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SEATTLE-After five consecutive quarters of falling occupancy, vacancy levels stood pat in the second quarter of the year, according to a just-released report by RealFacts, a multifamily data firm.

The 92.3% average occupancy rate at the end of the June was a miniscule 0.1% reduction from the end of March, according to the report, which surveyed 396 complexes in the region holding a combined 86,700 units.

In 1999 and 2000, the market absorbed nearly 4,000 new units while occupancy rose from 95.8% to 96.2%. In 2001, about 2,000 new units were developed but absorption was a negative 483 units, dropping occupancy to 93.5%.

Average rent at the 396 large apartment complexes that were surveyed in June was $863, just a dollar less than was found in March and only three dollars more than the average a year ago. “That in itself is a positive given the continued high unemployment in the area,” according to the survey.

In the investment market, there have been some eye-catching sales so far this year, according to the report. Sterling Heights, in Bellevue, sold for $117,241 per unit and Lionsgate Townhomes, in Redmond, for $154,250 per unit.

For the most part, however, “there is nothing for sale,” according to a recent Hendricks & Partners report. Adds Gregory Wendelken of Marcus & Millichap “Buyer and seller expectations are definitely widening–there’s really no news in the marketplace that gives anybody the feeling that there is anything giving a boost to population or employment growth. Until you get that, you’re not going to get increases in rent and, therefore, increases in the value of property.”

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