October 7, 2009

That's a serious drop from April, which is when this video said we were at a mere five-year high. If you're apartment-hunting, time to renegotiate the rent.

This is right in line with my own economic indicators, which are based on Craigslist. I've noticed that nice apartments that used to go within a day or two now linger for weeks as landlords keep dropping the asking prices. (Also, people are selling fine guitars at deep discounts. Just in case through some miracle, you can actually afford one.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. apartment vacancies rose to 7.8 percent in the third quarter, the highest since 1986, as rising unemployment reduced rental demand, Reis Inc. said.

Actual rents paid by tenants, known as effective rents, declined 2.7 percent from a year earlier, the New York-based property research firm said in a report today. Asking rents, or what landlords sought, fell 1.8 percent from a year earlier.

Job losses and falling wages are shrinking the pool of potential tenants. The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in August, the highest since 1983, the Labor Department said Oct. 2.

Vacancies “continued to rise despite what has traditionally been a strong leasing period for apartment properties,” Victor Calanog, director of research at Reis, said in a statement. “Given the inherent seasonality of rental and lease-up patterns we expect fourth-quarter figures to be even weaker, implying that we may break historic vacancy levels by year-end 2009.”

The apartment vacancy rate was 7.7 percent in the second quarter and 6.2 percent in 2008’s third quarter, Reis said. Compared with the second quarter, asking rents fell 0.5 percent and effective rents fell 0.3 percent.

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