ATLANTIC CITY, NJ-Although the economic downturn has left many people in straitened circumstances, it could be a boon for the multifamily sector, which was well represented at the Mid-Atlantic Multifamily Conference and Expo here. Speakers in the first session, Looking Forward: The Outlook for Multifamily Housing in 2008 and Beyond, outlined New Jersey’s many strengths and a few obstacles the state needs to overcome to encourage further multifamily development.

New Jersey, like the rest of the country, has been hit hard by the economic downturn. According to Dr. James Hughes, Dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, the state has lost more than 9,000 private sector jobs in the first five months of 2008. In addition, lenders across the country are tightening their purse strings, and Hughes said it’s likely the country as a whole will continue to see recessionary or near recessionary conditions.

While this is bad news for consumers and borrows, it’s good news for those who own multifamily rental properties. Hughes’ research has found that home ownership in the state has dropped from its 2005 high of 70% to 68.3%, and he expects it to drop further to just under 65%.

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