Despite a positive assessment on the health of the apartment real estate investment trust sector by Wachovia analyst Steven Swett, the AFT Index dropped 2.08% this month and all but one company ended in the red. The index closed at 1,208.70, a decline of 25.62 points. Town and Country Trust was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange on March 31, 2006, after acquisition by a private consortium led by Morgan Stanley Real Estate.

A drop in the trade deficit in February, a jump on positive earnings news, and a March retail sales rally all moderated Wall Street’s foray into negative terrain at the close of our trading session, which ended April 13, 2006. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite was able to post a couple of five-year highs during the month, and ended in the black.

The Commerce Department reported that its trade deficit fell 4.2%, to $65.7 billion, from January’s record $68.7 billion, and the U.S. trade imbalance with China dropped to the lowest level in almost a year. Solid earnings news from Circuit City and Alcoa boosted investors’ moods. “The big picture for the consumer still looks good,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at RBS Greenwich Capital. “The ongoing spike in gasoline prices will probably curtail demand for other goods for a month or two at some point in the spring, but there is still not much evidence that the consumer is on the cusp of slowing down in any meaningful way.”

The one rising star in our index this month, Forest City, gained 1.04 points, or 2.35% after the company reported an increase in net earnings for its fourth quarter, which ended January 31, 2005. Forest City earned $28.2 million, or 27 cents per share, versus net income of $5.8 million, or 6 cents per share in the year-ago period. Forest City attributed the gains to strong results in its land development group and the sale of parcels next to its retail developments. Forest City closed at 45.28, and was the top dollar and percentage gainer this month.

Essex Property Trust reported that its operating partnership, Essex Portfolio, has increased its unsecured line of credit to $200 million from its previous $185 million. Essex said the line of credit will be used to fund acquisitions and development, and for general capital purposes. Essex lost 8.16 points, or 7.44%, and closed at 101.50. Essex was the top dollar loser this session.

Mid-America Apartment Communities shed 5.80 points, or 10.04%, and ended at 51.97. The company reported that it has purchased the 312-unit Silverado apartment complex in Austin, Texas. Silverado was developed in 2003 and is located next to the 90-acre Brushy Creek Lake Park and close to a business park. MAA was our top percentage loser this month.

Apartment Finance Today Index

Price Price Net Percent 52-Week 52-Week
Company (& ticker symbol) 4/13/06 3/15/06 Change Change High Low
Apartment Investment and Management Co. (AIMCO) (AIV) 43.91 46.52 -2.61 -5.61% 48.38 34.93
Archstone-Smith Trust (ASN) 45.09 48.52 -3.43 -7.07% 50.11 34.13
Associated Estates Realty Corp. (AEC) 10.42 11.35 -0.93 -8.19% 11.90 8.52
AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (AVB) 101.25 107.29 -6.04 -5.63% 110.64 67.46
BNP Residential Properties, Inc. (BNP) 16.60 17.13 -0.53 -3.09% 17.50 12.89
BRE Properties, Inc. (BRE) 51.49 54.86 -3.37 -6.14% 56.70 34.61
Camden Property Trust (CPT) 65.91 67.00 -1.09 -1.63% 73.50 47.82
CharterMac (CHC) 19.38 21.35 -1.97 -9.23% 23.37 18.50
Colonial Properties Trust (CLP) 47.12 50.94 -3.82 -7.50% 51.80 37.35
Equity Residential (EQR) 42.63 45.88 -3.25 -7.08% 47.74 31.50
Essex Property Trust, Inc. (ESS) 101.50 109.66 -8.16 -7.44% 111.10 70.10
Forest City Enterprises, Inc. (FCEa) 45.28 44.24 1.04 2.35% 47.43 30.60
General Electric, Inc. (GE Real Estate) (GE) 33.89 34.42 -0.53 -1.54% 37.34 32.21
Home Properties, Inc. (HME) 48.32 51.49 -3.17 -6.16% 52.64 35.36
Mid-America Apartment Communities, Inc. (MAA) 51.97 57.77 -5.80 -10.04% 58.75 35.62
Post Properties, Inc. (PPS) 42.71 45.54 -2.83 -6.21% 48.00 30.79
United Dominion Realty Trust, Inc. (UDR) 26.92 28.08 -1.16 -4.13% 29.05 20.57
Note: Town & Country Trust (TCT) was delisted from the NYSE and removed from the index.on 3-31-06 after conclusion of its purchase by a private equity consortium.
Source: Trade Trends, Inc.