National Real Estate Investor reports that the economic shutdown across the United States in the wake of the coronavirus has come at a time where multifamily projects across the country are waiting to be unveiled, and questions have arisen regarding how quickly these units would be filled in the coming weeks and months. The sector was on pace to introduce around 300,000 new projects, and experts say that the pace of lease signings is expected to slow – but not drastically. The introduction of virtual tours and showings has in part aided in keeping some momentum going, as prospective tenants warm to the idea of signing leases for apartments they have never seen in person.
Even so, April numbers show that the number of new resident leases is down nearly 40 percent YOY. New construction properties especially are expected to experience a slow down in lease up efforts. Projects that are still under development are also facing delays, with about 39 percent of contractors reporting that project owners had paused or canceled their developments. Even those in the approval process are facing obstacles, as many government officials are now working from home and do not have the same access to process paperwork and conduct on-site inspections. Even so, some firms, like Los Angeles based CGI Strategies, have been able to move their plans forward even without in-person meetings. “City officials… are very engaging via email and phone calls due to less office distractions, which has improved our collective efforts,” says Gidi Cohen, CGI Strategies founder and CEO. “This is an opportunity for us to expand into new markets. Our outlook of future development is bright and we are expanding with new acquisitions and new clients to consult for as well.”