Multifamily applicant quality remained steady in the first quarter of 2008, when compared to the first quarter of 2007, according to the national Multifamily Applicant Risk Index released by Rockville, Md.-based First Advantage SafeRent this week.

The second-quarter 2008 MAR Index, which evaluates data related to the traffic of high-quality rental applicants, came in at 105, a 5 percent increase from the first quarter of 2008 but flat when compared to the second quarter of 2007. The value indicates that rental applicants today tend to be less risky and less likely to default.

Regionally, for the second quarter, the Northeast had the highest-quality applicants, with a MAR Index value of 116, while the Midwest and South came in at the lowest value of 102. The three metro areas with the largest decrease in value, and likewise increase in risk, were Memphis, Tenn., Phoenix, and Denver. Meanwhile, the metro areas of Chicago, New York, and Seattle saw the greatest increase in MAR Index value.

The index tracks high-quality applicant traffic for studios, one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units using data from First Advantage's national statistical screening model. If the value is greater than the base of 100, that translates into a reduced risk of default.

First Advantage SafeRent is a subsidiary of First Advantage Corp. and provides resident screening services for more than 6 million apartments.