by Savannah Duncan
These days, a PR program should be about so much more than simply writing and pitching press releases detailing recent transactions or new hires. While generating media coverage of your clients’ moves is still very important, of course, so is establishing your clients as experts, as thought leaders in their fields. Speaking engagements – whether they be before high-profile local organizations or at industry conferences – are a great way to do this.
Yesterday, a handful of The Wilbert Group’s clients in the apartment industry spoke at sessions held as part of the annual Interface Multifamily Southeast 2013 conference in Atlanta. Below are five of the big-picture thoughts our clients imparted to an audience of key industry players:
#1 Walkability is key for new developments. Walkability is commonly associated with urban, infill apartments, but even suburban residents want communities that give them the ability to ditch the car and travel on foot to restaurants, entertainment and jobs, said Mark Toro, managing partner at North American Properties.
Panelists, from left: Josh Goldfarb, Multi Housing Advisors; Mark Toro, North American Properties; Alan Dean, Terwilliger Pappas Multifamily Partners; Jonathan Bartlett, Cohn Reznick; Bennett Sands, Wood Partners.
In regards to developing suburban communities, Toro said, “If a resident’s experience can be a walkable, urban environment, we’re in.”
#2 Students want lots of amenities, urban experience. In today’s student-housing communities, residents “want posh amenities just as much as they want proximity to a city’s urban core,” said Scott Taylor, president of Carter. “We believe a trend now, across the board, is reurbanization.”
#3 Investors aren’t ready to look at secondary markets – yet. While multifamily properties are being quickly snatched up in primary markets, most investors aren’t quite ready to make a play in secondary markets. “With the economy the way it is, we are still more comfortable with the ‘have’ areas versus the ‘have nots, ’” said Josh Goldfarb, founder and managing partner of Multi Housing Advisors.
#4 The condo market is expected to heat up again. While the overbuilding of apartment units has been a concern, Jake Reid, senior director of Franklin Street, said, “Urban infill condos are coming back. Some of the multifamily projects in the early stages of development could become condo projects instead.”
#5 Investors still have a large appetite for multifamily products. Consequently, cap rates are expected to remain stable in 2014, according to Mike Altman, chief investment officer at Cortland Partners. That’s in part because “rent growth should offset” possible increased costs of capital, he added.