Apartment market tightens -- here's why that's bad news for housing

Apartments are the base of the pyramid -- think food chain, from plankton to krill to whales
  • The bottom of the housing food chain is the rental apartment.
  • The entire remainder of the housing market rests on a foundation of apartment conditions.

The quarterly survey of apartment conditions by the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) is flashing a warning — at least amber, and maybe shifting orange toward red. And not just for housing, but the economy itself: The survey pattern looks just like the beginning of the last two recessions.