Pasco County halted new applications for multifamily development for a year in a portion of Central Pasco, to allow research to be conducted to find out if that part of the market was oversaturated with apartments.
The study was completed by Lambert Advisory and its subconsultant Calvin, Giordano & Associates, working in conjunction with county planning staff.
Based on the results, “there does not appear to be an oversaturation of entitlements for multifamily units,” according to a report delivered to the Pasco County Commission, at an April board meeting.
That assessment is particularly true, as viewed from a five-year to seven-year planning horizon, the report says.
The multifamily market within the moratorium area boundary (MAB) is reporting more than 97% occupancy, with monthly rental rates increasing by more than 17% within the past 12 months, the report says.
Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore championed the moratorium on multifamily — raising concerns about the prospect of a glut of apartment developments eventually leading to problems of buildings in disrepair and the potential for increased crime.
He also has argued against the conversion of land designated for employment-generating uses into residential development.
The moratorium area was confined to Moore’s district. Initially, it generally included an area between State Road 52 and State Road 54 and approximately Land O’ Lakes Boulevard and Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. Later, after the commission district boundary lines were changed due to redistricting, the MAB was expanded to include areas south of State Road 54, from U.S. 41 to east of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.
Calvin, Giordano & Associates (CGA) conducted the supply side of the study’s analysis, working in conjunction with the county’s planning staff.
Eric Liff, of Lambert Advisory, provided the analysis for the demand side of the equation.
The primary question, Liff said, was to determine if the moratorium area was oversaturated with multifamily.
The study also took a broader look to give the county “enough information and data for future housing policy and planning initiatives,” he said.
In the moratorium area, Liff concluded: “There’s tremendous demand that’s occurring within this market. And, you can see it, because obviously, a lot of it is pent-up.
“The occupancy doesn’t even take a corresponding hit, with all of this new development,” he said.
Historically, growth in this part of the county has outpaced Pasco’s overall growth, Liff said.
Going forward, the assumption is that the study area will capture at least “its fair share of the county’s population growth,” the consultant added.
“If the MAB captures just its fair share, it’s growing at 100 to 150 units per year of multifamily, which is directly in line with historical trends.
“Then, if you shift to the upper, then you’ve got demand of 130 to 200 multifamily units per year, which, as you recall, is well below even what’s under construction today.
“The supply is outpacing demand right now,” Liff said.
“The bottom line is that there are about 3,400, 3,450 total entitlements remaining in the MAB,” Liff said, citing the findings of CGA, working in concert with county staff.
It is unknown, however, whether those units will be built as single-family residents or multifamily.
Moore questioned the accuracy of figures in the report.
He also pointed to a new application that came in, which was too late to be considered for the study, but which calls for 370 units.
The bottom line is that the area has enough multifamily units coming on line to meet the demand for 10 years, Moore said.
Commission Chairwoman Kathryn Starkey noted that the number of entitlements doesn’t necessarily reflect what will actually be built.
She said it’s common for developers to build fewer units than their entitlements would allow.
County Administrator Dan Biles agreed. He said this particular market study was a “paper exercise” based on data, not an examination of actual conditions on the ground.
Sometimes an area that has entitlements is not able to get the yield allowed because of environmentally sensitive lands or other constraints.
Moore reiterated concerns he has repeatedly expressed about allowing too much land to be converted from employment-generating uses, such as office, retail or industrial to multifamily.
He said that concern was underscored during a presentation made by the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Commission, which was commissioned by the county to take a look at the county’s allocation for industrial sites and employment centers.
In essence, that report found that, in general, the county’s sites are too small for those purposes, and too scattered.
Research from both studies is expected to be useful, as the county updates its comprehensive plan, known as Pasco 2050.
Multifamily market study
Pasco County hired consultants to research multifamily market conditions in a moratorium area that includes parts of Land O’ Lakes, Wesley Chapel and Lutz. Pasco paused new applications on multifamily development in that area for a year.
Key findings from that study include:
- There does not appear to be an oversaturation of entitlements for multifamily units; that’s particularly true, as viewed from a five-year to seven-year planning horizon.
- The multifamily market within the moratorium area boundary (MAB) currently is reporting more than 97% occupancy. Monthly rental rates have increased more than 17 % during the past 12 months.
- Based upon historical and projected population/household and multifamily development trends, and solely from a market-driven perspective, multifamily demand within the moratorium area is forecast to total in the range of a minimum 1,300 to 1,700 units over the next 10 years.
- There is an estimated 3,459 total residential units entitled/not built (including both single-family and multifamily housing). It is not possible to determine whether those units would be single family or multifamily. However, it is estimated that there are roughly 1,200 to 1,500 multifamily units entitled/not built, within the moratorium area.
- The estimated development potential represents a six-year to 10-year absorption rate, however county staff has indicated that it may not be possible to reach the full development based on actual conditions on the ground. Therefore, the absorption timeline might be shorter.
Source: Executive summary of Pasco County Housing Entitlement & Housing Study, conducted by Lambert Advisory and its subconsultant Calvin, Giordano & Associates.
Published May 18, 2022