For the fourth quarter in a row, senior apartment executives report improvements in four key apartment market indicators – occupancy rates, sales volume and debt and equity availability – according to the National Multi Housing Council’s July 2005 Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions.

“With a record two-thirds of respondents noting tighter market conditions, I think it’s time to say that the apartment market has completed its recovery,” said NMHC Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky. “That’s a significant achievement in the face of two powerful headwinds: the surge in home ownership and the most sluggish job market recovery on record.”

The Market Tightness Index, which measures changes in vacancy rates and rents, rose to a record-level high of 80 in July. This is the eighth consecutive quarter that respondents have reported lower vacancy rates and/or higher rents over the last 90 days.

Already high investor demand for apartments remains unabated. A record 41 percent of respondents noted higher sales volume in their markets over the past 90 days, while a near-record-low 9 percent indicated lower volume in their markets. As a result, the Sales Volume Index rose to 66, also a record high, and the ninth straight quarter of increasing sales volume.

The Equity Financing Index came in at 61, a little below the levels recorded in the previous two quarters, but still an indication of improving availability of equity financing. Almost two-thirds of respondents indicated that conditions were unchanged, but 23 percent saw conditions improve, while only 1 percent thought conditions had worsened.

* The Debt Financing Index was little changed at 53. This is the fourth straight quarter of improving conditions (lower rates, greater availability, or both) for mortgage finance. Sixty percent felt that conditions had not changed from three months earlier; a good sign given the already-favorable conditions in the mortgage finance markets.

The survey’s four indexes measure changes in market conditions between April and July. A score above 50 means more respondents saw improving conditions than saw worsening conditions over the past three months. In addition to showing improvements every quarter for the last four quarters, this is only the fifth time in the survey’s six-year history that all four indexes showed improving conditions.

The July 2005 Quarterly Survey was conducted July 18-25, 2005. Eighty-eight CEOs and other senior executives of apartment-related firms nationwide who serve on NMHC’s Board of Directors or Advisory Committee responded. Full survey results are posted at www.nmhc.org/Content/ServeContent.cfm?ContentItemID=3506.

Washington, D.C.-based NMHC is a national association representing the interests of the larger and most prominent apartment firms in the United States.

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