In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, it appeared the multifamily sector could be in for a seriously rough ride. With the economy shut down and the service industry largely laid off from work, there was no telling how tenants would be able to pay the rent and how landlords would be able to pay their notes.
But federal stimulus money and enhanced unemployment benefits kept the economy afloat, while banks and landlords report, locally at least, that they worked well together and averted the kind of foreclosures that, in spring 2020, appeared to be a very real possibility.
Still, it’s too soon to say that the multifamily sector will emerge unscathed from the pandemic. Though businesses have reopened and are operating at full capacity, there are still several question marks about what the second half of 2021 will look like in the multifamily sector.
That’s in part because of the market’s employment picture. The Baton Rouge metro area lost 20,700 jobs in 2020 and unemployment remains high, despite demand for workers in low-wage, hourly jobs. Until there’s job growth there won’t be demand for new housing.
What’s more, experts have been warning for several years that the market is overbuilt, particularly in the student housing sector, and the amount of inventory remains high.
Read the full story about Baton Rouge’s multifamily sector from the latest edition of Business Report.