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How Location Technology and Data Help Address Common Multifamily Development Challenges

September 10, 2019
Multi-Family Homes
By: Jason Holte

What are the most common multifamily development challenges, and what can builders do to overcome them?

There’s no denying that there is a need for more affordable housing, but despite the obvious demand, these projects can be especially difficult to develop efficiently. In an interview with, Colliers International Executive Vice President Kitty Wallace shares that there are three distinct multifamily development challenges that homebuilders face before a project even breaks ground. These obstacles are:

  1. High Labor Costs
  2. “Not in my Backyard”
  3. Rising Material Costs

Construction of an apartment building | How Location Technology and Data Help Address Common Multifamily Development Challenges

The challenges that face multifamily developers are easy to identify but harder to solve efficiently. However, our map-based real estate application, LandVision™, can help homebuilders mitigate the impact of these factors. Here are a few ways that location technology and data can help homebuilders navigate multifamily development challenges:

Addressing Multifamily Development Challenges with LandVision

One way to offset the hard costs associated with labor and materials is to expand the initial pool of potential build sites. This allows developers to vet as many viable properties as possible on the front end of a project and acquire the land for their development in a cost-effective manner. LandVision allows developers to input all of the criteria that they use to determine whether a location is suitable for development – factors such as lot size, land use, ownership status, last market sale, and more – and instantly visualize every property within an area that meets their standards. LandVision users can also utilize an aggregate acreage search to find groups of adjacent properties with the same owner that add up to their desired lot size to identify all of the sites within a market that are large enough to accommodate their project. 

After conducting an initial property search, LandVision gives developers several tools to help them analyze potential build sites. By overlaying demographic data, for example, users can research population characteristics like household income, median age, and population density to determine the viability of new multifamily development in an area. If a developer is interested in opportunity zone projects, these economic development zones can be visualized in LandVision to help developers identify only properties located in opportunity zones that meet their other base requirements. And to further refine their target list of properties, developers can use assessed value and transaction history to better understand the financials associated with a specific property, and they can even search for comparable sales to determine what a fair market offer would be.


Vacant land in Phoenix, AZ as viewed in LandVision


Addressing “NIMBYism” is an entirely different prospect, one that will involve everything from public planning meetings to innovative building design. One way that developers can use LandVision to anticipate any reservations that a community may have is to deploy the Builder Sites layer to map all active and recently completed developments in a given area. Builder Sites will display the logo of any major builder who is developing within a region, and selecting any of the logos visualized onscreen will provide additional details on what type of community is being developed. In this way, developers can evaluate the lay of the land and identify any areas that over-index on new multifamily developments. Likewise, developers can also quickly identify all multifamily properties within a region using the same property search workflow outlined above, even filtering their search results to include only properties with a certain number of units or built after a specific year. This will help illuminate any gaps within a market where there could be a need for new housing developments.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the most common multifamily development challenges, effective use of location technology and data can help homebuilders find efficiencies in the due diligence process that could lead to time- and cost-savings during development. Contact us today to learn why over 20,000 real estate professionals trust the DMP location intelligence platform to help them make more confident decisions!

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