By Corrie M. Anders
San Francisco Examiner
LAS VEGAS, Nev. _ It's not too early for landlords and
apartment developers to start thinking about how their rental
landscape will look at the turn of the century.
Just six years from now, tenant profiles will have changed
dramatically, influencing where renters live and the type of
rentals they desire _ not to mention its effect on the bottom
line for those who fail to understand and act on the emerging
According to pundits, here's what's on the horizon:
The working class poor _ African Americans in particular _
increasingly will receive fatter paychecks that will enable them
to move out of government-subsidized rentals and into private
One third of the growth in U.S. households will come from
immigrants from Latin America and Pacific Rim countries,
increasing the multiculturalization of America.
Senior citizens represent one of the fastest growing segments of
the U.S. population. One of their must-haves is housing that
offers them a sense of security from violence.
These dramatic changes won't occur overnight. "It's going to
be a slow process rather than a big jolt," said Todd Zimmerman of
Zimmerman Associates, a Clinton, N.J., housing research and
Zimmerman and other housing specialists offered insights into
the future of multifamily housing at a discussion during last
month's convention of the National Association of Home Builders.
This may be an opportune time for strategic planning. That's
because this year signals a crossroad for multifamily housing, an
industry term that embraces both rental apartments and
Multifamily construction has been on the skids since the 1986
tax reform act wiped out most investment incentives. Last year
was the worst on record for multifamily construction, with only
162,000 units going up across the country.
Multifamily housing construction has been down so long there's
no place for it to go but up. Michael Carliner, the Home
Builders' chief economist, forecasts a 25 percent jump in
construction as early as this year and another 25 percent in
Carliner told convention delegates that the 1994 increase will
be pushed by significant tax breaks for developers who build
rentals for poor people using low-income housing tax credits, a
temporary program made permanent by Congress last year. Condo
construction will fuel the 1995 increase, he said.
The changing demographics of minorities will play a major role
in tomorrow's renter profile, said Zimmerman, who cut his teeth
on housing affairs as an urban policy specialist in the
administration of former New York Mayor John Lindsay.
He predicts that low-income families _ single moms in
particular _ increasingly will be able to escape the worst of
subsidized housing in the inner city for either moderately-priced
private housing or subsidized housing in better locations and
with better schools. …