The apartment rental sector has fully recovered and is growing, according to the latest findings by the National Association of Realtors®.
Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said new jobs are the key.
Yun expects the economy to add 2 to 2.5 million jobs both this year and in 2013, on the heels of 1.7 million new jobs in 2011, assuming a new federal budget is passed before the end of the year. “Although we need even stronger job growth, by far the greatest impact of job creation is in multifamily housing, where newly formed households striking out on their own have increased demand for apartment rentals — this is the sector with the lowest vacancy rates and strongest rent growth, which is attracting many investors.”
Rising apartment rents also are having a positive impact on home sales because many long-time renters now view homeownership as a better long-term option, Yun noted.
A large problem remains for purchases of commercial property priced under $2.5 million. “Our recent commercial lending survey shows that there is very little capital available for small business, which is significantly impacting commercial real estate transactions, although funding is less restrictive for bigger properties.”
NAR’s latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook offers projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets. Historic data for metro areas were provided by REIS, Inc., a source of commercial real estate performance information.
The NAR’s quarterly commercial real estate forecast predicts that the apartment rental market is likely to see vacancy rates drop from 4.5 percent in the second quarter to 4.3 percent in the second quarter of 2013; apartment vacancy rates below 5 percent generally are considered a landlord’s market with demand justifying higher rents.
Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates currently are New York City, 2.1 percent; Portland, Ore., at 2.3 percent; and Minneapolis at 2.4 percent.
After rising 2.2 percent last year, average apartment rent is expected to increase 4.0 percent in 2012 and another 4.1 percent next year. “Such a rent increase will raise the core consumer inflation rate. The Federal Reserve, in turn, may be forced to raise interest rates, possibly as early as late 2013.”
Multifamily net absorption is forecast at 215,900 units this year and 230,300 in 2013.
The Commercial Real Estate Outlook is published by the NAR Research Division for the commercial community. NAR’s Commercial Division, formed in 1990, provides targeted products and services to meet the needs of the commercial market and constituency within NAR.
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