Ground Up

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Report: Only ‘luxury’ apartments delivered in Baltimore in 2017

Every apartment project with more than 50 units delivered in Baltimore in 2017 can be classified as a luxury development, according to a recent report.

That doesn’t mean, however, that every apartment unit completed in Baltimore last year is a $1,600-a-month studio.

The report RentCafe released Monday classified buildings in 130 metro markets by measures, such as finishes and amenities, according to a spokeswoman. Not the rent charged.

As a result, the 100 percent figure, 95 percent metro-wide, includes affordable housing developments. Those projects, which are generally funded by Low Income Housing Tax Credits, charge reduced rent to residents meeting certain income restrictions.

But these new affordable buildings also can provide amenities and features on par with higher-end market-rate units.

Apartment projects qualifying as luxury units in the study crossed two rental household market position categories. Those classifications are “discretionary” and “high mid-range.”

Yardi Matrix describes the discretionary class as a “luxury rental category primarily focuse(d) on empty nester households, or more particularly, high net worth households.”

Renters in the high-mid range class were described as appealing to “double-income-no-kids (“DINK”) households holding income status similar to that typically required of discretionary property positioning but not in possession of the wealth.”

Buildings were placed in those classes based on several factors, such as finish qualities, attractive common areas, and emphasis on social experience.

So, for example, Bon Secours Baltimore Health System and various partners recently delivered the $22.2 million New Shiloh Village Apartments in West Baltimore.

The four-story, 73-unit apartment complex offers a community room, outdoor recreational area, and in-unit washer and dryers. An apartment project of that quality could easily fit into Yardi Matrix’s high-mid range class.

But New Shiloh Apartments only has eight market-rate units. The other 65 apartments are set aside for residents making up to 60 percent of the area median income.

RentCafe’s report, in fact, found Baltimore could stand to build more high-end apartments.

By mid-2018 only 17 percent of the city’s stock of large-scale apartment developments classified as high-end. The national average share of so-called luxury units was 23 percent.

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