2021 Industry Forecast Recap

Posted By: Jon Lowder Blog,

On December 8 PTAA hosted its 2021 Industry Forecast, via Zoom of course, and as you can imagine there was a lot of ground to cover given the uncertain nature of our times. Below you will find a few highlights from the event as well as information about how to order a recording of the event and a copy of each presenter's slides if you're interested.

This year we had three panelists for the Forecast:

  • Mark Vitner, Managing Director and Senior Economist for Wells Fargo Securities
  • Greg Brown, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Apartment Association
  • Bo Heath, Partner with McGuireWoods  Consulting and lobbyist for the Apartment Association of North Carolina

We wanted to hear from an expert on the economy, and commercial real estate in particular, about what they see in the cards for the apartment industry in 2021. And, given the impact that the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the industry, we thought it would be crucial to get an outlook from our government affairs experts in order to better understand what that could mean for the industry. Here are some quick takeaways from each:

Mark Vitner

  • The Triad is well-positioned for the future. Between the return of some manufacturing, which plays to the Triads traditional economy, and local efforts to pivot to new industries (Winston-Salem's Innovation Quarter, Greensboro and High Point in logistics and aeronautics) the region is poised for long-term growth.
  • The Triad's cities have recovered more jobs lost in the early stages of the pandemic than most other large NC cities.
  • North Carolina, and the Triad's, apartment markets are benefiting from the migration of people from large urban markets to secondary and suburban markets.
  • Alamance County's housing market is benefiting from the fact that it is now serving both the Triad and Triangle job markets.
  • In the third quarter of 2020,the Triad's apartment markets have had the lowest vacancy rates and highest rent growth year-over-year of any of the largest cities in the Carolinas.
Source: Mark Vitner's Presentation for 2021 PTAA Industry Forecast

Greg Brown

  • With the House and Senate so evenly split that gives more power and influence to factions - all it takes is a few defections from either party to impact a bill.
  • We're already seeing that with the emergence of a moderate group that came up with a proposed COVID-19 aid package in the weeks since the election after there had been a months-long stalemate before the election. 
  • That aid package will likely be combined with the spending bill that Congress needs to have done by December 18.
  • The package does include about $25 billion for rent payment assistance; not nearly enough, so there will need to be more done in the future but this is a start.
  • Any spending needs to address past unpaid rent, not just future rent payments.
  • Greg also discussed the future of eviction moratoria, how NAA will be working with members around the country to advocate for the what the industry needs, and the focus on gathering the data necessary to make the case and the potential impact of the Biden Administration's housing plan.

Bo Heath

  • Bo recapped the NC elections and discussed what that will mean for the industry's policies moving forward.
  • He gave us some insight on new members of the House and Senate and identified key players for next year's long session.
  • Industry issues we're likely to cover in 2021 - COVID-19 relief and eviction moratoria among the most immediate - he said other issues to watch include:
    • State budget shortfall
    • Unemployment Claims Processing
    • Rural Broadband
    • Access to healthcare
    • ABC reform
    • Redistricting

Because this years Forecast was held via Zoom we were able to record it, and if you'd like to see the full session you can access it and a copy of each presenter's slides, at this link. (Cost $29 for PTAA members, $39 for non-members).