Keepin' It Real  

Economics, Housing, & Commercial Real Estate Analysis

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  • Alex Pettee, CFA

Apartment REITs: Urban Exodus

  • An urban exodus is in full swing in the coastal "shutdown cities" where lockdown policies have plunged local economies into an uncontrolled tailspin, backtracking a two-decade-long trend of urban revival.

  • Apartment REITs in these "shutdown cities" - NYC, L.A., Chicago, and San Francisco – have seen residents flee to lower-cost and safer suburban markets and more business-friendly Sunbelt metros.

  • Outside of these troubled markets, however, national apartment markets have been remarkably resilient during the pandemic. Aided by fiscal stimulus measures, rent collection has been essentially on par with 2019.

  • Apartment REIT earnings were negatively impacted by generous pandemic-related concessions. New lease rates dipped, but rent growth remained firmly positive for the REITs that took a more case-by-case approach.

  • Selectivity is especially essential, and we’ve continued to prefer Sunbelt and suburban-focused multifamily REITs, which will be beneficiaries of the highly favorable trends in the housing sector over the next decade.

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