US Apartment Vacancy Rates Hit a Three-Year High

The vacancy rate for U.S. apartments hit a three-year high in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

The national… rate rose to 7.2% in the first quarter, up 0.60 percentage points from the prior quarter and 1.1% points from a year earlier, according to a report released on Tuesday from RE Research Firm Reis Inc.

Behind the rising vacancy rate is a build-up of available apartments. The number of vacant apartments added was 31,878 units in the first quarter…..the largest amount of excess apartments the sector has seen since the first quarter of 2002…

Meanwhile, asking rents fell by 0.6 percent to $1,046 per month, the largest single-quarter decline since Reis began reporting quarterly performance data in 1999.

Many heads of apartment real estate investment trusts expect that revenue in the best markets could be flat on a year-over-year basis, David Neithercut, CEO of Equity Residential EQR.N, said last month. [via Reuters]

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