The Demand Solutions Blog

When the Other Shoe Drops: Avoiding Evictions After Lockdown

Posted by Guest Contributor on Jun 11, 2020 9:08:58 AM

Over the last few weeks, as we have tracked multifamily performance through turbulent markets, collections have been a natural and frequent focus. With moratoria being lifted in some markets, the possibility of evictions weighs on our minds. We reached out to our friends at the Resident Relief Foundation - in this guest blog, Executive Director, Tina Oswald shares a different perspective.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends

20 for ‘20 - What a Difference a Year Makes!

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Mar 24, 2020 1:56:58 PM

As many of you will already be aware, we recently published the 2020 edition of our 20 for '20 white paper.  Just as we did a year ago, we sat down with another 20 senior executives to get their perspectives on the outlook for the immediate future. Of course, the interviews took place before the coronavirus disrupted our 2020 plans, but the findings tell us a lot about what companies are working on from a technology perspective. As we shall summarize in this post, the industry has experienced a significant year over year shift. 

In our new 2020 paper, we have identified a new set of trends and observations about current projects and priorities, some of which we will highlight on this blog in the coming weeks. But below, we will recap the five big findings from last year and see what's changed in the interim.

1. No more "One Big Project" dynamic

A year ago, we were struck by the number of respondents (a half) who reported having spent 2018 focusing on a single project that had dominated their year, effectively consuming all IT delivery capacity other than business as usual. Seven of the ten had been PMS switches or major upgrades, in itself an anomaly.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Multifamily Technology

A Bump in the Road for Short-Term Rentals

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Mar 17, 2020 8:37:11 AM

A couple of weeks ago, before coronavirus took over our attention, we learned some potentially important news about the short-term rental (STR) sector. The story was about Airbnb-backed Lyric's decision to reduce its workforce by 20% as part of a "downsizing and restructuring." We were disappointed to see a rising star in our industry falter on its growth path, but encouraged by the decisiveness of their action and hope that it will leave the company in better shape to capitalize on the opportunity that we know it has.  

The decision may tell us a couple of things about the state of STRs in the multifamily industry. Remember, Lyric was one of several STR platforms funded during a heady 18-month period from 2018 to 2019. With the staggering growth of Airbnb, the might of Booking.com (especially in Europe), and Expedia's commitment to becoming a force in this space, the STR industry and market have been thoroughly validated. So what's holding back the organizations who are trying, like Lyric, to define the STR business model for multifamily?

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Topics: Multifamily Trends

What Freddie and Fannie Say About Short Term Rental Revenue

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Dec 31, 2019 1:50:59 PM

I was recently moderating a panel on short-term rentals (STRs) at the Indiana Apartment Association’s Multifamily Industry Summit, and a question came from the audience about the implications of Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) policies regarding STRs on the ability of owners to have as liquid a funding and sale market as possible.

This is a question that occasionally comes up in other STR panels and discussions though surprisingly not as often as one might expect. When I first heard this question in 2017, I did some research in early 2018 on this subject; and somewhat coincidentally, I had just updated this research following conversations leading up to NMHC’s OpTech.

First, let me say that our work and experience is completely on the operating side. Neither my team nor I have extensive experience in the financing side of the business. So everything here is a) the result of research into an area a bit out of our sweet spot and b) meant to start a conversation should anyone out there have information more contemporary and/or more accurate.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends

Blurring the Lines in Housing - FLEX 2019 Conference in Review

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 28, 2019 10:35:35 AM

I just got back from attending the inaugural FLEX conference. More than 200 industry professionals spent a day and a half focused on the issues of short-term rentals (STRs) in this “first of its kind” event. Here are a few thoughts and recollections while still fresh in my mind:

1. Content was king! Kudos to Stephen Lefkovits and Dennis Cogbill for curating an excellent set of content. The content covered all angles, discussing pros and cons, finance questions, operational and service issues, regulatory challenges and more. Most importantly, presenters shared real-world scenarios, actual results based on data and generally gave the audience information they could take back to their offices and use.

2. The Lines are Blurring. If I were to sum up the conference lessons learned in one word, it would be “blurring.” There’s a blurring of lines. Housing is blurring with hospitality; vacation stays are merging with business travel, and vendors are combining to offer a range of overlapping services, etc. On the one hand, it’s quite confusing as it’s increasingly hard to label anything or keep our processes in neat metaphorical cubbyholes. On the other hand, it’s incredibly exciting, posing many opportunities for those who can embrace the increased uncertainty/risk to expand and optimize the use of space.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Industry Events

Are Short-Term Rentals The Pet Rent of 2020?

