Apartment sector thrives amid single-family downturn

Report: Investors see strong returns as number of renters is expected to grow

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In stark contrast to the single-family residential sector, which is suffering from its worst downturn since the Great Depression and a 10-month backlog of supply, conditions in the apartment sector remains strong, according to the National Multi Housing Council's latest Market Trends report. "Apartment owners exercised great restraint during the housing boom," NMHC Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky said in a prepared statement. "As a result, they have escaped the oversupply problems plaguing the single-family sector." Last year, the number of renters in professionally managed apartments increased by the largest amount since 2000, according to the report. In fact, the increase was as large as that for the previous five years combined. Prior to that, between 2004 and 2006, 1.2 million households joined the ranks of renters, more than making up for the loss in renter households sustained from 2002 to 2004. "While the so-called 'shadow' rental market (un...