Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rents Drop Nationwide As Vacancies Spike

By Joseph Alberici

The economic crisis has opened up opportunities for apartment tenants. The inventory of vacant apartments is expanding, and rents are dropping quickly in major metropolitan areas across the country.

For renters with leases about to expire, it's time to negotiate. Landlords are working extra hard these days to keep units filled.

Of course, your ability to hold onto an apartment -- especially a luxury unit -- depends on how secure you feel about your own job. About 2.6 million Americans lost their jobs in 2008 (mostly in the final quarter of the year), and millions more likely will be cut this year. People are losing money on stocks and other investments and are cutting back on costs by downsizing and moving in with family members or roommates as they hunker down for a deep recession.

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