Thousands of apartments needed to keep up with demand: study

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego region will need nearly 73,000 new apartment units by 2030 to keep up with demand, according to a study released Monday by the National Multifamily Housing Council and the National Apartment Association.

Demand will be pushed by an aging population, immigration and lower rates of home-buying, according to the report.

Between 2011 and 2016, an average of 1,857 investment-grade units were built annually. By comparison, San Diego will need to average 5,198 units per year in the future to reach the needed level.

Investment-grade apartments are likely to attract attention from large institutional buyers like insurance companies or real estate investment trusts, usually involving larger properties. Nationally, 4.6 million units will have to be built, according to the report.

“Nationally as well as here in San Diego, we’re experiencing fundamental shifts in our housing dynamics, as more people are moving away from buying houses and choosing apartments instead,” said Alan Pentico, executive director of the San Diego County Apartment Association.

“The San Diego metro economy is strong, with migration to the area responsible for almost as much household increase as natural population growth,” Pentico said. “This will help support demand for apartments through 2030.”

Among the study’s other findings:

— the San Diego metro area will need all types of apartments and at all price points;

— San Diego is ranked 15th out of 50 metro areas in terms of projected apartment demand by 2030;

— there are an estimated 385,710 apartments in the San Diego metro area, with residents that span the age and income spectrum; and

— San Diego apartment developers, owners and managers, and their residents contribute $11.9 billion to the local economy annually.

Authors of the study said builders will not only need to expand San Diego’s supply of apartments, but renovate or replace older units. Across the U.S., it’s estimated that 51 percent of apartments were built before 1980, mostly in the Northeast.