Parnegg Metro, said the apartment sub-markets in the Northeast Heights and Southeast Heights should see the most improvement. "I think we'll see appreciation (in value)," he said. One reason for optimism is a slowdown in new apartment construction, said Romero, a broker with First Commercial Real Estate Services.
"With permits down to 482 units proposed for '99, we will see continued absorption of existing product," he said. Romero's estimate of new units proposed for 1999 is comparatively conservative. Clarke said 763 new units, while Monroe predicted about 600.
The Albuquerque metro area experienced a building boom in apartments from 1994 through 1997. Monroe said the boom was based on job growth, which averaged 3 percent to 4 percent a year through the mid-i 990s, and single-family home construction, which saw double-digit increases from 1991 to 1994.
"These projections proved inaccurate, leading to an oversupply of multifamily dwellings," Monroe said. "The unexpectedly high vacancy rate have led many properties to offer rental concessions. Rental rates in Albuquerque either have remained steady or have declined over the past year."
Other reasons cited for the drop in apartment occupancy have been first-time home buyer programs combined with low-interest rates.
"Career renters are actually getting a chance to buy a house," Romero said.
Manufactured homes, which can cost 20 percent to 50 percent less than a conventional house, are also luring renters to homeownership. There are signs that the manufactured home market has leveled off. The Manufactured Housing Division, which is in the Licensing and Regulation Department, handles requests for inspections of newly placed mobile homes. Division director Mike Unthank said there were 9,791 requests for inspections in 1998 throughout New Mexico. There were 9,653 requests in 1997, 9,981 in 1996 and 9,075 in 1995.