ATLANTA-Local apartment development has slowed to less than half the average number of units built each year of the last decade. Yet the same economic slowdown that leads to less construction should also keep occupancy levels within the 90% range through the remainder of this year, according to a research report by Marcus & Millichap.

“A slowdown in development activity and ongoing weakness in the housing market will partially offset softer employment growth in the near term, resulting in only a modest uptick in vacancy,” says John Leonard, regional manager of Marcus & Millichap’s Atlanta office. He notes that increased foreclosures and tighter lending restrictions may keep potential homeowners in the renter pool for a while longer.

Approximately 3,400 new rental units are forecast to be built within the Atlanta market this year, down from 4,200 in 2007, Marcus & Millichap stated in its recently released second-quarter report. Atlanta had been the nation’s leading market for new apartment construction, averaging 7,800 units annually over the past ten years.

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