Monday, January 29, 2018

NMHC: Apartment Market Tightness Index remained negative for Ninth Consecutive Quarter

by Bill McBride on 1/29/2018 02:44:00 PM

From the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC): Apartment Markets Remain Soft in the January NMHC Quarterly Survey

Apartment market conditions continued to soften according to results from the January National Multifamily Housing Council’s (NMHC) Quarterly Survey of Apartment Market Conditions. The Market Tightness (36), Sales Volume (40) and Debt Financing (38) Indexes landed below the breakeven level of 50, while the Equity Financing Index increased to 58. In addition, the survey found that half of respondents expect green financing to increase in 2018.

“The latest survey results underscored the prevailing view at our recent Apartment Strategies Conference that we are late in the current cycle,” said NMHC Chief Economist Mark Obrinsky. “While some seasonality comes into play, the Market Tightness Index was a little below its long-term January average, indicating market conditions are slightly weaker than normal. Demand for apartments overall remains strong and equity capital still looks favorably on the apartment sector. However, many owners are satisfied with their holdings and more inclined to stand pat.”

The Market Tightness Index decreased one point to 36 – the ninth consecutive quarter of declining conditions. Just 14 percent reported tighter conditions compared to the previous three months, compared to 42 percent of senior executives who reported looser conditions.
emphasis added
Apartment Tightness Index
Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows the quarterly Apartment Tightness Index. Any reading below 50 indicates looser conditions from the previous quarter. This indicates market conditions were looser over the last quarter.

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.

This is the ninth consecutive quarterly survey indicating looser conditions - it appears supply has caught up with demand - and I expect rent growth to continue to slow.