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Sperry Van Ness releases 'top 10 markets to watch' report.

While most brokerage firms place heavy emphasis on cap rates and prices when reviewing market activity, Sperry Van Ness' 2006 "Top 10 Markets To Watch" report for the apartment sector focuses on future trends and the markets that show the greatest potential for income growth based on economic indicators, rather than historic market data, as a better indication of future performance.

Sperry Van Ness ranks Southern California's Riverside/San Bernardino counties (Inland Empire) as the No. 1 multifamily housing investment market to watch. This is because of expected growth of 40,500 new jobs and 130,000 new residents over the next 12 months. Additionally, with local single-family home prices continuing to climb, this is equally good news for Inland Empire apartment owners, as the available renter pool is expected to continue to expand for several years. Furthermore, with a relatively low inventory per capita--just 0.25 units per person--and reserved multifamily development when compared to other high-growth markets, vacancy is expected to improve 20 basis points over the next 12 months, to 4.2 percent.

Orange County, Calif., is No. 2, highlighted by the fact that vacancy is expected to fall 20 basis points over the next 12 months to a Top 10 low of 3.2 percent. This is because single-family home prices are well beyond the means of most Orange County residents, so many households--new and existing--become renters by necessity. Additionally, employers in Orange County are expected to add more than 22,000 positions over the next 12 months, a solid 1.5 percent increase.

No. 3 is Las Vegas, with 57,000 new residents (a 3.2 percent increase) and 36,000 new jobs (a nation-leading 3.8 percent increase) over the next 12 months. Local home affordability is also a factor that fuels the apartment market because the median home price of $280,000 is out of reach for many in this service-oriented job market.

Orlando is No. 4 with 35,000 new jobs and 62,000 new residents expected in the next year. Vacancy has improved more than 300 basis points over the past few years and, despite the addition of nearly 2,000 units in the next year, is expected to improve another 10 basis points. This will enable Orlando apartment owners to continue to slash concessions, with effective rents climbing a strong 5.3 percent to $859 per month.

No. 5 is San Jose, which continues to see the 18- to 34-year-old portion of the populace expanding, accounting for more than 16 percent of the area's total residents, the second most in this age cohort in the report. Additionally, vacancy in San Jose is expected to improve 30 basis points to 3.7 percent over the next 12 months. This will enable owners to continue trimming concessions and boosting asking rents.

Spots 6 through 10 are: San Francisco; Washington, D.C., metro area; Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Tucson, Ariz. Each of these markets is expected to see strong population and rental growth in the next year.

Sperry Van Ness analyzed more than 100 primary, secondary and tertiary markets, examining economic factors that impact future multifamily investment real estate. The market rankings in this report were focused on dynamics including population growth, home affordability, vacancy factors and rental trends. Capitalization rates and price per square foot for property transactions valued at more than $1 million were also factored in, but to a lesser degree. To view the entire report, visit SVNTopTenMarketsMultifamily.pdf
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Date:Oct 1, 2006
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