Have Job, Will Travel
Three times as many relocating renters are moving for new employment opportunities this year compared to 2010, reveals a new survey by Chicago-based multifamily ILS Apartments.com. According to the national poll of Apartments.com website visitors, 28.8 percent of apartment prospects are looking to move to relocate for employment opportunities, compared to only 10.4 percent from the previous year. “These results further corroborate news of a recovering rental market in 2011 as socioeconomic factors are often the leading indicator or growth in the housing industry,” says Apartments.com public relations & promotions manager Tammy Kotula.

Other key findings from the survey: A large volume of current homeowners and first-time renters are entering the market, and a larger proportion of all renters are starting their apartment search earlier in the year. According to the survey, nearly 20 percent of respondents begin their apartment search three to four months in advance and nearly a quarter are looking as early as five months to more than a year out. “It’s a good idea to lock into a lease right now,” says Apartments.com vice president of product management Chris Brown. “Many management companies have announced rent increases, and we’re starting to see this reflected in the rents advertised on our site. As vacancy rates continue to drop and the rental market improves, we expect to see the upward trend grow.”

Condo Confectionary
Residents at the 12-story, 260-unit Riverview condominium community in Yonkers, New York were treated to a comfort food community event this past Valentine’s Day: Food Network's Elisa Strauss held a brownie-baking demonstration at the property’s model unit. In addition to dozens of yummy brownies, the demonstration showed off available finish upgrades at the community, including GE stainless steel appliances, white lacquer cabinetry with self-closing drawers, and Carrera marble floors. Resident attendee Reggie Tagel says amenities such as a fitness center, pool, and 24-hour concierge service are great, but the social programming is really what swayed his buy-in at Riverview. “In addition to the building’s amenities, it was the event culture at Riverview that helped make the decision to purchase here so easy,” Tagel says. Targeting first-time home owners and single-family downsizers, Riverview recently passed the 50 percent sold threshold. Read more about the community and its condo sales strategies in the next issue of Multifamily Executive.

Too Hot to Handle
Industry groups are writing white papers, the EPA is holding national summits, and even Howard Stern’s limo has come under attack. Yep, the scourge of bed bugs continues seemingly unabated, and while the National Multi Housing Council and National Apartment Association are calling on Congress for a “Manhattan Project”-style final solution to the pesty problem, one Winnipeg landlord is taking on infestations mano a buggo, double-wide style. According to CJOB radio, Leon Wieler has converted an old trailer into an oven, and is baking magazines, furniture, and even electronics to kill off bed bug infestations. While the use of heat to eradicate bed bugs has been known for some time, the trailer conversion is a new twist. According to Wieler, his critter cooker took four months of experimentation before he finally got it right.

Editor’s note: Send your offbeat multifamily news leads to cwood@hanleywood.com.