Members Learn About Current Economy, Apartment Market at March General Meeting
More than 130 members gathered on Thursday, March 10 for the first General Meeting Luncheon of the year. Primary and Associate members alike filled the Sanctuary Room at the Bluestone in downtown Columbus for the meeting, which began with a member meet and greet before the luncheon program, including an industry market forecast delivered by Dan Hogan of RED Capital Group and Rob Vogt of Vogt Santer Insights. At noon, members took their seats as Executive Director Laura Swanson welcomed those present and invited President Steve Hess to the podium to deliver membership announcements.
Hess acknowledged the CAA's presence on Facebook and encouraged members to "Like" the CAA and encouraged them to submit suggestions for charities they would like to see receive contributions from the Community Assistance Foundation in 2011. He then welcomed Andee Swartz-Merrill of the Membership Committee and Dee Williams of the Expo Workgroup to address the audience.
Swartz-Merrill began by introducing three new member companies who were present at the meeting. She welcomed and thanked new members First Bexley Bank, Powers Friedman and Linn, and V.I.P. Waste Service. She then reminded members of the "Be Like Mike" campaign, where members are encouraged to do business strictly with other CAA members and encourage their vendors who are not members to join. She recognized Alan Litzelfelner with Central Management Company as the 2010 winner of the "Be Like Mike" contest for recruiting the most new members to join the CAA.
Next, Swartz-Merrill presented awards to the winners of the annual Charity Bowling Luncheon. The award for highest team score went to HD Supply, with an overall average score of 157. The award for highest personal score by a CAA member went to Gary Blessing of HD Supply, with a score of 223. The Bowling Workgroup voted on the most creative team name and that award went to Rocky Fork Company, with the team name "Opps! I split it again!"
Dee Williams took stage after Swartz-Merrill to deliver announcements about the Expo on Wednesday, April 20. She gave presented information on attending the Expo, Expo education, and parking.
Once membership announcements were concluded, Daniel Hogan and Rob Vogt began their keynote presentations. Hogan presented an economic and apartment market performance summary and forecast; Vogt spoke on the improving rental market in Central Ohio.
The nation is recovering from the recession slowly but surely. That was the message Hogan delivered as he presented an economic summary and forecast. He said the recent recession was deeper than has been seen in the past and our recovery has been slower.
"The hole we are digging out of is deeper and we are coming out of it more slowly," Hogan said. That's why, he said, it sometimes does not feel like a recovery period.
Unfortunately, unemployment will remain high and growth will be sluggish. Typical employment growth is higher than what Columbus has been seeing. The two areas that have been driving the amount of growth that has been seen are construction and business and professional services. Hogan said construction has not been residential and will likely not be a permanent factor in raising employment.
On a positive note, Hogan noted that the business services sector is more sustainable in Columbus and will likely lead to job creation and employment growth. There has also been a population growth in Columbus and an estimated 1,100 to 1,300 jobs will be created in 2012 and 2013.
The apartment market has seen good absorption rates since the end of the recession and absorptions will be greater than supply rates in the next two years. He did note that while this is good for Columbus, it is no better than competitors elsewhere.
Rob Vogt followed Hogan to present his analysis of the apartment market in Columbus.
"I have a much more bullish outlook on the market," he said. Vogt said there is an improving rental market in Central Ohio, as there is a large migration from home ownership back to a renter's market. He also said the market is becoming segmented, more so than ever before. For this reason, occupancy discussions cannot occur in aggregate; there is product, location and quality diversification.
The recession has had an influence on this phenomenon. "Tenants who are employed and can afford higher rents are looking for and supporting better quality properties," he said. Employed, lower-income household who cannot afford higher market rents are migrating to newer, Tax Credit housing.
He pointed out the trends of the various renting generations. Seniors, for example, are driving the demand for senior Tax Credit housing as well as independent and assisted living, while the Boomers are supporting conventional rental apartments and will soon drive the demand for condos and small-lot developments.
Homeownership rates have declined more than six percent in the last five years and more of the Generation X population is renting than in the past. Generation Y is three times the size of Generation X and "is a sweet spot for the apartment market," Vogt said. Their wants and needs, such as living in a community conducive to walking, should be taken into consideration.
Vogt said that in 2011 the Columbus market can expect a boom in apartment proposals and construction, an increase in effective rents, elimination or redevelopment of older multifamily properties, and an increase in occupancy in class B and C properties as new, lower paying jobs are created.
Hogan's and Vogt's complete presentations can be found at the bottom of this article.