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Oct 15, 2019 4:10:33 PM

 
“What about the liability?”

“What about noise complaints from neighbors?”

“What about the extra costs involved?”

“It will totally change the character of our community, and we don’t want that!”

To anyone who’s been involved in talking about short-term rentals (STRs), the above looks very familiar, right? They’re the most common concerns about the risks (and hassles) involved with allowing residents to sublease their apartments on short-term rental platforms.

Except that’s not where I first heard these concerns. Back in the late 1990s, hardly any apartment communities allowed pets, particularly dogs and cats, in their apartments. When I asked why not, I usually heard the same four objections.

Yet a few intrepid pioneers, sensing the growing importance of pets as part of their prospective residents’ lives, took a risk and started allowing pets.

I remember visiting one of those in the early ‘00s, Archstone South Market, at the edge of the financial district in San Francisco. I was touring and noticed there seemed to be a lot of dogs. So I asked the community manager whether that was true or it was just me thinking it was.

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Topics: Revenue Management, Multifamily Trends

CoStar Shoots for the STRs - Big News for Multifamily?

Posted by Dom Beveridge on Oct 8, 2019 8:20:46 AM

I must admit, last week's acquisition of Smith Travel Research (STR) by the CoStar group took me by surprise. And it wasn't just me - few observers of either the hospitality or multifamily industries expected it. As the dust settles after a seismic move, let's take a moment to think about some of the possible implications of this acquisition.

First, this is a big acquisition. Although not quite at the same dizzying heights of the 2014 Apartments.com takeover, $450m for a data company (i.e., not a product like an ILS that drives prospects to its customers) is extraordinary. But STR is no ordinary data company. It is not an exaggeration to say that STR is the foundation upon which property analytics are built in the global lodging industry. For decades, STR has been the gold standard for property performance and property underwriting. Nobody plays in this critical niche at the same level in multifamily.

For CoStar, who now have the habit of entering new markets with a strategy of going very big, the strategy makes perfect sense. Overnight they have become the uncontested, dominant force in hotel analytics. The merger on this scale creates many exciting opportunities, including a couple of potentially important ones for multifamily.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends

9 Take-Aways from NAA Apartmentalize 2019

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jul 10, 2019 2:54:43 PM

A little over a week ago, 10,000+ apartment industry colleagues descended upon our hometown of Denver, Colorado for NAA’s annual Apartmentalize conference. Along with entertaining keynote speakers and many different dinners and parties, there was an excellent program of education, networking and one-on-one meetings. Here are a few highlights from what we saw and heard:

1. Despite political uncertainty (and even a few economic concerns), the industry is still very much a confident group of people. With annual rent growth still above the long-term trend, we continue to enjoy the longest bull run in the modern rental housing industry’s history. Perhaps the best implication of this is that the run is now so long, we no longer hear baseball references around “what inning” we are in 😊

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Industry Events

NAA Apartmentalize - A Long View on Short Term Rentals

Posted by Donald Davidoff on Jun 11, 2019 2:41:36 PM

In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be joined by industry veterans Melanie French, Steve Hallsey and Marcie Williams as I moderate a panel, “A Long View on Short-term Rentals” at NAA’s Apartmentalize conference.  I’m excited to further the conversation about a subject that is top-of-mind in our industry.

I still remember four or five years ago when Jaja Jackson from AirBnB first presented to an NMHC conference. To say the reception was a bit cold would be like saying the Pope is a bit Catholic. The Q&A session was one of the most aggressive I’ve ever seen; and when I spoke up to opine that I viewed short-term rentals (STRs) as just another demand stream to be understood and leveraged, I could feel the metaphorical daggers hurled my way by the vast majority of the audience.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends, Industry Events

What to do About Challenging Multifamily Recruitment and Retention

Posted by Donald Davidoff on May 13, 2019 9:45:00 AM

Given sustained, record low unemployment in the general economy, it’s not surprising that attracting and retaining quality associates is universally regarded as one of, if not the, most challenging parts of a senior executive’s job these days. Simply put, it’s an employee’s market!

That was one of the least surprising insights from our 20 for '20 research - where we asked 20 senior multifamily executives for their perspectives on the industry outlook for the next few years.  Given the generally challenging conditions for talent acquisition and retention, we were keen to learn more about what strategies and tactics worked best for our 20 executives in this tight labor market.

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Topics: Multifamily Trends