(Read more on the multifamily market.)

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DALLAS-Delivering year-end numbers this week as promised, M/PFYieldStar's analysis has revealed multifamily rents climbed 4% forthe year, the first time in nearly seven years that it surpassedthe general consumer price inflation. Meanwhile, occupancy has hitits highest point since 2000, ringing up 94.1% across the metroplexas the curtain fell on '07.

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"It's a nice solid performance," Greg Willett, vice president ofthe Carrollton-based research firm, tells GlobeSt.com. "I amsurprised to see it that positive. It has surpassed myexpectations." In November, the research firm had told conferencegoers that the year would end on a positive note. The reality is itended on a high note, he says.

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Willett says rents climbed in all 45 neighborhoods that the firmtracks. December ended with the average monthly rent at $741 inDallas/Fort Worth.

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M/PF's forecast is still being polished, but Willett predicts2008 will continue to be robust despite 13,913 ofunder-construction units, of which 11,000 will deliver this year.Unlike 2007, Willett says this year's teardowns will amount toroughly 4,000 units, which should keep the existing 541,000-unitinventory in balance and not produce a repeat performance ofminimal inventorygrowth. "So, you'll still be talking about an absorbablenumber," he says about the 2008 pipeline.

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In M/PF's 57-metro territory, Dallas/Fort Worth's pipeline issecond only to Houston, which has 15,123 units under construction.In the Dallas urban core, there are 3,142 units under construction,the largest block in North Texas. Addison and the Fossil Creek areaof North Fort Worth are next in line, with at least 1,000 moreapartments planned for each submarket this year.

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In another show of market strength, the traditional slowdown inthe fourth quarter didn't materialize this year despite 1,795 unitsdelivering in the past three months. Willett says there were 1,000units absorbed in Q4 and 8,250 units for the year, driving 2007'soverall occupancy up 1.3%.

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Willett says sidelined first-time homebuyers accounted for thebarometric change in Q4. And, he assesses, the caveat for aparticularly robust 2008 hinges on when, not if, lenders relaxrequirements for first-time homebuyers.

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