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Condo, rental market seen improving

After several quarters of deteriorating market conditions, the outlook for the nation's condominium and rental market is improving, the National Association of Home Builders reported.

Developers of multifamily housing say they're far more optimistic that demand for apartments will improve over the next six months, and the monthly gauge of builder sentiment jumped up almost eight points for market-rate apartments in August, and by six points for affordable apartments.

"The rental apartment business has felt the impact of both the 'jobless recovery' that has slowed household formation, and strong home sales driven by extraordinarily low interest rates," said Ron Terwilliger, chairman of the home builders' Multifamily Leadership Board. "Despite the current slow demand, however, multifamily properties continue to provide acceptable returns relative to other real estate investments, and we expect to see healthier conditions returning by the latter half of 2004."

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