Multi-family housing still hanging tough

Mike Jehle, Midwest regional director for Arbor Commercial Mortgage, a direct mortgage lender, didn’t hesitate when I asked him which real estate sector was the strongest these days. He told me it was multi-family, by just about any measure you could use to evaluate success.

I didn’t doubt this. Everyone I talk to tells me the same thing. Multi-family buildings remian the steadiest real estate performer in this dismal real estate — both commercial and residential — market.

That’s not to say that multi-family projects are booming. Just look around in Chicago: You won’t see too many new multi-family rising into the sky in the city. There simply isn’t the financing available for developers to take on new projects.

But, as Jehle told me, vacancy rates in multi-family projects are far lower than they are in office or industrial projects. And Jehle and other experts in the multi-family arena have told me that soon landlords will be able to boost their asking rents again. It’s been a long time since they’ve been able to do this.

In today’s real estate market multi-family remains the one bright spot, relatively speaking. It’s not much, but today you have to take the good news where you can get it.


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