CHICAGO-With the apartment market being the one skyrocketingsuccess story in commercial real estate right now, even the 50-unitor less property owners and managers are reporting gains. Comparedto last year, a survey by the locally-based credit companyTransUnion showed that these properties have had steady residentinterest and stable or increased rents.

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TransUnion finished its survey with thousands of users of itsSmartMove rental screening service in Q3 2010, with a focus onthose who run rental properties of 50 units or less. The 476responders said this year is better than 2009, both in terms ofoccupancy and rents.

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According to the survey, 70% of property managers said they arecompletely occupied, compared to last year’s survey showing 60%reporting full occupancy. Also, this year more than 76% of theresponders said their rents have either held steady with last yearor increased.

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“There has been a positive change in the rental market in thepast year as rental prices appear to have stabilized and propertymanagers are locating more reliable tenants,” says Mike Mauseth, VPof the company’s rental screening unit. However, he said surveyresponders still feel the job market needs to improve to help boostthe economy, and ease potential tenant risks.

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He says that with the continued elevated credit risk forAmerican consumers, it’s not surprising that 67% of the surveyresponders said they are concerned about attracting profitable andreliable tenants. Finding strong tenants has been an increasinglyimportant factor to owners and managers since the recession, asmany homeowners reeling from foreclosure jump into renting, pushingmore of a look-away attitude on credit issues. “I think owners arestill weeding out the real credit risks, but those withforeclosures may be getting a pass. In these unique economic times,some owners feel it’s unfair to ding a tenant for a recentforeclosure,” Mauseth tells GlobeSt.com.

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