The world is changing fast. The economy is changing, how we work is changing, how we shop and how we use real estate is changing. That is creating new opportunities.
We’ve needed more access to rental housing for many years. Yet, building new has become increasingly challenging due to regulations, pricing, talent, and financing. While there may be millions of empty homes in America, they seem to be staying empty and don’t scale well from an investment and business perspective to solve the substantial need for regular rental housing. While new technology is disrupting many industries and may be causing some temporary pain, this also means that there are new opportunities to solve problems. This is specifically true with falling demand and need for some types of properties, which could be transitioned to housing.
America has an insane amount of space dedicated to parking. Our parking lots are bigger than entire malls in other countries. Bigger than the office buildings and apartments. Yet, between new congestion taxes and ridesharing, the need for and desire for private vehicle ownership may be dropping dramatically. If our parking lots can be repurposed for multifamily housing, it could single-handedly reduce the current housing shortage crisis. That’s true even if the bulk of parking space was relocated away from central areas, with public shuttles or autonomous vehicles filling the gap.
We’ve been through a pretty sizable self-storage boom since the early 2000s. Many new self-storage facilities have taken up the prime property. There may be a boom in need and demand for storage space in the near future if there is another major recession. Yet, new technology is eroding the need for self-storage to occupy so much prime space. It could be far better repurposed as housing. This could be especially true with Baby Boomers making their final moves, and Generation Z becoming the biggest force in the market, with the fewest belongings.
Not just malls, but major strips which were once iconic retail destinations. Brick and mortar shopping or physical interactions with brands may not disappear. Some e-commerce brands are even finding their best choice for expansion is to come offline. It is clear there is still a lot of right-sizing to do and maybe a lot of relocating and recycling. The future is likely to mean fewer stores and much smaller stores. If malls survive, it is for the experience of getting out of the house, not going to browse the aisles as we have in the past. As malls empty out, they may at least be better purposed as mixed-use buildings with office and housing incorporated.
Mixed Use Properties
A lot of developers are building mixed-use, but not all of them are getting it right. Some have condo units above retail that has been empty for years, ever since they were built. They are overpriced or too small. Some are putting in thousands of feet of new retail space, right when retail is going through a correction. Then there are older existing and small mixed-use properties. Some may be better as pure apartment buildings. All need to carefully select tenants who can survive and thrive in these changing times.
While these are all great opportunities that may be tackled in the years ahead, real estate investors also need to keep an eye on profitability. Often simply revamping existing and underperforming multifamily apartments may be both the greenest and most profitable option.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill Zahller is the President of Park Capital Properties and resides in Asheville, NC. As a Multifamily Real Estate Investor and Syndicator, he founded Park Capital Properties in 2016 after 14 years involvement in real estate investment. He works with accredited investors and professionals who are interested in real estate investment, diversification, and financial freedom.
Bill has been flying since high school. His father was a Naval Aviator and Captain for TWA. Bill has been flying professionally for over 25 years, 23 of those at his current company. He has accumulated over 12,000 hours and 7 Jet type ratings. He has also held Instructor, IOE Instructor and NRFO pilot positions with a large fractional flight company. He is currently flying the Global 6000 in a long range mission capacity. This keeps it interesting – one week its Beijing or Sydney; the next Rio or Rome.
Bill is also the founder of the Asheville Multifamily Investor Club. Visit www.ParkCapitalProperties.com for more information.