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CHICAGO-Equity Residential Properties Trust expects its multifamily rental properties in its markets to experience higher vacancies, increased property taxes and lower or flat rent increases in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the US. As a result, the nation’s largest multifamily REIT warns its fourth-quarter and 2002 earnings will be lower than expected.

How much lower, the company says, will become clearer next month during its third-quarter conference call.

“There is no road map for the environment in which we are currently operating,” says Equity Residential President and CEO Douglas Crocker. “It will take time to determine what the effects of the September 11th tragedy will have on the nation, our industry and our company. However, we will produce positive operating results this year and are confident that we will produce positive operating results next year, but are uncertain at this time what the range of these results will be.”

Equity Residential stock was down 3.37% to $56.24 on the announcement.

Analysts had expected Equity Residential to show earnings of $1.38 per share in the fourth quarter and $5.72 per share in 2002.

The REIT had projected vacancies of 5% to 6% in 2002, revenue increases of 3.5% to 4% while keeping increases in expenses at 2.5% to 3%. That was expected to result in net operating income increasing 4% to 4.25%.

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