Atlanta multifamily market contributes sizable amount to local economy

Apartment conditions are mixed in Atlanta.

Many cities throughout the country have seen marked improvement during the recovery from the recession. One of these cities may be experiencing significant gains in multifamily sector gains, which could help out area property management companies.

The Atlanta multifamily market experienced a notable amount of economic contribution in 2011, despite a lack of serious construction growth from before the recession, according to a report completed jointly between the National Multi Housing Council and the National Apartment Survey.

More than 761,000 area residents resided in apartments in 2011. These residents filled nearly 383,000 apartment units located throughout the Atlanta metro area, the report explained. While more than $1.2 billion was spent on the operation of the apartments in the area, apartment management produced approximately $2.5 billion, helping keep 23,000 jobs in the area.

"The economy in Atlanta continues to chug along, driving the metro and toward a multiyear run in employment growth," the report explained. "This positive jobs picture is buoying demand for apartments, which is increasing occupancy levels in apartment buildings and underscoring the need for more apartments. New apartment construction has accelerated in response to the growing demand, but the level of activity remains well below historical levels and is insufficient to meet current apartment demand."

Apartment construction struggled in the metro Atlanta area, but there were still positives. More than 27 percent of all residential construction permits were apartments in 2011, the report explained. However, this was a drop of nearly 82 percent from 2007's level. Overall, the sector spend nearly $179 million on construction, which brought its contribution close to $400 million, as well as nearly 3,400 jobs kept in the market.

Architecture billings improve
While the local Atlanta market had a drop in apartment construction in 2011, the situation may be on the upswing now. Nationally, the amount of architecture billings improved in February, according to the Architecture Billings Index from the American Institute of Architects. The index figure remained above the threshold of 50, indicating an increase in billing demand. The level for February was 54.9 for the whole month.

The multifamily residential billings statistic performed better than the median, as well as all other sectors during February. Apartments registered a level of 60.9, higher than the mixed practice reading of 56.9, the report added. The commercial/industrial rating was third, while the institutional category had the lowest figure, but still higher than the threshold.

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