SOURCE: Wood Partners

Wood Partners

March 04, 2015 15:51 ET

Wood Partners Opens New Austin Office; Targets Thriving Central Texas Market

Developer Sees Opportunity to Meet Desperate Need for Multifamily Housing in Exploding Austin/San Antonio Corridor

AUSTIN, TX--(Marketwired - Mar 4, 2015) - With a new office in Austin, Wood Partners, LLC is poised to meet increasing demand for multifamily housing in the Austin-San Antonio corridor, which is experiencing explosive population and employment growth.

"This is a high-growth market, and the employment base is very broad," said Todd Gaines, the Wood Partners director who will head up the new office in Austin. "When Wood Partners saw how much growth was occurring in Austin and San Antonio, we realized we needed a local presence here, and I was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to lead the charge in these markets. Austin has been a shining star, showing nation-leading population and employment growth, and San Antonio is an incredibly stable, growing city with a lot of interesting development happening in the Pearl District as well as the suburban areas North and West of town."

The new Austin office is the latest expansion by Wood Partners, which also is adding offices in Chicago and New Jersey this year, bringing the total to 18 offices nationwide. The company is pursuing more than $1.5 billion of new development and acquisition opportunities in 2015, and the Austin/San Antonio market will be among its targets.

"Opening an office in Central Texas achieves a key strategic objective for Wood Partners -- local market coverage in each of the three major Texas metros," said Todd McCulloch, director of Wood Partners' Texas market. "As a bonus, we are fortunate to be able to open this office with Todd at the helm."

Austin is America's fastest-growing city, according to the Census Bureau, with estimates ranging between 110 and 137 new residents arriving every day. The five-county Austin metropolitan statistical area is projected to exceed two million by 2016. Austin is the nation's top market for millennials (Americans born after 1980), with 1.2 times the national average, according to a Nielsen study.

People are flocking to Austin because jobs are plentiful; the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent -- the third lowest among the nation's top 50 metro areas -- and Moody's Analytics projects job growth will average four percent a year through 2015. Last year, Forbes magazine listed Austin as the second-highest metro area for job growth prospects over the next three years, noting that Austin has seen the third highest net migration rate in the nation over the last five years. Austin's median income of more than $75,000 is nearly 20 percent higher than the national median.

At the same time, median home prices in Austin have grown by about 10 percent annually since 2011 and are up 40 percent since 2008, causing many would-be buyers to stay in apartments and rental homes. The Austin-area apartment market has seen increasing revenues for all but one quarter of the past four years, according to the Austin Multi-Family Trend Report, with annual rent growth of 4 percent to 8 percent and occupancy teetering between 94 percent and 95.9 percent. Absorption outpaced new unit additions in the third quarter of 2015, and developers expect to start construction on more than 8,000 units in the next 180 days, according to the report.

In San Antonio, where the population has grown by 430,000 in the past decade, city officials are predicting that one million newcomers will arrive by 2040, nearly doubling the population as well as the city's footprint. The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization predicts that 675,000 jobs will be created in the county during that time. Mike Frisbie, director of San Antonio's Transportation and Capital Improvements Department, stated that 500,000 new housing units will be needed to meet the growing population.

The San Antonio apartment market has seen an onslaught of new units as developers rush to meet the demand for multifamily housing but has remained strong, according to the San Antonio Multi-Family Trend Report. Occupancy increased by 5 percent, and rents increased 1.2 percent in the third quarter of 2014. Annual figures are putting 2014 on track to have the most units absorbed in recent history, according to the report, and occupancy in the new products continues to rise.

"We're targeting where the growth is; there's a huge need here for luxury apartments," said Gaines. "And that's where Wood Partners can bring its experience, track record, and reputation as a best-in-class multifamily developer to bear."

Gaines, who earned an MBA from the University of Texas McCombs School of Business, said he jumped at the chance to run the Austin office and considers it "a bit of a homecoming."

Gaines and Gil Dominy, Wood Partners' regional Director of construction, will staff the new office, and they expect to ramp up hiring as new development projects go into production.

Wood Partners' Austin office is located at 2009 Ranch Road 620 North. Gaines can be reached at tsg@woodpartners.com.

About Wood Partners
Wood Partners is a national real estate company that acquires, develops, constructs and property manages high density and mixed-use communities. It ranks consistently among the top five multifamily developers in the country. Through quality construction, responsible land development and intelligent design, our communities reflect the aesthetic and social fabric of the community and provide a luxurious living experience at a fair price. The company has been involved in the acquisition and development of more than 53,000 homes with a combined value of more than $8.3 billion nationwide. The company currently owns more than 75 properties with a combined total of 21,000+ units. Wood Partners has offices in 18 major markets nationwide including Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Delray Beach/South Florida, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, New York, Southern California, Orlando, Phoenix, Raleigh-Durham, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. To learn more about Wood Partners, please visit our website, www.woodpartners.com and follow our social media accounts, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Apartment Life Blog.