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Stephanie Nickell

Renters snatch up new apartments in 2012

There was a 39.3% increase in the number of unfurnished apartments constructed in 2012, compared with the prior year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
     If you build it, they will come. The more apartments that are built, the more renters are flocking to fill these smaller spaces; from young singles to empty-nest retirees.
     In the Northeast, 90% of apartments built in 2012 were rented within three months; compared with 64% in the South, 61% in the West and 60% in the Midwest.
     Newly constructed, two-bedroom apartments were the most popular in 2012, accounting for 45.4% of all apartments rented; coming in a close second were one-bedrooms with 37.9% of the market share.
     By rental rate in 2012, 32.3% of new apartments were rented for $1,350 or more a month; while 31.5% of apartments rented for $950 or less.
     Apartment renters like home buyers need furniture. Last year, 12% of furniture and bedding buyers lived in an apartment, according to Furniture/Today's 2013 Consumer Buying Trends Survey.
     In July, Furniture/Today reviewed the consumer wish lists through Furnituredealer. net's website network and found that furniture shoppers are seeking smaller sofas. For the first six months of 2013, the average sofa width was 78.1", compared with a desired width of 85.6" for the same time period in 2010.
     Consumers also want smaller recliners. During the first six months of 2010 consumers were seeking recliners with a 38.8" width, 41.2" height and a 39.2" depth. For the first six months of 2013 consumers wanted recliners that were 35.3" in width, 37.9" in height and 36.2" in depth.

Apartments attract higher-income renters

The percentage of apartment renters with household incomes of $75,000 or more has jumped to 41.2%, up 15 percentage points from two years ago, when 26.2% of renters were in the high-income bracket, according to Kingsley Associates.
     Singles living alone have traditionally accounted for the largest share of apartment renters; however, that group has been steadily losing market share over the last three years. Between 2010 and 2013, singles living alone had the greatest decrease in share of renters from 45.7% to 40.2%.
     The highest increase in share of renters belongs to those living with a spouse or partner; in 2010, renters with a spouse or partner accounted for 21.7% and in 2012 that number expanded to 25.8%. With two incomes this could explain the increase in annual household income of renters.

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