The apartment occupancy rate in Albuquerque broke the 90 percent threshold for the first time since the end of 1997, according to a September survey by the Apartment Association of New Mexico.

The survey's 90.8 percent occupancy rate marks the second quarter in a row showing an increase.  The market for apartment rentals has been on a extended slide since September 1994, when occupancy was at 98.1 percent.  The rate hit bottom last March at 88.1 percent.

Has the apartment market turned around?  Steve Monroe, commercial broker with CB Richard Ellis, Inc., thinks so.  "Whenever you're at the bottom of a cycle, you don't know you're there until you come out of it," he said.  "We were at the bottom about this time last

By Richard Metcalf

Asst. Business Editor

year and early this year."

Robert Wolkoff of Chicago-based Group One Investments said he also believes the Albuquerque market has hit bottom - which is why Group One bought the 300 - unit Spring Park Apartments in the Northeast Heights.  "Based on past cycles, Group One expects stabilization to occur over the next two years," he said.

Reasons for the increase in apartment occupancy include job growth and rising interest rates, says Todd Clarke, commercial broker with Grubb & Ellis|Lewinger Hamilton.  "I also think the single-family housing market is saturated," he said.  "Demand for manufactured housing has leveled out."

Apartments are filling up; observers say slump's over

November 21, 1999