The Other Real Estate Bust: Apartment Demand Drops

Job losses and the souring economy at the root of the erosion.


Looks like the home-purchase market isn't the only real estate sector facing dwindling demand. According to the National Multi Housing Council, the apartment market is hurting as well:

The stunning job losses and economic deterioration recorded over the past four months have eroded demand for apartments, putting the sector—like other real estate sectors and the economy itself—in a clearly "down" phase of the cycle, according to the National Multi Housing Council's (NMHC) latest Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions.

"Once again, apartment firms are facing tough market conditions not of their making," noted Mark Obrinsky, NMHC's Chief Economist. "Earlier in the decade the bubble-induced rise in homeownership eroded apartment demand; now the economic and financial collapse caused by the bursting of that bubble is taking a toll…"

Highlights of the Survey Results

The Market Tightness Index, which measures changes in occupancy rates and/or rents, declined sharply this quarter to 11 from 24. This is the third-lowest result on record, and the sixth straight quarter in which the index has been below 50. (For all of the survey indexes, a reading above 50 indicates that, on balance, conditions are improving; a reading below 50 indicates that conditions are worsening; and a reading of 50 indicates that conditions are unchanged.) Fully 81 percent of respondents said markets were looser compared with only four percent who said markets were tighter. Fifteen percent reported unchanged market conditions from the prior quarter.

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