Demand for apartment homes remains strong, but the continued credit crunch is causing the volume of property sales to slow sharply and making it more difficult for apartment firms to access the debt and equity markets, according to the National Multi Housing Council's Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions. The Market Tightness Index, which measures changes in occupancy rates and/or rents, rose significantly from 33 in January to 44, as more respondents reported tighter conditions -- and fewer reported looser conditions -- than three months earlier. While this reading is still below 50, it is not much below, and comes on the heels of 16 consecutive quarters of over-50 readings. (For all four 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.) It is also a sign that the "shadow market" of ...
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