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Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020 1 year ago

More than 10,000 apartments, even in the pandemic, remain in the works

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Some multifamily developers like what they see in a post-pandemic marketplace.

In one big way, multifamily developers across four counties in the region are thinking about life after the pandemic.

Proof comes in the amount of apartments under construction in Charlotte, Collier, Lee and Sarasota counties, according to the Southwest Florida third quarter multifamily market report from Lee & Associates. At 10,117 units in total, it’s a sign developers are not stuck in the pandemic, at least in future projects. In addition to the ones under construction, Lee County has another 6,396 apartments in the pre-development proposal stage, the report adds. Sarasota County has 1,831 units in development and Collier has 1,006.    

While the report points out the “COVID-19 virus continues to impact the local economy,” it also found multifamily sales, long a champion investment class, increased over the second quarter. Sarasota County posted the largest transaction volume in the third quarter, the report shows, with two sales leading the way: the Sage at Palmer Ranch, with 257 units, sold July 10 for $60.4 million and Tradition at Palm Aire, with 248 units, sold Sept. 10 for $48.11 million. (Not all is positive in multifamily deals: sales remain down across all asset classes throughout the region, the report states.)

Rental rates in the three biggest counties of the report — Collier, Lee and Sarasota — have mostly remained steady from the second quarter, ranging from $1,241 per month in Lee County to $1,432 per month in Collier and $1,442 per month in Sarasota. An ominous sign lies in vacancy rates, which all increased slightly in the quarter. Collier County now has an 8.5% vacancy rate. Lee County is at 10.3% and Sarasota is at 9.6%.  

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