CCIM

EPC's McKeen sees stability in KC multifamily market

By Marcia Charney | MWM Contributing Writer

Stable. Steady. Cautious. Opportunity.

Those are the words Mike McKeen is using these days to describe the state of Kansas City’s apartment market. The principal and president of EPC Real Estate Group, LLC spoke to a record-breaking crowd of more than 150 brokers and real estate professionals at the April meeting of the Kansas City chapter of CCIM

Areas that will continue to succeed in the multifamily market will have “charm, character and are walkable, with jobs in good proximity,” McKeen said, noting that strong players currently include Lenexa City Center, downtown Overland Park, Olathe, Mission; and downtown Kansas City, Missouri, which leads the area in multifamily development. 

The living preferences of Millennials are driving the market. Some of EPC’s current products are Millennial-based, including Avenue 80 in downtown Overland Park, where Millennials comprise 70 percent of the tenant base. Empty nesters, who no longer want to maintain their homes and are seeking to live life a little differently, are another growing tenant segment.  

McKeen discussed how e-commerce is changing multifamily development. With the explosion of package delivery, developers are installing electronic parcel delivery systems, which allow tenants to retrieve packages by entering a security code. McKeen said that without these delivery systems, the buildings would need a massive storage room for delivered packages and staff to monitor receipt and storage.

McKeen said that developers now have to consider for the first time the amenities and unit size that Generation Z wants. He stated that studio apartments are the “quickest thing to fly off our lists right now because they hit a certain price point of affordability but they also cater to that lifestyle of people who spend most of their time playing video games.” McKeen added that the amenity most requested by Gen Z is blackout shades for better game screen visibility. 

McKeen discussed the challenges currently facing multifamily developers which include a decline in the number of skilled craftsmen; the threat of tariffs, causing suppliers to raise prices to offset the impact of possible future tariffs on costs; future tax treatment; the passage of city ordinances which impact the use of development incentives; aging infrastructure; low supply and high demand, particularly for precast concrete products; and rising operating costs.

McKeen also recognized new opportunities for multifamily developers such as the creation of new inventory to meet the demands of Millennials and empty nesters, affordable housing, and opportunity zones. In addition, new product types like micro-units, which range in size from 350 to 500 square feet, are in high demand with rising rents.  

Noting that “site selection is everything now,” McKeen said the average occupancy of multifamily properties in the Kansas City area has remained steady, staying between 93 and 95 percent.  

 

Insight: KC CRE pros use tech tools to improve outcomes

By Erik Dolan-Del Vecchio | Content Contributor

On the way to becoming an investment sales broker at CBRE, Holly Mills was a commercial appraiser for over a decade, which explains a lot.

Mills’ analytical background is integral to her approach to commercial property sales and leasing. Clients say her data-driven insights inform and equip them to understand the benefits of different alternatives, be it for an investment property to purchase, a corporate location to occupy or a space to lease.

State-of-the-art technology helps Mills, a CBRE vice president, collect, sift, sort and track voluminous amounts of data and information. She uses the firm’s proprietary commercial real estate relationship management software to track spaces, tenants, properties, owners, buyers and milestone dates of opportunities coming up… “things I need to track to make me more productive,” she says.

Mills also makes frequent use of mapping tools to help clients visualize data points. She tells the story of helping a physical therapy medical practice plan an expansion involving as many as 10 locations in three years. Mapping tools with demographic information overlaying locations and radius maps helped her provide points of comparison for the client to determine the locations that would be accretive to their market.

Accessing Information from Anywhere on the Fly

Bob Galamba, senior vice president of Colliers in Kansas City, agrees that technology propels his business every day, accelerating transactions and reducing friction along the way.

Galamba’s focus primarily is multifamily, including existing assets and land with a multifamily component.

He and his team track people and prospects in Apto, the leading commercial real estate software for brokers, and use Smartsheet collaboration software to share information and facilitate communication so everyone’s on the same wavelength and has the benefit of the intelligence. Historical data on people, and shared documents such as letters of intent, can be accessed from anywhere on the fly.

For deal management with clients, Galamba uses Real Capital Market’s Deal Rooms, in which he can maintain property marketing pieces, confidentiality agreements, offering memorandums and more.

 “As a property remains on the market or a deal progresses, you’re still updating financials each month and rent rolls, and able to share that information with buyers who have expressed interest. It also provides a reason to reach out and contact prospects, and a seamless way to keep all the [transaction] information updated and together.”

Notably, Apto and Real Capital Markets are software integration partners, which facilitates information sharing and reduces redundant data entry between the two services.

Blockchain and Predictive Analytics are Game-Changers for Real Estate

Laird Goldsborough is no stranger to information and technology either. Information is the chief currency of his business, which is determining the value of real estate and advising clients on all manner of real estate and investment decisions as senior managing director of the regional office of Valbridge Property Advisors.

Goldsborough relies on a variety of technology tools and services, including demographic information from CCIM’s Site to do Business. He sees technology as helping to make real estate information more transparent and properties faster to transact.

Goldsborough describes blockchain technology, fast evolving, as a game-changer for real estate. He calls blockchain “distributed ledger technology” that allows all participants in the chain (versus one person) to have access to information. With blockchain, Goldsborough says, everyone owns the information, which removes opacity and thus risk.

If information on real estate assets becomes more transparent, not only will sales happen faster, but more buyers will become attracted to the asset class, which would expand the market for investors.

The commercial real estate sales cycle is too long, Goldsborough says. If you want to accelerate the sales cycle, unmask the information, which would speed up and standardize the process of trading assets, akin to trading Apple shares in the stock market.

The other technology Goldsborough sees as on the verge of benefitting real estate professionals is predictive analytics, a form of artificial intelligence. 

“You have a huge pool of data on real estate and sales and markets — a lake with minnows and trout and sharks. If we allow a machine to go out and fish out what we need, we could make better predictions based on historic data and cycles,” he says.

The result: “As an appraiser I’ll be able to give you a value today and look back and with a much higher degree of accuracy suggest what the building may be worth three years from now.”

How Burns & McDonnell and VanTrust turned a synagogue into a $90M showcase

How Burns & McDonnell and VanTrust turned a synagogue into a $90M showcase

At the former home of the Beth Shalom Synagogue at the intersection of Wornall and Bannister Road, a flurry of 190 construction workers are quickly putting together the first phase of Burns & McDonnell’s $90 million headquarters expansion project to debut in the Spring of 2016.