NMHC releases wide-ranging apartment management survey

RISING INSURANCE COSTS ARE RAMPANT IN THE APARTMENT INDUSTRY. THAT'S ONE of the wide-ranging findings in a nationwide survey of apartment property managers released by the Washington, D.C.-based National Multi Housing Council (NMHC), which conducted the study with Los Angeles-based CEL & Associates. The survey examined the policies of management firms in a variety of areas, including resident applications and privacy, property insurance and technology.

“NMHC completed this survey at the request of the apartment industry's leading firms, which asked us to help them by creating a benchmarking reference tool to track their performance,” said Jay Harris, vice president of property management at NMHC, in a statement announcing the study's release.

All of the firms surveyed reported their property and casualty insurance costs had risen during the last 12 months, and 16% said those expenses had more than doubled. As for attracting tenants, 50% of the firms spend $150 per unit or less on marketing and advertising.

Also, 14% of those surveyed use yield-management or rent-pricing software to adjust rents, and 34% provide information on residents' rent-payment histories to national credit bureaus. In another finding, 18% of the firms surveyed require tenants to purchase renter's insurance.

Metropolitan Properties spends a cool $62M for units in steamy Miami

Boston-based Metropolitan Properties of America (M/P/A) has purchased Courvoisier Courts, a 272-unit, luxury apartment high-rise near downtown Miami, from Newark, N.J.-based Prudential Real Estate Investors for $61.6 million. The complex features one-, two- and three-bedroom units. The average unit size is approximately 1,250 sq. ft.

Amenities at the five-year-old community include a resort-style sundeck, saunas, indoor squash and racquetball courts, and a business center with DSL Internet access. Also, each apartment features a washer and dryer, dishwasher, built-in microwave and private balcony.

Percentage of Renter Households in 10 Largest U.S. Cities in 2000

1. New York 8 million 3 million 69.8%
2. Los Angeles 3.7 million 1.3 million 61.4%
3. Chicago 2.9 million 1.1 million 56.2%
4. Houston 2 million 718,000 54.2%
5. Philadelphia 1.5 million 590,000 40.7%
6. Phoenix 1.3 million 466,000 39.3%
7. San Diego 1.2 million 451,000 50.5%
8. Dallas 1.2 million 452,000 56.8%
9. San Antonio 1.2 million 405,000 41.9%
10. Detroit 951,000 336,000 45.1%
Note: The figures, which are rounded, include core cities only, not metropolitan statistical areas.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau • Graph appears courtesy of M/PF Research

AvalonBay set to make its New York City debut

START SPREADING THE NEWS: AvalonBay Communities Inc., based in Alexandria, Va., is nearing completion of its first apartment community in New York City. Occupancy of Avalon Riverview, a 372-unit, $102 million high-rise located along the East River in Queens, is slated to begin April 1, although construction of the 32-story tower won't be complete until fourth-quarter 2002.

The apartment developer and owner, which focuses on high barrier-to-entry areas such as the Northeast, Pacific Northwest and California, may have found its ideal market in the Big Apple. “It's difficult to build in New York City,” says Tracey Appelbaum, vice president of development for AvalonBay. “The economics of doing a project there are very challenging, and as a result, inventory comes on line at a reduced pace relative to demand.”

AvalonBay has had its sights on New York for a while, says Appelbaum, noting that the company has targeted the city at least since 1994, when she joined AvalonBay. Although new to the city itself, the company has developed and owns approximately 5,000 units in metropolitan New York, including properties in Bronxville, N.Y., New Rochelle, N.Y., Edgewater, N.J., and Jersey City, N.J.

Avalon Riverview will feature studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Monthly rents will range from $1,635 to $6,500. Each apartment will contain parquet floors, washers and dryers, and balconies with views of the East River or Manhattan. The complex also will feature a landscaped deck and putting green on the fourth floor.

The community won't be AvalonBay's only New York City project. The company also is a partner in Chrystie Venture Partners (CVP), a joint venture that will construct a $230 million mixed-use project in the Cooper Square area of Lower Manhattan. The project will feature approximately 700 apartments. Phipps Houses and Blackacre Capital Management, both based in New York, are the other partners in CVP. Construction of the project, which also will include about 140,000 sq. ft. of retail space, will begin in 2003.

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