Can the Apartment Market Sustain its Momentum?

Occupancy is at the highest level in years, but an economic downturn combined with high level of construction might be a threat.

The apartment sector is the strongest it’s been in years, according to industry experts.

“Terrific absorption has pushed occupancy upward to highs for this economic cycle,” say Greg Willett, chief economist for RealPage Inc., a provider of property management software and services.

That might seem strange. The occupancy rate in the U.S. has already been high for a very long time. Economists and apartment experts have been expecting more apartment units to become vacant for years, as more developers open new buildings. But demand from renters remain strong, despite growing worries that the U.S. economy may be weakening.

“You would think that the market would be mature… We’ve had 10 years now of really strong multifamily demand,” says Jeanette Rice, Americas head of multifamily research with real estate services firm CBRE. “It’s still positive as it has been for many years; in some ways, it is more positive.”

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