Market Update: Multifamily Leasing in 2022

Multifamily leasing is changing. The lasting impacts of COVID-19, economic uncertainty, and the adoption of technology in commercial real estate all have a part to play. We sat down with Brad Baar, Owner and Broker of Corridor, to get his take on how leasing has evolved in recent years and the impacts on renter behavior.


What multifamily market changes have you seen in 2022?

The days of saying we are in a strong rental market are not generally true anymore. Although renter demand remains resilient overall, there are more variances between Minneapolis submarkets than ever before.

There are certain submarkets in 2022 that have done very well — demand is still strong, and rental rates have increased. Other submarkets have encountered many challenges — demand has decreased, and so have rental rates.

In order to successfully lease within the Minneapolis market, you must be keenly aware of all the different submarkets — and the unique challenges and strengths within each one.

Have you seen a shift in demand for lease-ups vs. stabilization services?

When Corridor began, our business was 90% lease-ups, and 10% stabilized leasing services. Over the last five years, this has slowly changed and has flipped to become 80% stabilized leasing services and 20% lease-ups.

Many factors go into why this has occurred, but one of them is that apartment leasing is more challenging than it used to be. There is more of a need in the market for qualified leasing staff that hasn't been there before. Finding success without top leasing talent is no longer easy.

Has the role of a leasing agent changed during the past few years?

Leasing agents matter more than ever before. In years past, a so-so leasing agent was able to get the job done. Now, the market is much more competitive, and management companies struggle to fill vacancies without top-leasing talent.

Allowing leasing agents autonomy over their work is one of Corridor's defining tenants. Leasing agents don't want to warm seats anymore in offices. It's time to allow leasing agents flexibility to help leads when they want to be serviced.

Also, leasing agents know their worth. In the past, property management companies have hired leasing agents at entry-level positions. There's nothing entry-level about being the only role at the company that enables everyone else at the property to get paid.

There is a massive opportunity to elevate the role of a leasing agent. The leasing agent is the only role directly interacting with prospects, understanding their needs, and receiving real-time feedback. These leasing agents need to get paid what they deserve and have a seat at the meeting tables where their boots-on-the-ground feedback belongs!

How has economic uncertainty affected multifamily leasing?

It has sharpened the industry and forced teams to think outside the box and figure out new ways of doing business. Property management is an outdated and struggling industry and is ripe for innovation.

Have you seen a change in renter behavior?

Renters want and expect more flexibility in their leasing options. You're missing out on a considerable subset of prospects if you're not willing to offer flexible leasing terms.

We've also recognized that renters want immediate service with quicker response times. Often, they're looking to engage when it's convenient for them — and that is frequently after 5:00 p.m. Corridor closes more than 40% of our leases outside of business hours — and most of these transactions happen via text.

In addition, today's renter desires better customer service. There's an incredible management opportunity to nurture leasing staff to become leaders who can make the renter feel special and cared for in a unique way.

The digital presence of a multifamily property plays a significant role as well. Renters want to fully understand a property's offering without needing to speak to someone. This emphasizes the importance of having a stand-out brand with a robust website operating with all of the digital capabilities we've seen advance over the past few years. Many renters have already decided if they want to live at your property before they even step foot in the lobby.

Additionally, a property's online reputation, or lack thereof, is paramount. Renters value reviews, and we see the influence in their decision-making. More renters are choosing to tour based on positive reviews. If you have negative reviews, renters will skip over your property.

  • Nov 15, 2022