Thursday, July 24, 2014

NMHC Survey: Apartment Market Conditions Tighter in Q2 2014

by Bill McBride on 7/24/2014 03:45:00 PM

From the National Multi Housing Council (NMHC): Apartment Markets Continue Expansion in July NMHC Quarterly Survey

Apartment markets continued to expand in the second quarter of 2014, as growth accelerated in all four indexes in the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions. The market tightness (68), sales volume (56), equity financing (58) and debt financing (68) indexes all improved from the first quarter this year and marked the second quarter in a row with all above the breakeven level of 50.

“Despite concerns in some quarters about the pace of new development, most markets appear to be absorbing new supply with no downward pressure on rents or vacancies,” said NMHC Senior Vice President of Research and Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky. “The improvement in market tightness was particularly noteworthy. Four years into the apartment industry recovery and expansion, the increase in demand continues to outstrip the pickup in new supply.”

The survey also asked about urban vs. suburban development. Four in ten (43 percent) reported an increased share of urban development relative to suburban in the last six months, compared to one quarter (27 percent) reporting an increased share of suburban development. Of the suburban development taking place, more than half (54 percent) reported more town center-style developments, with 39 percent reporting no appreciable change and 7 percent reporting more garden-style developments. [These results exclude “Don’t know/not applicable.”]

“Early in the recovery, apartment development was concentrated in downtown areas of large cities. While such areas continue to attract investment, new construction is expanding more broadly into suburbs as well. But developers are bringing urban style to suburban locations, with a heavier emphasis on ‘town center’ communities than we’ve seen in the past,” said Obrinsky.
...
The Market Tightness Index rose from 56 to 68. The percentage of respondents who saw looser conditions continued to decline, down from 20 percent to 15 percent. While this improvement is partly seasonal, the index is higher than the average for the July quarter since the survey began 15 years ago.
emphasis added
Apartment Tightness Index
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the quarterly Apartment Tightness Index. Any reading above 50 indicates tighter conditions from the previous quarter. This indicates tighter market conditions.  

As I've mentioned before, this index helped me call the bottom for effective rents (and the top for the vacancy rate) early in 2010.  The apartment market is still solid right now.

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