Nationwide, apartment rents down, vacancies up to record levels

Apartment rents saw their largest drop in 30 years and vacancies across the country rose to 8 percent in the fourth quarter, according to research firm Reis, putting vacancies at a record-high that analysts say is tied directly to unemployment. Vacancies rose from 3.9 percent in the third quarter, and many believe that is likely because apartment renters tend to be young adults more likely to move in with their families or friends when their jobs are cut. In an attempt to hang on to their tenants, landlords have been offering concessions in addition to cutting rents. Asking rents dropped to $1,026 in the fourth quarter, a 2.3 percent drop from a year earlier, while effective rents dropped 3 percent to $964. In New York City, vacancies fell slightly — from 3 percent in the third quarter to 2.9 percent in the fourth — but effective rents slid 0.7 percent. Over the course of the year, the city’s rents saw a 5.6 percent drop, the largest since Reis began tracking the data in 1980. [WSJ] and [Bloomberg]

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