Dominium acquired Whistler's Green about two years ago. The affordable property is steadily holding occupancy around 98 percent.
Job growth is leading the charge in Naples, Fla. when it comes to keeping apartments occupied.
Occupancy in Naples was the highest in the country at 97.5 percent in December, according to data released by the Dallas-based research firm, Axiometrics. And the area's growing employment base has certainly attracted the attention of apartment firms.
Dominium acquired a 161-unit property about two years ago and has seen occupancy consistently over 98 percent, says Jack Sipes.
Sipes, senior vice president of property management at Minneapolis-based Dominium, was pleasantly surprised with the performance at Whistler's Green Apartments after it was acquired as part of a portfolio deal.
“We probably wish we had more there,” he says.
Sipes believes tourism and construction is fueling the steady occupancy at the affordable property, which is geared toward working-class families.
“We’re getting the max rents we can get there and stay completely full,” he says. “Our customer works at the hotels and in the landscaping trade, at restaurants and retail. All of those are really booming.”
The number of jobs in the metro area grew from 117,100 to more than 128,900 in 2013, according to Axiometrics data pulled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of the growth is attributed to the leisure and hospitality sector, according to the report.
As of Nov. 2013 about 25,800 people were employed in the sector, which grew from about 23,600 in 2007.
Rent growth is expected to continue throughout this year but not as rapidly as before, according to Axiometrics. First quarter is projected to see 9.92 percent rent growth while the last quarter of 2013 came in at 11.85 percent rent growth.
Dominium began acquiring properties across the Sunshine State about two years ago because of the stable job growth and foreign investment interest Sipes says.
The company acquired three properties over the last three months making Florida the second largest state where it operates.
“I expect we will continue to grow there,” Sipes says. “We’re seeing a number of residents that were owners and were able to get loans and owned who are now coming back to being renters.”
Lindsay Machak is an Associate Editor for Multifamily Executive. Connect with her on Twitter @LMachak.