Absorption Rate Up Slightly for Apartments in Second Quarter

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New data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Market Absorption (SOMA) show that the absorption rate of unfurnished, unsubsidized apartments (the share rented out in the first three months following completion) rose two percentage points to 58 percent in the second quarter of 2019 (from the second quarter of 2018) (Figure 1).

The number of apartments completed in the second quarter of 2019 totaled to 61,700, a drop from the amount completed in the second quarter of 2018 (78,610). The median asking rent price for apartments completed in the second quarter of 2019 was $1,659, about 3 percent higher than the median asking price of $1,612 in the second quarter of 2018.

The SOMA also has data on condominium completions and absorption rates (Figure 2). Condominium completions were slightly higher in the second quarter of 2019 (8,820) than they were in the second quarter of 2018 (7,996). But the absorption rate fell sharply by eight points, from 63 percent in the second quarter of 2018 to 55 percent in the second quarter of 2019.

The median asking sales price of condominiums was unavailable in the SOMA in the second quarter of 2019, but about 28 percent had an asking sales prices of $1.5 million or more. The median asking sales price was $617,000 in the first quarter of 2019.

After slight weakness in previous quarters, the latest SOMA data show a slight uptick in demand for apartments in the mid-2019. Condominium completions have generally been trending upwards, but the lower absorption rate for completions in the second quarter may point to some weakness in that market.



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