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Common’s Amalia Paliobeis Q&A: Solutions for Bay Area’s Missing Middle

By Dennis Kaiser

Common’s Amalia Paliobeis, Director of Real Estate, will be speaking at Connect Bay Area tomorrow. Common is a national property manager that designs, operates, leases, and brands multifamily properties to appeal to today’s renters. She shares a few insights before the conference about the trends she sees driving the market, the impact a tight housing market is having, as well as solutions that are emerging in our latest 3 CRE Q&A.

Q: What are some of the overarching trends you see driving the Bay Area market as the year progresses?
It’s no surprise that, for me, the biggest housing trend in the Bay Area is affordability. Housing at an attainable price point for the “missing middle” group of the Bay Area workforce has become almost impossible to find. Today, the median one-bedroom rent in San Francisco is a shocking $3,700. Twenty-four percent of Bay Area households who rented this past year spent more than half of their gross income on housing costs.

If that doesn’t say affordability crisis, I don’t know what does. Even with the large swath of lucrative professional opportunities in the area, many people do not realize that several tech companies like Oracle, Paypal, and Apple actually have median salaries well below $100,000. In fact, Tesla’s median salary is $49,920, making rent at 33% of his/her income $1,390. New jobs in the Bay Area continue to outpace the number of housing units coming online (in some cases by 3.5x). As long as there are well-paying jobs, people will want to live in the Bay Area, and ideally close to where they work. Yet, developers I work with on a day-to-day basis are struggling to make workforce rents (and even luxury rents) pencil, and I only see this trend getting worse and worse.

Q: How are people adjusting their views on living in the Bay Area, given the severe housing crunch?
Working for one of the largest co-living operators in the country allows me to see first-hand how people are changing the way they share. Simply put: value and experience are growing more meaningful than ownership. It’s no secret that people have been sharing their apartments with others to save money for hundreds of years, but now they’re seeing it as a long-term option. Sharing and renting for later into their lives allows people to save money while living closer to where they work. The norms are changing.

Q: What have you learned from your experience creating co-living spaces, and how is that shaping new communities on the West Coast?
I’ve learned so much about the state of multifamily managing Common’s West Coast real estate acquisitions, and everyone at the company has gained valuable insight into the mind of a modern renter from our 4+ years of work in the co-living space. At this point, our sales, marketing, and operations team have become experts in making sure city-dwellers are getting everything they need out of the place that they live: affordable rents, a sense of convenience and a place to build community.

The fact is, co-living isn’t going away. Right now, I’m negotiating at least 30 different deals (the majority having over 200 beds) across the West Coast with Common as the operator. Working with developers has gotten easier, and we’ve expanded the different forms and ways we can work with them – from taking on the operations of a traditional multifamily building to utilizing our expert architecture team to design a new 300+ bed building in San Diego. My biggest learning has been understanding how co-living can stretch beyond typical layouts and designs, while keeping our renter experience top priority.

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About Dennis Kaiser

Dennis Kaiser is Vice President of Content and Public Relations for Connect Commercial Real Estate. Dennis is a communications leader with more than 30 years of experience including as a journalist and in corporate and agency marketing communications roles. He is responsible for Connect’s client content operations and is involved in a range of initiatives ranging from content strategy, message development, copywriting, media relations, social media and content marketing services. In his most recent corporate communications roles, he led a regional public relations effort across Southern California for CBRE, played a key marketing role on JLL’s national retail team, and was responsible for directing the global public relations effort at ValleyCrest, the nation’s largest commercial landscape services company. In addition to his vast commercial real estate experience, Dennis has worked on communications and launch strategies for a number of residential projects such as Disney’s Celebration in Florida, Ritter Ranch in Palmdale California (7,200 homes, 22,000 acres), WaterColor in Florida and PremierGarage in Phoenix. Dennis’s agency background included firms such as Idea Hall and Macy + Associates. He has earned an outstanding reputation with organization leaders as a trusted advisor, strategic program implementer, consensus builder and exceptional collaborator. Dennis has developed and managed national communications programs for Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, both public and private. He’s successfully worked with journalists across the globe representing clients involved in major-breaking news stories, product launches, media tours, and company news announcements. Dennis has been involved in a host of charitable and community organizations including the American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, BoyScouts, Chrysalis Foundation, Freedom For Life, HOLA, L.A.’s BEST, Reach Out and Read, Super Bowl Host Committee, and Thunderbirds Charities.

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