HOUSTON–CBRE‘s Ryan Epstein shares his thoughts on Houston being one of the premier apartment markets in the country. In this exclusive Q&A, he talks about major trends, the market’s future and Exxon’s impact.

GlobeSt.com: What do you think will be some of the major multifamily trends in 2014?  

Epstein: On the transaction side, it’s all about new construction as the first wave of merchant-built product will be coming to market. This is the latest generation of new apartment development, and much of it is concentrated in the more urban markets.

GlobeSt.com: How would you say the multifamily market has changed over the last five years?

Epstein: The multifamily market has become a preferred asset class for institutional capital, and we have also seen many more renters by choice today than in previous years. These are tenants who can afford to buy a home, but who choose to rent for the convenience of living near their workplace as well as for the resort amenities that these new properties provide.

GlobeSt.com: Is there are particular project that you are watching with a lot of interest?  

Epstein: There are several great projects in Houston, but I think the development activity has changed most dramatically in the Heights area.  This has become one of the hottest submarkets in Houston in terms of rent growth and demand.

GlobeSt.com: It seems at least once a week there is some multifamily or hotel news regarding the Energy Corridor, especially the area right around the new Exxon Mobil campus. What is the general sentiment among industry leaders about this area?

Epstein: Exxon is anticipated to bring more than 10,000 jobs to this area. Needless to say, the impact on the submarket will be tremendous.  The Woodlands has already seen incredible rent growth before the campus’ opening, so it will be exciting to see what happens with multifamily once the Exxon campus is fully delivered.

GlobeSt.com: Do you think there is a chance of overbuilding around Exxon Mobil?

Epstein: Many residents will choose to live close to where they work, as has been the trend for many years. I believe any apartments in the area that are easily accessible will do very well. 

GlobeSt.com: Where do you see the market headed?

Epstein: Not surprisingly, Houston is becoming one of the premiere apartment markets in the country because of our continued job growth.  The fundamentals of this market are successful from virtually every angle. Unless something unforeseen happens, I see great things on the horizon for Houston’s future.