It's not exactly going to be a happy new year for the multifamily industry. But I'm more of a “glass halffull” kind of person, so I would rather focus on the potential silver linings than the doom and gloom that has hit the industry.

2009 is positioned to be another tough year for the multifamily industry. Lenders are expected to lend less and at more conservative terms, equity will be costly, and construction financing will continue to be hard to find.

But exactly how bad will 2009 turn out to be?

Apartment Finance Today's annual Capital Markets Outlook gives you the lowdown on what to expect this year for your business, based on interviews with industry leaders, economists, developers, and lenders.

However, many analysts say that the hard times facing the industry in 2009 will help position it for later success.

“As we come out of this recession, as the single-family numbers work to the benefit of multifamily, as the echo boomers mature, as immigration continues, we're going to have even fewer units than we do today,” says Linwood Thompson, managing director of broker Marcus & Millichap. “The apartment business in 2011 to 2014 is going to be in great shape, and this next run will be one of the better bull runs this industry has ever seen.”

Being patient until the downturn ends is an option, but analysts and owners also say there will be a plethora of opportunities during 2009.

If you can find construction financing this year and you have studied the markets carefully regarding recovery, you can potentially position your new projects to come online in 2010 or 2011 when the next upturn begins.

This also is a good time to take advantage of opportunities to buy assets and land out of foreclosure because there are deals to be had from coast to coast. Many distressed properties, including failed condo deals, go on the block each week. Land prices are loosening across the nation, and analysts believe these land deals will get even better as the year progresses.

There also are some niche market opportunities. Many consider student housing to be somewhat recession-proof, and some in the industry believe workforce housing will get a boost from the new presidential administration.

You can read more about the opportunities facing developers this year.

Many of these potential opportunities also will be highlighted at the magazine's fifth annual Apartment Finance Today Conference March 30–April 1 in Phoenix. Turnaround specialists will share how they identify and capitalize on overlooked opportunities in “Bottom Fishing: Making Money with Troubled Properties,” and lenders and developers will share what kind of new construction deals are getting done and how they're being financed during “Breaking Ground: New Strategies in Construction Financing.”