of the big reasons for the potential scale of multi-borrower SFR securitization is what continues to be fragmented ownership. The founding members of the NRHC, which include the Blackstone Group's Invitation Homes and Colony American Homes, own about 200,000 properties among them. Before Blackstone, Colony, and several other large-scale buyers arrived on the scene, the SFR market was largely a mom-and-pop business.

Clearing the Air About Smoking in Apartment Communities
Digested From "Clearing the Air About Smoking in Apartment Communities"
Arizona Republic (10/27/14) Simplot, Tom

Tom Simplot, president and CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association, reminds apartment managers and their staff that they must enforce all Smoke Free Arizona rules. In apartment communities, each individual rental unit is considered a private residence. As a result, smoking may be permitted within the home unless expressly stated in the lease. With regards to common areas, according to Smoke-Free Arizona, smoking is prohibited inside and within 20 feet of entrances of buildings and inside enclosed areas that all residents frequent. Smoking may be allowed in outdoor common areas such as an apartment community's courtyards, walkways, and play areas. The most common restrictions around swimming pool areas. Nevertheless, Simplot observes that more and more apartment-management companies and individual owners are banning or restricting smoking. "The reasons for these bans start with a respect for neighbors and the health and welfare of all residents," he writes. There is also a financial rationale for banning/limiting smoking. The smell of smoke can linger long, clinging to carpets and upholstery and permeating blinds. Cleaning such apartments for a new resident can consequently be expensive and time-consuming. "Many operators also reported additional housekeeping in common areas where smokers would leave ashes and cigarette butts," Simplot concludes. "And we have all seen how smoking can be a fire hazard."

Two Decades in, Program Targets Crime at Apartment Communities
Digested From "Program Targets Crime in Apartment Complexes"
Gwinnett Business Journal (10/22/14) Reed, Kristi

According to Gwinnett County Police Officer Bert Garcia, what started as a pilot program has since developed into an essential way of life for thousands of residents living in multifamily housing. Three years ago, the Georgia town's police department analyzed calls for service in the Central Precinct and realized that a disproportionate amount of criminal activity was occurring in several apartment communities. Garcia said the result was the implementation of the Crime Free Multi-Housing program. The national crime prevention program, which originated in Arizona 22 years ago, is designed to curtail illegal activity in high risk areas. It includes three phases: a mandatory eight-hour seminar for property managers, on-site property inspections to ensure specified security enhancements are in place, and a community meeting with residents. "Since the inception of this program, managers have reported over 830 evictions and officers have made over 1,000 arrests within the participating properties," Garcia noted. He adds that the program has led to as much as a 50 percent reduction in calls for service countywide during some months.

NAA Announcements

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Registration Now Open for the 2014 NAA Education Conference & Exposition, the Largest, Most Exciting Event in the Rental Housing Industry

Don't miss out on the opportunity to “Connect, Learn and Grow” as more than 8,000 multifamily housing professionals convene in Las Vegas, June 24-27, 2015 for the 2015 NAA Education Conference & Exposition.

From world-famous speakers to the latest and greatest from multifamily supplier partners, if career enhancement is what you seek, then this is the one event you can’t afford to miss. Don’t delay—the largest discounts go to those who register early.

Make sure to book your housing as soon as you register—rooms will go fast, and you will be unable to book without first registering. Visit the 2015 NAA Education Conference website for information and reservations for all official NAA Education Conference hotels.

The 26th annual NAA Survey of Operating Income and Expenses in Rental Apartment Communities—Your Premier Business Benchmarking Tools—Is Now Available

The 2014 NAA Survey of Operating Income and Expenses in Rental Apartment Communities presents data from garden and mid-rise/high-rise properties, and is further segmented by individually metered and master-metered utilities. Survey data is presented in three forms: Dollars per unit, dollars per square foot of rentable area and as a percentage of gross potential rent (GPR). The survey includes an executive summary, detailed data, reports and charts about rental communities. A total of 3,698 properties containing 966,296 units is represented in this year’s report. Data was reported for 3,366 market-rent properties containing 906,562 units and 332 subsidized properties containing 59,734 units. Data for the 2014 survey is based on data for fiscal year 2013.

