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PHOENIX-The decline in multifamily occupancy continued during Q2 2008, ending up between 88% and 90%. Adding to the situation are 11,000 units currently under construction.

Greg Willett, vice president of research with MPF/YieldStar in Carrollton, TX says that, while some of the construction was launched before the housing crisis hit, “we had eight properties starting construction just in the past quarter.” As a result, “occupancy is down three points for the market overall in the past year,” he notes, adding that the area should continue to expect more of the same well into 2009.

MPF/YieldStar’s raw data showed a 90% occupancy during Q2 2008, which Willett says is down two basis points from the first quarter, and down three basis points from the same time last year. RealFacts’ Market Overview for Q2 2008 shows overall occupancy at 88.9%, a decrease of 3.4% from the year before. The report posts an inventory of 182,732 units, of all classes, among properties between 100 units and 1,222 units.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the increase in units has meant a net rent loss. Willett tells GlobeSt.com that the first-quarter rent change was a negative 1.4%. The RealFacts report actually shows a very slight increase from the year before of .5%.

Despite the turmoil in the multifamily market, there hasn’t been much uptick in concessions, however. “It doesn’t mean they’re discounting the product, but they’re probably taking the concession from the quoted rates, as opposed to pushing up concessions,” Willett explains.

He points out that 50% of the product on the market has concessions these days, but the figure isn’t out of line. “At the bottom point, in the middle of 2006, it got to be that 25% of the product had concessions,” Willett says. “But in 2004 and 2005, when the market was hot, concessions were at 50% to 50%.”

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