Apartments Are A Hot Housing Choice, According to Survey

The multifamily market should have a strong year in 2009, according to a new National Apartment Association survey.

The survey–conducted by market researcher Harris Interactive–found:

  • 69 percent of renters plan to stay renters for up to five more years.
  • 50 percent of the renters surveyed plan to continue living in their current residence for the next year.
  • An additional 46 percent of renters have no plans to buy a residence within the next year.

Why?

The survey also found that consumer confidence in the U.S. housing market is low; 80 percent of U.S. adults think the market won’t improve in the next six months.

The result: Apartment occupancy is currently at a record high, according to the NAA.

"The results of this survey reflect what our membership is experiencing across the country," National Apartment Association (NAA) President Douglas Culkin said in a statement. "Renters are not eager to take a chance on homeownership this year. If the economy improves, that trend may abate, but, for now, people are generally staying put."

Because occupancy rates are so high, we’re at an all-time record for the number of rental units in the U.S. About 34.7 million units–enough for 83 million people–now exist, the NAA says.

But we’re clearly going to need more.

Even if those renters who said they were going to stay put do stay in their units, we’re adding a large number of new renters to the market via foreclosures.

As rates on adjustable mortgages reset, foreclosure filings swelled by 65 percent in April and bank confiscations more than doubled compared to 2007, Radar Logic Inc. said Monday, according to Bloomberg.

And they’re going to need to rent because with today’s tight credit conditions, it’s unlikely those former homeowners–with a giant foreclosure now part of their financial history–will be able to get financing to buy a new home.

So start building–because 2009 looks like it’s going to be a big year for rental units …

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