Vacancy Rate Hits 23-Year High as Renters Fade

So now's the time to get that place in NYC
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2009 9:50 AM CDT
Vacancy Rate Hits 23-Year High as Renters Fade
A foreclosed low-rise apartment complex is seen in Detroit on Friday, Nov. 14, 2008.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(Newser) – Apartment vacancies have hit a 23-year high, as rampant unemployment continues to drive down demand, according to a New York real-estate research firm. That’s brought rents down an average 2.7% compared to last year—and the 7.8% vacancy rate is expected to climb. “The experience was night-and-day different” from years past, says one New York City renter, whose new landlord tossed in a free first month. “Renters are the ones with the power.”

Usually the second and third quarters are renters’ strongest months, but this year “vacancies just continued rising,” a researcher said. Unemployment, which is closely tied to rent, stands at 9.8%, but it’s even worse among those under 35, who are more likely to rent. The effect was particularly pronounced in places like Tacoma, San Jose, and Raleigh. (Read more renters stories.)

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