Americans are on edge

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” - Fyodor Dostoevsky


From the continuing ebb and flow of jobs, to growing threats of terror, to something as simple as water—there is barely a moment of our daily lives that is not overshadowed with uncertainty, framed in peril, or a hotbed of controversy, even to the point of riot.

Such consternation is permeating. The glue that normally unites us to a cause and sets our resolve has been replaced with absolutism, social shaming and abstract, wild-eyed economics that have yet to work anywhere in the world or history. Critical analysis is replaced with gut reactions that are generally self-indulgent exercises. Silence is often the only peace, but at what cost?

So we hold vigil for those things that remain constant and true. Jobs. Productivity. Private sector ingenuity and the revival of self-determination. Facts are stubborn things and the simplest knowledge of history, or the way things really work, makes one magically prescient.

What better time to grip firmly those principles that have historically anchored us, that is, not drown in the big data of life, but drill down to solutions bolstered by metrics and proven by time. Those things we know to be constant and true?

Last year the market absorbed the largest release of apartment units since the heyday of the 1980s, and then clamored for more. Fundamentals have graciously provided just enough wind to keep the apartment sail full and extended.

Modest as they may be, the economy continues to recover in small ticks rather than grand sweeps: a meager but steady rise in employment, household formation and wages means a promising 2016 forecast. Our newly minted renter nation will easily absorb over 285,000 new apartments this year with barely a bump in vacancies.

Low gas and energy prices and revenue from emerging markets, like shared economy services (Uber, AirBnB and the like), have helped renters’ incomes, while creating disruption in the oil and other industries. This means shifting jobs, again, making our employed residents job gypsies, at best.

And there is only more disruption ahead. The lack of affordable housing is rapidly reaching a tipping point. No one is better positioned to find solutions than the great minds of multifamily, the absence of which creates a vacuum that legislators will happily fill in the spirit of social justice and compulsory quotas. Such eminent mandates may or may not have the necessary wisdom to know the real market needs better than those owners and operators who understand the business. What can you do? Start by aligning with our industry associations (NAA and NMHC) to make certain your voice and vote, count.

At no other time is the voice of reason and clarity of mind more important than in a storm. Whether running our multifamily operations or navigating the threats of present day, those things that never change are those which will see us through.