During our Annual Meeting in March, CTAA members heard an inspiring keynote presentation from Chris LeBarton, Managing
Analyst at CoStar Group. He warmed the audience with a positive review of his latest Connecticut dining experience before digging into economic and demographic trends, helping forecast the short-term trends for market-rate apartments across the state. He also went on to share reports illustrating that recovery is happening across the metro at varying rates and spoke to the tangible desire of all communities to move past the pandemic. His key takeaway? As long as the economy continues to maintain itself, there’s no reason to believe the golden age of multi-family real estate is over.
LeBarton explored the unprecedented job loss at the beginning of the pandemic and used a chart to illustrate that Connecticut is approaching an 80 percent recovery of total jobs over the last two years. He encouraged landlords to consider their tenants and how they may be influenced by the once-in-a-lifetime workforce shift to remote opportunities. He also challenged CTAA members to consider how this significant shift might change tenants’ desire to move or stay over the next few years, and how that could affect future vacancy rates.
LeBarton went on to illustrate the challenges of supply and demand across the country. It's good news, he said: multi-family property can't keep up with demand! He used the metro areas of Stamford, Hartford, New Haven, and Norwich to compare recovery patterns throughout the pandemic. CoStar predicts rapid absorption, with more renters coming in than out, and LeBarton anecdotally surmised why some landlords fared better than others over the pandemic.
He went on to review the supply-demand balance in Connecticut’s metro areas. “I’ve never seen a chart like this,” he said when looking at Stamford’s percentage of units built since 2010. “Many of these are or will be downtown. Believe in the future of downtowns—we need them to work.”
LeBarton acknowledged CTAA members for their dedication and service throughout the pandemic, saying, “You create successful apartment communities. You have tenants coming back because of the work you do.” LeBarton closed with encouraging forecasts for relatively well-maintained Class B apartments. Only time will tell how the industry progresses over the next few years, but he suspects that our industry’s golden age is long from over.
More about our speaker
Chris LeBarton serves as the Managing Analyst at CoStar Group. In addition to monitoring the greater New England region, he collaborates with a team of analysts covering markets across the country. His analysis appears in market and submarket reports, news stories, client presentations, and third-party content like business journals and panel forums. Chris also coordinates research integration, internal training, and product development. Before joining the firm in 2014, his career included work in the residential, commercial, and private lending fields.
Mr. LeBarton graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism. He lives outside Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife and two children.