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U.S. Multi-Housing Rent Growth To Continue Even As New Construction Comes On Line

Multi-Housing Rents Forecasted to Grow at 2.5% Average Annual Pace over Next Three Years

Best Opportunities for Development in Boston, Southeast Florida,
Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles — December 19, 2013 Over the next three years, U.S. multi-housing rents are expected to grow by approximately 2.5% per year nationally even as the level of new construction increases, according to a new research report from CBRE Group, Inc.

The report, Is the Bloom off the Multi-Housing Rose?, finds that the pace of new multifamily development in the U.S.—which has grown significantly since the end of the recession—will level off at approximately 216,000 units per year over the next five years, slightly above historical averages.

“The multi-housing sector is only now beginning to fill a supply shortage that has existed following a three-year-long drought in development resulting from the recession,” said Jim Costello, CBRE’s Head of Americas Investment Research. “We anticipate that most of the new supply that will come online over the next few years will be absorbed by pent-up demand.”

While the 2.5% forecasted annual rent growth rate is above the pace of inflation, it is more moderate compared to the robust 3.9% annual average growth seen since the recovery began in 2010.

The report, which assesses supply trends, rent levels, construction costs and cap rates for 13 major U.S. markets, finds that current market rents are marginally higher than what developers require to achieve target current returns in the 6% to 7% range. Boston, Southeast Florida, Seattle and Washington, D.C., represent the best opportunities for developers, as achievable rent levels are significantly higher than construction costs in these locations. However, the anticipated increase in long-term interest rates could restrict development in markets where there is a small gap between achievable rents and construction costs.

The CBRE report also finds that tougher underwriting standards, higher equity requirements and greater scrutiny of borrowers by risk-averse financial institutions for construction loans will slow the pace of development and keep supply levels in line with market demand.

“In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, banks are requiring 25% to 30% of a project’s cost to be financed via equity and are only willing to lend to developers with a proven track record,” noted Peter Donovan, Senior Managing Director of CBRE’s Multi-Housing Group. “This serves as a form of capital rationing that will likely prevent overdevelopment in the coming years.”

To view the full report, click here.

Note to editors/journalists:  To speak with a CBRE expert please email robert.mcgrath@cbre.com

About CBRE Group, Inc.
CBRE Group, Inc. (NYSE:CBG), a Fortune 500 and S&P 500 company headquartered in Los Angeles, is the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm (in terms of 2012 revenue).  The Company has approximately 37,000 employees (excluding affiliates), and serves real estate owners, investors and occupiers through more than 300 offices (excluding affiliates) worldwide. CBRE offers strategic advice and execution for property sales and leasing; corporate services; property, facilities and project management; mortgage banking; appraisal and valuation; development services; investment management; and research and consulting. Please visit our website at www.cbre.com.   

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