In 2009, when a host of companies were seeing their portfolios arizona-foreclosures-highlight-industry-wide-problems.aspx" target="_blank">foreclosed upon by banks, it was hard to imagine debt and equity lining up behind apartment deals in the market anytime soon. Flash ahead three years and that’s exactly what’s happening.
Right now, there are seven properties and 2,497 units in the market under construction and another 49 properties, totaling 15,164 units, on the way, according to Axiometrics. Not surprisingly, local powerhouse Alliance Residential is one of the leaders right out of the gate. Already, the company has started the 270-unit Broadstone on Camelback, which is near the Biltmore Fashion Park area. It also has a 264-unit project and a 269-unit deal on the way.
Alliance's Ian Swiergol says the projects have a couple of common bonds. They’re infill sites near retail and job centers and on land that would have gone to high-rise hotel or condo developers in the mid-2000’s boom. “These types of projects were not available in the last development cycle,” he says.
With rents on Class A projects moving 9 percent in 2010 and another 6 percent in 2011, according to Swiergol, it’s easy to see why developers like Alliance, Denver-based Archstone, and Phoenix-based Grey Development want to build in the market. But in Phoenix, like Florida, you always want to know how much is too much. Some observers in the market think these projects with high rents per square foot may not meet market needs.
“It happens so quickly,” says Nick Ingle, director of capital markets for the Phoenix office of Hendricks and Partners. “I think the overall market can sustain the number of units that we’re delivering, if they are all constructed. However we’re delivering them primarily at three intersections and they’re all triple Class A brands.”
Especially since, Ingle says, 12 properties are potentially coming online near Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, by Kierland Commons and near The Biltmore in Phoenix. “They’re great locations and these markets tend to be the more moneyed, which means it’s the renter by choice.”
But with hardly anything permitted in 2010 and 2011, there’s room for growth. “Phoenix has lagged in this development recovery,” says Ron Witten, president of Dallas-based Witten Advisors. “With good job growth, new units are warranted.”