Metro Phoenix Developers Seeing Older Renters, 3-Bedroom Demand

Developers are paying more attention to baby boomers as they plan multifamily housing projects. That was a key point shared during the Urban Land Institute’s annual conference in Phoenix.

Phoenix-based Alliance Residential has more than 70,000 units in nearly 30 metro areas.  Locally, the company has more than 40 apartment complexes. Across all markets in the last few years, Chief Financial Officer Bob Weston said the average renter’s age has gone up “at least five to seven years.”

He says they underestimated the boomer generation’s impact, and apartment developers are now paying close attention to what older renters want.

“I know the commercials like to make fun of the mom and dad trying to figure out how to use the computer but that’s really not what we’re finding,” he said.

Weston said most boomers want to be tech savvy — and they want more space. He said they probably need to create more three-bedroom apartments.

The growth of the multifamily housing industry was also addressed, specifically whether there’s been too much construction.

Jonathan Watson, with AEW Capital Management, thinks the market has probably peaked but remains in good shape.

“My personal thought on Phoenix is that it never got overbuilt early in the cycle, and so you never had this huge run-up very early like some of the markets, say Houston, Dallas,” he said

Some developers reported more growth in the suburbs.

Jeff Thompson with P.B. Bell Companies said the company just finished a luxury complex at Loop 101 and 75th Avenue, the “first new product really in twelve years west of I-17 and it’s been doing very, very well for us.”

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