ORLANDO-After two years of substantial decline, the apartment market in Central Florida is expected to rebound this year as job growth returns in the latter half. The supply of units should also be absorbed as construction slows, while the pace of investment in multifamily properties begins to pick up again.

Although average occupancy in the Orlando metropolitan area remains just above 90%, average rents are forecast to fall to as low as $800 per month after sliding at least 3% over the past year, according to various brokerage research reports. Offers on new leases, such as one to two months free rent, are commonplace among the 185,000 apartments in local inventory.

“It’s still a very competitive leasing environment,” Shelton Granade, senior vice president with CB Richard Ellis in Orlando, tells GlobeSt.com. Concessions remain prevalent in most submarkets, though they declined through the latter half of 2009, he says.

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