Vacancies fall in U.S. apartment market

January 06, 2011 09:14AM

Vacancies declined in the nation’s apartment market in the fourth quarter, falling below 7 percent for the first time in two years, according to data released by Reis. The national apartment vacancy rate was 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter, down from 7.1 percent in the third quarter and 8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. The strong demand pushed the average national rent up for the fourth quarter in a row, a change from the concessions landlords were offering during the downturn. “People feel like the worst of times are behind them,” Ryan Severino, a Reis economist, told the Wall Street Journal. “Their prospects are going to improve.” Marcus & Millichap also predicted that the sector would see a recovery, with this year marking the first across-the-board reduction in vacancy since at least 1990, according to Hessam Nadji, managing director. The improving occupancy rates also reflected the slowing pace of new development. Only 12,000 new units were completed in the fourth quarter, the lowest quarterly number in a decade, Reis said. [WSJ]