January 11

New Units Needed Now

New Units Needed Now

Multifamily occupancy rates are up from 94% in 1995 to 95.4% today. And while this incremental growth is positive, it does not reflect the roller coaster ride that was 2007-2011. Today, we see a 4.6% vacancy rate, which translates to more than 11,000 apartment homes in Orange County sitting vacant and ready for rent today, tomorrow, next week or next month. But the market occupancy rates and annualized rent growth of 3.9% also suggest that the market is ready and waiting for new units to be brought online. While there is a glut of high-end, luxury product, we need the good old, garden style product that is most associated with Orange County.

Today in Orange County, we see a growing need for workforce and affordable housing. Yet with high land values and sky-high building costs, market conditions are driving the development not of affordable housing, but of luxury housing. We need our public agency partners to understand the issues faced by developers and work to streamline the development process by cutting fees and expediting the planning and permit stages of projects, offering developers greater incentive to build affordable housing by increasing the density bonuses that are available, as opposed to creating obstacles and drawing out the process. We need urgency and the ability to break ground today or tomorrow, not years from now.