housing market

Q&A: Connecticut Sees Big Demand For Apartment Rentals

NBC Universal, Inc.

The real estate market in Connecticut has had big demand with homes selling at higher than list prices.

But this housing boom is causing another kind of boom - a boom in the rental market.

NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran spoke with Jeffery Cohen, a Kinnard Scholar in real estate and professor of finance at the UConn School of Business, about the market.

Dan: "Jeffrey, why are more people suddenly interested in renting apartments instead of buying homes?"

Cohen: "Well, Dan, there are a number of reasons why people are interested in renting. One of them is that it's just so hard right now to find a home, a single family home. And often times people are bidding against multiple other bidders for properties and having a hard time getting their foot in the door into a starter home. And so as a result, people are moving to apartments for longer and staying in their apartments for longer and waiting for hopefully a time when the single family residential market will be a lot more easy to get into."

Dan: "Now let's talk about these new apartment complexes, they're not exactly what they used to be. A lot of them are really luxury apartments now with great amenities. Is that what people are looking for these days?"

Cohen: "Absolutely, since a lot of people are realizing they may have to stay in apartments a lot longer than they had previously expected. People are looking for amenities like fitness centers, swimming pools, covered parking. And so these are a lot of the things that people are actually trying to find now in apartments and that's leading to a lot of new apartments that are being built to try to accommodate people who are looking for these amenities."

Dan: "So what have you been seeing and hearing around Connecticut? Do we have enough apartment complexes to meet the demand?"

Cohen: "There's a really strong demand and as a result of the strong demand, there are many new apartments that are being built right now. For instance, in Farmington, the old Marriott Hotel is being converted into a 224-unit apartment building. In East Hartford, the old showcase cinemas complex is being converted into a 360-unit apartment building near Duncan Park where the Yard Goats play. There's a 200-unit apartment building that's currently under construction right now."

Dan: "Yeah, there's a lot of work going on around here. So is Connecticut facing a housing shortage and will all this rental property construction help with that?"

Cohen: "Apartments can help deal with that in some respect, and Connecticut, by offering places for people to live, but they're going to have to be places that have more space that have the amenities that people want in the single family homes. Some of it will be temporary, you know, just a few years. And then of course, people often stay a lot longer if their in their single family house or even in multi-family dwellings that they then rent out some of the other units."

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