Read the Executive Summary, and visit the NAA website to purchase the full survey report and individual market data.

Hire Right The First Time, Every Time

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you hired Henry Jekyll, Ph.D., only to have a certain Mr. Edward Hyde show up (late) on the first day of work?

If the substantial size of the audience in the session, “Hire Right the First Time, Every Time,”—one of more than 50 education sessions presented in Denver during the 2014 NAA Education Conference & Exposition—is any indication, multifamily housing operations professionals are seeking best practices for ensuring they’re onboarding staff who complement their organizations.

Presenters Bill Nye, Chief Executive Officer for Caviness and Cates, and Rebecca Rosario, Principle of Full House Marketing, Inc., offered the crowd insight into leading strategies for interviewing, recruiting and leveraging the verification process and the steps to better match company values, standards and culture with prospective employees during the interview process.

Curious how you can avoid hiring human resources suffering from “split personalities?” You’re in luck: “Hire Right the First Time, Every Time,” as well as other unparalleled education sessions focused on operations such as “Show Me the Money: 10 Proven Ways to Increase Online Payments”—are now available to you as part of the NAA Education Institute’s (NAAEI) “REWIND” program, offering 20 video recorded sessions and 20 PowerPoint-audio-synced PowerPont audio sessions from the 2014 NAA Education Conference & Exposition. Order your sessions today!

Become a Stronger Industry Advocate with These Advocacy Webinar

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NAAEI Designation Courses Offered Near You!


El Paso Apartment Association
January, 2015

Greater Gulf Coast Apartment Association
January, 2015

CAM Online


Austin Apartment Association
January – February, 2015

San Antonio Apartment Association
January – February, 2015

El Paso Apartment Association
March, 2015

Rental Housing Association of Boston
April – May, 2015

Roanoke Valley Apartment Association
April – May, 2015

Chicagoland Apartment Association
July – August, 2015

Greater Charlotte Apartment Association
August – September, 2015

Greater Memphis Apartment Association
September – October, 2015


Chicagoland Apartment Association
February, 2015


February, 2015

NALP Online


November, 2014
Register Today!

Supplier Success:

December, 2014
Register Today!

Triangle Apartment Association
March, 2015

NAAEI Leadership Experience: Powered by Dale Carnegie:

Triangle Apartment Association
March, 2015

Austin Apartment Association
May, 2015

Apartment Association of Metro Denver
October, 2015

NAAEI Executive Leadership NOW: Powered by Gallup:

Chicagoland Apartment Association
April, 2015

Webinar Wednesday

Outreach Marketing: It’s More Than Coupons! With Heather Blume
Nov. 5, 2014

Getting to “I Do” Again and Again. Keeping the Resident Romance Alive with Rebecca Rosario
Nov. 19, 2014

What Your Residents Won’t Tell You AND Your Mangers Don’t Know with Kiley Haught
Dec. 3, 2014

Your 2015 Marketing Playbook with Kate Good
Dec. 17, 2014

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Find more courses in your area on the NAA website.

For more information about any of the classes listed, please contact Kimberly McCrossen at 703-518-6141 ext. 121.

Did You Know?

Registration is open for the 2015 NAA Student Housing Conference & Exposition and the 2015 NAA Education Conference & Exposition. Learn more about this can't-miss events.

Upcoming Events

2014 NAA Assembly of Delegates
Nov. 13-15, 2015
Intercontinental Boston

2015 NAA Student Housing Conference & Exposition
Feb. 17-18
ARIA Resort
Las Vegas

2015 NAA Capitol Conference
March 17-18, 2015
JW Marriott – Washington, D.C.

2015 NAA Education Conference & Exposition
June 24-27
Mandalay Bay Resort & Convention Center
Las Vegas

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