Officials at Austin, Texas-based multifamily acquisitions and analytics firm Offerd say there appears to be a robust market for off-market deals for large rental properties developing in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living in rental property was at a 50-year high coming into the first quarter of 2020 as stay-at-home orders began to take hold across the nation. According to data from iPropertyManagement, 36.7% of Americans were renting as of February.
Ken Hoff, the founder of Multi-Housing Equity Partners who is now the president, acquisitions and a partner at Offerd, says that owners who had plans to sell which were often a year in the making are understandably concerned that properties coming onto the market in the current economic environment might be perceived as distressed.
“We saw this during the Great Recession,” Hoff said. “The fact is, heading into this current situation, transaction volume was high every month. The second and third quarters of this year were expected to see incredible volume. Why? Because owners targeting their assets for exit now made those disposition decisions a year ago, or more, long before shelter-in-place,” Hoff said.
Hoff added that the surefire way to avoid the perception that the property you’re offering for sale is distressed is to keep it off-market.
Travis Farese, Founder and CEO of Offerd, said that despite a significant drop in public listings, his company is only seeing “a slight decrease in investor demand.” Although underwriters have made a downward adjustment to near-term rental growth assumptions, Farese said “the fundamentals of the overall asset class remain, our clients are moving forward with acquisition campaigns.”
Says Farese: ” While there’s a slowdown in immediate near-term transaction activity – as investors and sellers work to come to agreement on ‘finding the floor’ in collections and NOI – this pause will only serve to create pent-up demand.”