01/26/2012 | by
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Multihousing Momentum to Remain Strong
The multihousing industry is poised for a strong year in 2012, according to Doug Bibby, president of the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC).

In a video interview with REIT.com at the NAREIT headquarters in Washington, D.C., Bibby discussed growth, maintaining the momentum and keeping up with the demand for multifamily housing.

On the heels of NMHC's annual meeting in January, Bibby said that there is great optimism in the industry.

"We're seeing a surging demand for rental housing and a preference for apartments, so that is providing great growth opportunities for our members," Bibby said. "At the same time supply is more limited in the industry."

He attributes the current lack of supply to the previous single-family housing bubble and added that NMHC's member corporations have been much more restrained in their building within the last few years. As a result, he anticipates rental prices to continue to grow this year.

In order to sustain that momentum, Bibby said that it will take jobs and a growth in the economy. He also said that a healthy single-family sector needs to be established.

"Multifamily always performs better when there's a healthy single-family sector," Bibby said.

Bibby responded to President Obama's recent State of the Union speech by saying the president rightfully focused on the single-family housing market since millions of homeowners are under water on their mortgages.

However, he said he would have like to see issues such as the need for housing reform addressed in the Jan. 25 speech.

"We want to know what's going to happen with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and we want to know what's going to happen with private capital coming into our marketplace," Bibby said.

Additional topics he would have liked to hear discussed in the speech include tax reform and Dodd-Frank regulations.

In terms of keeping up with the growing demand for renters, Bibby said the industry will have to be very innovative.

"We're going to see a lot of innovation and customization," he said. "We are already seeing units getting smaller, particularly in downtown areas as developers try to push for more density in the redevelopments that they're working on."

Bibby also noted that the industry is going to try and provide more choices for consumers.