Layoffs bad news for apartment rentals

A New York apartment building

TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: Later this morning, the government reports on vacancy rates for houses and apartments. Marketplace's Renita Jablonski tells us if you're in the apartment business, layoffs are the last thing you want to see.


Renita Jablonski: Mark Obrinsky says unemployment reports are haunting building owners more than anything.

Mark Obrinsky: We've had some nine straight months of job losses, and that's really started to cut into demand for rental units.

Obrinsky is vice president and chief economist at the National Multi-Housing Council. It represents some of the biggest apartment firms in the country. He says as the job market gets tougher, he expects rental vacancies, which have hovered around 10 percent this year, to increase.

Obrinsky: People go back home to live with mom and dad or they take on a roommate or become somebody's roommate, and that reduces demand across the spectrum.

Mark Verge works with landlords of properties big and small in southern California. He's president of Westside Rentals, and says now is the time for renters to get savvy.

Mark Verge: With owners, when they get desperate they're willing to work better deals.

Verge says he's seeing more desperation than he has in 13 years.

In Los Angeles, I'm Renita Jablonski for Marketplace.

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