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MIAMI-Demand for multifamily properties is expected to rise in 2008, especially in coastal areas with high barriers to entry, according to a February multifamily report issued by Atlanta-based Apartment Realty Advisors.

The positive demographic trends of population and job growth are expected to continue throughout the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 66,708 jobs added in Florida during 2007, which reflected a 0.8% increase over the previous year. The state’s unemployment rate is 4.7%, which is below the national average. The state is expected to add another 1.4 million jobs by 2015, the report states.

The demand for apartments is also being fueled by the lack of affordable for-sale housing and the continued fallout of the subprime market which has made obtaining financing more difficult, according to the report.

The report states that occupancy levels in most areas of Florida are in the low- to mid-90% range, although rent growth is expected to slow due to the number of investor-owned condominiums that have been placed on the market for rent, the report states.

Although investment sales slowed during 2007 from activity recorded in 2004-2006, the market appeared to show signs of improvement by the end of the year. “While there are still not as many active buyers in the market, continued strong in-migration, a historically low level of construction starts, and improvement in economic fundamentals will result in the likely divestiture of a number of distressed properties this year,” according to the report.

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