US Apartment Vacancy Expected to Fall to 5 Percent in 2012

According to a report by Marcus & Millichap the vacancy rate for apartments in the US is expected to decline to 5% by the end of 2012:

Hessam Nadji, managing director, research and advisory services at the firm, tells GlobeSt.com that “Demand for rental housing will remain robust in 2012 as strong demographic trends combine with shifting consumer behavior. The total population within the prime 20-34 year old renter cohort has increased dramatically, and will increase by an additional 2 million through 2015,” he says. “As this age cohort continues to face significant hurdles to homeownership and as the tight employment market encourages flexible housing decisions, many of these new households will continue to favor renting.”

In addition, Nadji says, though foreclosure activity has begun to recede from peak levels, homeownership rates have declined dramatically since reaching their 69.2% peak in 2004. “The most recent readings place homeownership at 66.3%, and this sharp decline has significantly added to rental housing demand. As a result, rental housing will remain a favored choice for the coming year.”           

Nadji tells GlobeSt.com that “strong demand trends will continue to pressure rental housing stock, and although many developers have begun to ramp-up construction plans, substantive increases in construction remains one to two years out.” Presently, only 85,000 new apartments are anticipated for 2012, he says, “a significant shortfall from the forecast demand of 120,000 apartments in 2012. This will press vacancies to the 5% range by year-end, the lowest level since 2001, and empower owners to advance effective rents by 4.8%.”