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April Market Update


Steve Cain, Director – Writer/Editor

Now that our long, cold winter is almost completely behind us, RPBG members are suddenly very busy with all the leasing activity that had been on semi-permanent hold during the deep-freeze.

Steve Cain

This is not to suggest that our members don’t usually see an increase in leasing activity in the spring. They do. But this year, it just seemed to take a little longer to get going. Once it did, there seemed to be more of a sense of urgency as prospective renters tried to make up for lost time.
Not that anyone is complaining. After a season full of busting water pipes and sky-high utility bills, it feels good to see robust leasing activity and rising occupancies. This bodes well for our members and for the apartment market generally.
This leasing activity can also be seen as an indication of a larger trend, and one I’ve been writing about for a while now – the general economic recovery. For evidence of this, the equities markets are a good place to start. Once again, the Dow Jones is close to record levels, closing well above 16,500 on April 1st.
Employment continues to climb. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded 175,000 new jobs in February. While the March BLS figures have not yet been released, there are indications from other sources that job growth is continuing its remarkable string of gains. ADP, a payroll processing firm, estimates that almost 200,000 new jobs were added in March and that February totals might be revised upward by almost 40,000 more.
The housing market is another bright spot. Although price increases have slowed a bit from their rapid pace during 2013, prices are still rising overall. CoreLogic, a well-regarded housing analytics company, reports that the U.S. has now seen twenty-four consecutive months of year-over-year price appreciation, including a 12.2% gain from February 2013 to February 2014.
This is not to say that everything is clear sailing. International tensions are definitely up with the “annexation” of Crimea into Russia. Strife in the Middle East is old news. In the U.S., political jockeying only seems to increase in Washington as the mid-term elections in November get closer. Incredibly, none of these issues, alone or in concert, seems to be enough to derail the economic recovery.
This is all the more impressive given the fear just a few months ago that the economy was at risk of stalling out yet again. This fear has now pretty much been laid to rest – blamed on bad weather that is already fading from memory.
Well, things always feel better when winter is over. This year, the improving economy is just one more reason to feel good as we transition from the cold dark days of winter to the coming sun and warmth of summer.
I guess I’d better cut this short so you can all get back to work leasing up those apartments. Make hay while the sun shines, as the saying goes. There certainly seem to be plenty of well-qualified tenants out looking right now.


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