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Investors are chasing rent growth in secondary or emerging markets, but where affordability issues haven’t become a burden on residents. The combination creates strong longevity, according to speakers on the Transaction Talks: The Art of Multifamily Dealmaking panel at RealShare Apartments this week. The panel—which we covered earlier—featured Tim Hennessey, managing director at PGIM Real Estate; David Schwartz, CEO and chairman at Waterton Associates; Gary Goodman, SVP of acquisitions at Passco Companies; Marc D. Renard, executive vice chairman of the capital markets Group at Cushman & Wakefield; Mark Deason, managing director and head of U.S. asset management at Starwood Capital Group; and Richard Boynton, SVP of acquisitions at Fairfield Residential, and covered the geographic markets where investors are finding opportunities today.

Goodman looks for assets in markets where rents are growing but are still 25% of average income. He believes those are markets with the best opportunity to absorb rising rents in the long term. “We are buying in markets where the rents are only 25% of income, so we are able to see sustainable rent growth for residents in those units,” he said on the panel. This strategy has led him to secondary and even tertiary markets. The firm has bought apartment properties in places like Jackson, Mississippi, which Goodman describes as a rent by choice market, and Asheville, North Carolina. “People are moving into these areas and a lot of people want to rent,” he added. “The in-migration into these communities is strong.”

Kelsi Maree Borland

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