2020 isn’t quite over yet but I think we’re close enough to the end of it to safely comment on it. For rental housing, 2020 was another example of the industry’s (natural?) ability to weather bad economic storms. In no particular order, here are my general thoughts on the year and the industry:
- managers saw only minor increases in vacancies and minor drops in rent collections
- managers saw increased costs for cleaning, etc
- institutional investors kept buying rental buildings, at record prices apparently
- owners were able to sell their buildings, in most cases with plenty of buyers bidding
- for new projects “on paper” developers delayed/deferred many of them
- consultants and others saw a drop in business during the summer, mostly due to those delays
- there was a construction shutdown for a couple of months early in the year but construction resumed quickly so projects under construction were not been significantly delayed
- hiring freezes affected those hoping to enter the industry or switch to new jobs but there was not widespread de-hiring so people who already had jobs in the industry mostly kept them
With vaccines starting to be deployed at the end of 2020 and a potential end to the pandemic just visible on the horizon, it appears that the industry is poised to do well in 2021 and perhaps return to normal hiring and normal development activity by the end of the year. The long term outlook for vacancies and collections is less clear but unless the whole economy slides into a recession then both should remain tolerable/manageable.
Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays) to everyone reading this site!