The Buzz: Garage Apartments, Puget Sound Vacancies, and Multifamily Housing Starts

From single-family home to multi-family housing?

Will the tight rental market turn the single-family home into a relic of the past? According to the Wall Street Journal, it just might. While the zoning laws in many areas have long tried to restrict homeowners’ ability to turn empty spaces like garages and basements into apartments, as the rental market has tightened, many homeowners are now pressing for changes in those laws. Read the whole story at WSJ.com.

Morgan Stanley: “We believe the demand for rental properties will continue to grow.” 

According to the US Census Bureau, the rental trend is not exactly in its nascent stage. In fact, renter households have formed at a higher rate than new owner-occupied households for the past five years–and according to a new report, that’s not likely to change anytime soon. The headline quote, from Oliver Chang of Morgan Stanley, is good news for the builders who are counting on a steady supply of renters over the next few years. Read more from KTRE.com.

Q2: Apartment vacancies increased in Kitsap, Thurston, and Pierce counties.

Seattle-based Apartment Insights Washington has just released the vacancy numbers for the second quarter in three Washington State counties–and vacancies actually increased in these areas. Olympia’s vacancy rate rang in at 7.84%, while Tumwater hit 6.36% vacancy; across the three counties, vacancy rates rose from 6.68% in Q1 to 7% in the second quarter. Read more from The Olympian.

Commerce Department: Multifamily housing starts up 12.8% last month.

The article, out this week in the New York Times, covers all housing starts–and it’s all good news for builders. While single-family home starts rose 4.7% in June, multifamily housing starts rose a whopping 12.8%. Michael Gapen of Barclays explains, “housing continues to be the one sector of the U.S. economy that is outperforming expectations.” Read more at NYTimes.com.

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