Summerview Square Larry Merz Photography (contributed)
In his cogent study, Resetting the Demand for Multi-family Housing, respected numbers cruncher, Arthur C. Nelson, predicts that the rental share of the housing market could surpass 41 percent by 2020. The Urban Land Institute and other experts are convinced that tighter lending standards, a Gen Y submerged in education debt, and the sell off of single family homes by the fastest growing demographic, seniors — will keep the rental market on the rise for the next 10 years. NAHB's Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI) dropped again, which indicates continued demand for more apartments. NAHB expects a 30% increase in multifamily starts in 2013, and Norwalk, CT is a prime example.
The action in Norwalk is in the rental market
According to William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty rental specialist, Michael Church, there is only a 1 ½ month inventory of rentals in Norwalk at an average monthly rent of $1700.
“It goes without saying, that the Norwalk rental market is extremely strong, and can handle the absorption of Avalon's 240 units, as well as others that are slated for development,” says Church. “We're continuing to see record low vacancy rates, and area banks are only interested in financing rental developments.”
Belpointe Real Estate has secured financing, and excavation is underway at Waypointe on West Avenue, which includes 774 apartments and more than 90,000 square feet of retail in the first two phases. Leasing is beginning at Avalon East Norwalk, a community of 240 studios, one, two and three-bedroom apartments at 8 Norden Place. Construction is also underway at The Spinnaker Companies mixed use development, 20 North Water Street across from the Maritime Center, where they will be building 107 apartments, 17,500 square feet of retail and 3,200 square feet
of restaurant space.
On West Main and Summer Streets on the north side of Norwalk,
the townhouse style apartments at Summerview Square have rented up within a day or two of becoming available. The final phase of 32 units is under construction, and there is a waiting list of interested tenants.
Fairfield County builders, Andrew LaSala and Steven Berko of Summerview Development Group are developing the project for Westchester asset management company, Seavest Inc. and Summerview Square has been recognized with state awards for its design and the rejuvenating effect it has had on the surrounding West Main Street neighborhood.
Summerview Square is a microcosm of the new demographic
According to a recent National Association of Realtors (NAR) study 47% of today’s households want urban living, and the Gen Y execs, empty nesters and young families who live at Summerview Square, personify the new urban renter.
Javaid Siddiqui, Information Technology manager for Dunkin’ Donuts, leases a Summerview apartment with his wife. “It’s an awesome place to live. We eat at the local restaurants on weekends, and it’s a five minute walk for my wife to get to her job as a pharmacy technician,” says Siddiqui.
Several older residents at Summerview have sold large single family homes and opted to rent in the city rather than buy a smaller home in the suburbs.
Gen Y renters are doubling up
The generation that is currently moving into the housing market — Gen Y or Millennials — is the most urban-oriented since the 1930’s, but student debt now totals up to $550 billion, and the Millennials face some tough economic choices, especially when it comes to housing.
Mikail Blankovich & friends at Summerview barbecue Larry Merz Photography (contributed)
Mikail Blankovich works for GE and rents a three bedroom townhouse at Summerview with two young Xerox execs. He loves the fact that so many of his friends live at Summerview.
Three young women, also employed by GE in Stamford, share another townhouse. They recommended Summerview to yet another young GE executive, Spencer De Phillips, and now he and two of his colleagues are sharing a three bedroom townhouse.
“I’m young and I work for a corporation that is adamant about employee flexibility,” says DePhillips. “Since I am inclined to move around, I am not interested in home ownership. Given the quality construction, proximity to my office and affordable rent at Summerview, the decision to lease was a fairly easy one.”
Larry Merz Photography (contributed)
These Gen Y renters are living economically in Fairfield County, and typical of their generation, they would rather walk, bike, car-share, and use public transportation. Living in Norwalk at Summerview Square makes all of that easy.