Reuters today reported that the U.S. apartment vacancy rate rose to an almost 30-year high of 8 percent in the fourth quarter, and rents dropped in the biggest one-year slump in 2009, according to real estate research company Reis Inc.
The report reflects the job market, which has not followed positive economic indicators such as the stock market rebound. Large apartment landlords such as Equity Residential, AvalonBay Communities Inc., Essex Property Trust Inc., UDR Inc. and Post Properties Inc. have resorted to reducing rents and offering perks to retain and attract tenants.
Several indicators, however, offer the promise of an improved 2010 market:
Asking rents, however, are still in dismal shape. In the fourth quarter, U.S. asking rents fell by an average of 0.7 percent to $1,026 per square foot, the largest single-quarter decline since 1999. For 2009 asking rents fell 2.3 percent, also the largest decline in 30 years.