April 24, 2020
“This is a crisis like none of us has ever experienced,” behavioral psychologist Mary Campbell said at the outset of a webinar presented Thursday by Marcus & Millichap’s Institutional Property Advisors division. She said the phrase that most aptly described the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was “a long emergency.”
In view of both the severity and the duration of the crisis that has resulted from the pandemic, Penelope Consulting founder Campbell said the best strategy for each of us is to figure out how to function most effectively in the moment—because the crisis isn’t going to abate anytime soon.
Going forward, she said, “The ‘new normal’ will be anything but normal.” However, she added that throughout history, “we have weathered incredible challenges as a human family.”
Applying these principles now and in the future as they relate to the multifamily sector was among the topics considered by a panel of leading investors in the sector in the latest of IPA’s “Actionable Insights” webinars. With IPA SVP Jeff Daniels moderating, the panel included Lili Dunn, president of Bell Partners; Brian Eby, managing director at Nuveen; and John W. Gray, president of LMC Investments.
“There’s certainly no playbook for this,” said Dunn. That being said, she noted that renters will want to live at properties where they feel the operators are taking health and safety seriously.
Key to successful operation going forward, panelists agreed, will be adjusting to renters’ changed behavior and expectations, in factors such as shared amenity spaces. Gray noted that in the future, a renter might not be so nonchalant about stretching out on a pool chair just a couple of feet away from his or her nearest neighbor, or working out in a crowded onsite fitness center.
Eby cited the “adaptive innovation” in the approach that multifamily operators will take in writing that new playbook. At present, he said, “We’re bridging the gap with a lot of different things” until a longer-term strategy becomes clear.
Daniels suggested that the local environment of many large multifamily operators could inform their shaping of such a strategy. He pointed out that in the National Multifamily Housing Council’s newly issued top 50 ranking, more than half of the companies are headquartered in one of the metro areas that have seen the highest outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
Replays of the webinar are available on-demand by registering here.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Paul Bubny