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Follow the Leader—How the Urban Multifamily Boom Could Lead Back to the Suburbs

As the commercial real estate landscape continues to evolve in the face of social, economic, and financial changes, lenders must assess their appetite…

As the commercial real estate landscape continues to evolve in the face of social, economic, and financial changes, lenders must assess their appetite for risk and perhaps re-adjust their focus. The urban living trend has been prevalent for the past 10 years and in response to that, metropolitan areas have been booming. Since 2016, there have been 10,000 new apartments in large buildings (40+ units) constructed in New York City, and another 30,000 apartments will be available by the end of 2018. With all this new inventory hitting the market in addition to the existing inventory, it seems unlikely that this pace will continue, both in regards to construction and occupancy.

As one of the US’s largest demographics, millennials have a tremendous ability to change the market. Over the past 10 years many urban areas have been transformed. Former industrial buildings and outdated downtown shops have been converted into updated multifamily apartments with shopping, work, and recreation all within walking distance, to accommodate the demand of consumers who want the live/work/play lifestyle. These urban life centers have been the focus of this large group of consumers, as well as lenders, developers, and building owners. As a result, suburban markets have suffered. Increased interest in urban areas has led to decreased levels of suburban residential development. This phenomenon, coupled with work-from-home policies and e-commerce, has had a negative impact on suburban office and retail. But millennials are growing up, and changing the market with them.

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