Coronavirus: How It’s Impacting the Multi-Family Housing Industry Across the Country and What Property Managers Need to Know

March 06 2020 – Natalie Harvey

apartment building facade

Coronavirus Disease 2019/2020 (COVID-19)

There is no shortage of information available about the now notorious coronavirus. From social media posts to almost constant news stories, it seems like everyone is talking about it — and how it will impact nearly every facet of our lives. Of course, a lot of what’s being shared are just assumptions, people and experts from every field conjecturing as to what might happen, while no one really knows exactly what’s going to happen in the coming weeks and months.

There is another way, however, to look at the impact of coronavirus: Observing what’s actually happening.

Because we’re focused on helping people take care of their homes and properties, including working closely with a lot of property managers and multi-family housing businesses, our immediate attention has gone to looking at what’s going on in the housing world.

How is coronavirus impacting multi-housing across the country — and around the world?

new york city cross walk apartment buildings

Based on what we’re currently seeing, there are two major impacts happening because of the spread of coronavirus:

  1. Supply chains are being stalled and interrupted for new construction
  2. Residents of high-density multi-housing are dealing with the reality of the virus spreading more rapidly

Here’s a closer look at both of those current issues…

Coronavirus causing problems with global supply chains

Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how interconnected everything in our global economy really is. But, when something causes an interruption in that chain, all of a sudden we remember. The coronavirus is having a major impact on the economy because it is breaking, or at least delaying, a huge percentage of global supply chains.  In a recent statement from the CBRE Greater China, “The size of China’s economy makes it inevitable that a short-term slowdown will drag on global economic growth, with Asian countries and major trading partners likely to be most affected”.

building under construction

In terms of real estate, especially new construction where product supply literally dictates growth, these supply chain interruptions can (and are) causing major economic slowdowns. Huge projects are having to hit pause as they wait for pertinent supplies to be delivered — and not just from Asian countries. Many European countries (like Italy) are also shutting down because of the coronavirus, leaving many new construction businesses waiting in line, hoping these closures will pass quickly.

Coronavirus spreading through high-density areas more quickly

For residents of high-density multi-housing developments, the coronavirus poses even more of a potential threat. While entire countries (like India, which has a highly dense population) are now on high alert because of the coronavirus outbreak, multi-housing complexes are also taking precautions for the exact same reasons. Because coronavirus spreads quickly and easily from person to person, the more exposure you have with other people, the more at risk you are.

 high density apartment

In order to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus, multi-family housing buildings can look at taking several precautions, including “increasing ventilation and filtration rates above industry minimums” and using “portable air purifiers to supplement building systems”. According to one study, these specific precautions can

Property and Apartment Managers, as well as maintenance teams, should educate themselves on the Center for Disease Control guidelines to aid in preparedness and to help halt the dissemination of false information in the community.

Regularly cleaning surfaces is also helpful, and not just in individual homes. Owners and managers of multi-family housing buildings, maintenance teams, and HOAs and Condo Associations should be going above and beyond to help clean and sanitize shared surfaces, like in lobbies and elevators.  The elderly are especially at risk.

gym disinfectant


With the close quarters of a cruise ship traveling from Hawaii to California now reported to have at least

(one of them being fatal), it’s wise for everyone to start taking necessary precautions to help minimize the impact. While the impact coronavirus is having on the housing market and individuals living in multi-family housing units is undeniable, the reality is that it is (and will) continue to impact individuals around the world for weeks to come. CDC is responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak.  

spores microscope

For the most up-to-date information on the Coronavirus situation visit