The NAHB's Carmel Ford looks at a recent U.S. Census Bureau Survey that shows the absorption rate of new apartments slightly increasing in the first quarter, though the rate was down year over year.
Completions decreased 19% quarter over quarter but were up a healthy 25% compared with the first quarter of 2015. Meanwhile, renters are filling those new units at a fairly healthy clip, even as starts begin to slow.
... 54,300 privately financed, non-subsidized rental apartments in buildings with 5 or more units were completed in the first quarter of 2016.
The not seasonally adjusted absorption rate (percent of units rented in 3 months after completion) increased one percentage point to 58 percent in the first quarter of 2016. The absorption rate is slightly down year-over-year from 60 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
It is important to note that multifamily starts (structures with 5 or more units) were also down in the first quarter of 2016, from its peak in the second quarter of 2015.