BEVERLY HILLS, CA-Experts see some mixed multifaminly signals nationwide, but the Southern California apartment market is holding a steady course and continues to benefit from strong fundamentals, according to speakers at “Apartments 2004,” the all-dayconfernce, forecast and networking event presented Tuesday by the Beverly Hills-based Real Estate Conference Group. The event drew 1,400 registrants and participants to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, reports Martin S. Stolzoff, conference chairman and partner at the Real Estate Conference Group. Throughout the day, experts involved in virtually every facet of the apartment market examined the impact of interest rates, employment, homepurchases, rents, occupancy, values and hot markets. While a number of speakers expressed some serious concerns about a number of multifamily markets around the country, Southern California’s apartment market continued to receive positive reviews and an optimistic outlook. Investors here continue to benefit from a lack of supply of new apartments, population growth that boostsdemand for housing, and rising single-family home prices that prevent many renters from buying homes, speakers said throughout the day. Southern California’s multifamily market also illustrates some of the industry’s strongest trends, according to Sanford Goodkin, chairman andd CEO of Sanford R. Goodkin & Associates and one of Tuesday’s panelists. Goodkin cited the redevelopment of urbanbuildings into apartments, which he called a “new frontier for development.” He also pointed out the intense investor interest in converting apartments to condominiums, a trend that is most visible in San Diego County but is strong in other Southland markets aswell. Panelist Michael Gillmore, a partner with Ernst & Young, noted that most institional investors used to take the approach that “if we’re in all the markets, we’ll be protected,” but those same investors are now tending to favor the stronger markets because of theirconcerns about rising expenses and flat or declining rent rolls in weaker markets. In markets other than Southern California, according to partner Steven Nelson of Hendricks & Partners, concern is growing over rising vacancies and rising expenses that combine to produce flat or declining revenue streams for some properties. On the other hand, Nelson pointed out, construction of new units has cooled in most weaker markets, reducing the prospect of a glut of product.The event was co-sponsored by Real Estate Media Inc., and Real Estate Southern California magazine. Among Tuesday’s participants were Jonathan A. Schein, president and CEO of Real Estate Media Inc., and Michael G. Desiato, the company’s editor-in-chief. Schein moderated a morning panel of economists that generally expressed a positive outlook for the Southern California apartment market, with several commenting that they expect economic conditions to improve after the November presidential election. Desiato served as moderator for the real estate advisers panel, which included Goodkin, Gillmore and others who singled out Southern California’s apartment market as one of the strongest in the country but expressed concerns about a number of markets elsewhere.

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