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

FILE PHOTO: A "For Rent" sign is posted outside a small apartment complex in Carlsbad, California, U.S., January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

(Reuters) - U.S. apartment vacancy rate edged up in the fourth quarter, with vacancy rising in 35 of 79 metros, real estate research firm Reis Inc said on Thursday.

The vacancy rate was 4.7%, up 0.1% from the third quarter and marginally down from 4.8% a year earlier.

“The overall economy has improved in the last few months following a rough summer when the trade war escalated, and the yield curve inverted,” Reis said in a statement.

Both the national average asking rent and effective rent, excluding landlord concessions, increased 0.5% to $1,498 per unit and $1,426 per unit, respectively, from the previous quarter, the research firm said.

Net absorption fell 61.8% to 21,500 units in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, while new construction dropped 54.7% to 30,159 units.

“Given the recent settling of interest rates and a near closure of a ‘phase one’ trade deal, the outlook for 2020 looks more promising than it has in more than a year,” Reis said.

Reporting by Dominic Roshan K. L.; Editing by Aditya Soni