Tuesday 23rd June 2020
Are the current strong renewal rates an indicator that BTR has weathered the worst of COVID-19 or is the industry awaiting a delayed downturn as recession bites? How can you ensure to get the most from your assets in a rapidly changing marketplace? We were joined by Lavanda to discuss the following issues:
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Fred started the conversation looking at the impact of COVID-19 on the BTR/Multifamily industry, and how the industry has been impacted in the US and the UK. A particular focus was placed on the US multifamily market as potentially further ahead of the curve in terms of its “exit plan” and could, therefore, be a tough indicator of what’s to come for the BTR market in the UK. Particularly notable was the potential impact unemployment could have on the sector, with 22% of US renters are now expected to have salaries that are “at risk” once government relief stops, which represents a very material risk to the sector.
The conversation then switched focus to the short & medium-term rental market, and how it has evolved during the COVID crisis within the context of the BTR sector. Fred noted that with international travel at an all-time low, there has been a surge in demand for staycations and domestic travel. In addition to this, trust in hotels has diminished due to the perceived risk of infection in transient environments. As a result, demand is moving from hotels to homestays & apartments, which is opening up an timely opportunity for the BTR industry.
The next part of the discussion was focussed on this opportunity for the BTR industry to capitalise on short & medium-term rentals to revenue maximise assets. Fred made the point that greater diversification allows you to be more defensive in a downturn, and a “multichannel” strategy that embraces short, medium and long-term rentals will allow BTR operators weather any storm while adding value to their assets.
As a final discussion, Fred reviewed the recent news that Airbnb has made a significant move into long-term rentals and is now enabling this diverse rental strategy through a single consumer centric platform. Airbnb could become BTR’s greatest surprise ally, both in the downturn and in the good times that follow, but for those who choose not to embrace it, it could also become your greatest competition.