U.S. apartment vacancy rate up slightly in fourth quarter: Reis

(Reuters) - The U.S. apartment vacancy rate increased marginally in the fourth quarter from the third as supply exceeded demand, according to a report from Reis Inc.

The national apartment vacancy rate rose to 4.5 percent from 4.4 percent, the real estate research firm said.

Vacancy rates increased in 50 of 79 metros, with New York City and Washington, DC hitting their highest-ever rates of 5.1 percent and 6.6 percent, respectively, the report said.

Reis said it expects vacancies to rise in 2018 before tapering off in 2019 as projects slated for completion will continue at least over the next 12 months.

Construction fell to 43,769 units in the fourth quarter from 60,890 units in the preceding quarter, with net absorption falling to 31,554 units from 48,545 units, the report said.

Asking rents edged 0.4 percent higher and effective rent grew 0.3 percent, the Reis report said.

They increased 3.9 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively, year-over-year, according to the report.

Reporting by Pranav Kiran in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel