United States

Will Disney become a property management rival?

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Side view of Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is set to break ground on an affordable housing development in Central Florida next year, with the first units projected to be completed in 2026.

Spanning 80 acres of land a short distance from schools, shopping, and the Magic Kingdom, the development will be accessible to qualifying applicants “within certain income levels,” including but not limited to Disney employees. The Michaels Organization will build, own, and operate all 1,400 units.

Meanwhile, California residents will be able to move into their new homes in Disney's first 600-acre residential community – complete with town center and private beach – as early as 2024.

These new communities are comparable to Elon Musk’s own company town currently being built in Texas, though the latter is exclusive to Musk’s employees. And they’re far from alone: some of the largest corporations in the world have taken notice of the booming single-family rental market and now want in.

However, it’s still unclear how these developments will affect local real estate markets. Building more affordable housing could have positive effects, especially for people who may have struggled finding a place to live that fits their budget.

While property managers may initially fear that these developments will put them in competition with deep-pocketed corporations, it’s possible that it could instead shift demand for rental properties in the surrounding areas.

As more people secure affordable housing within the developments, it may free up nearby rental units previously occupied by lower-income workers. After all, a lot of new residents are moving to Florida – more Americans move there than to any other state. As a result, property managers may see fewer vacancies and a larger pool of qualified tenants.

To mitigate any potential negative effects on business, property managers can monitor rental demand and adjust their strategies accordingly.

More institutional investment headlines

Workers can't afford housing, so some companies are building it – NPR

Core Spaces introduces Oxenfree, the future of build-to-rent communities – BusinessWire

Bozeman Health to invest in workforce housing – Bozeman Health

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