Jonathan Pratt Discusses Strong Multifamily Markets in Washington DC

May 5, 2020

While the Mid-Atlantic region has been hit hard by COVID-19—relative to markets in the South and Western United States—the multifamily markets in Washington DC and across the region have generally shown resiliency. Collections in April were strong and property owners continue to be optimistic about May. This is due in large part to the DC-area reporting one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country thus far—thanks to the stabilizing workforce and actions of the federal government.

Historically low unemployment has partially insulated Washington DC from the worst impacts of the pandemic.

Coming into the COVID-19 pandemic, Berkadia Research showed that the Washington, D.C. apartment market was among the healthiest in the country, due to expanding employment and rising costs of home ownership that have boosted rental household formation. But now, our current challenge lies in understanding how far the rental market will decline, and to what extent low interest rates can support pre-pandemic property values.

Real Leadership Makes a Difference

Multifamily commercial real estate is a business, but it is crucial for all of us to remember that these are also peoples’ homes. During these uncertain times, we have seen landlords interact with tenants in unique ways. We want to specifically bring attention to one of our many clients who have gone above and beyond to help residents during this COVID-19 pandemic: Aulder Capital.

Aulder Capital has shown immense compassion though their COVID-19 assistance programs, established to help tenants with meals, rental payments, senior well-being checks and childcare/education during this time. Specifically, with schools currently closed, they realized that many children would not be receiving meals they rely on from school. Aulder Capital has committed to spend over $100,000 to provide meals to more than 200 families every day and continues to support their communities throughout this crisis.

This type of leadership and compassion is needed now more than ever. We commend Aulder Capital for all that they’ve done, showing a continued commitment to both their employees and residents.

Hope in Uncertain Times

Trailblazers, like Aulder Capital, give us hope that industries, companies and people are pulling together to do what’s right in these times of uncertainty. But it’s important to note that, for the commercial real estate market, the future is still very much uncertain.

We have seen the potential for opportunities in secondary markets coming out of the pandemic and are optimistic that transactions will ramp up rather quickly once the shelter-in-place orders are lifted. Many firms have raised funds and need to deploy capital, so it’s logical to think transaction volume will increase toward the end of this year. But there is no way of knowing until we get there.

Right now, all we can do is work together and try our best to position ourselves, our properties and our residents for the best possible future. What we know for sure is that we can get through this if we look out for one another and tackle it together.

-Jonathan Pratt, Senior Director