The downturn in the housing market and tighter availability of credit is having a positive impact on the multifamily industry, according to the National Multi Housing Council's first-quarter survey of executives. "While the 'shadow' rental market (unsold houses and condos that have left the for-sale market to enter the rental market) may attract some apartment renters (and potential renters), thus far, the lowest homeownership rate in five and a half years seems to have increased demand for apartment residences," said Mark Obrinsky, chief economist, NMHC. The Washington-based apartment industry trade group also reports that debt financing for apartment financing is more readily available, with an index measuring this rising from 17 in the prior quarter to 45 in the current quarter. Tightened underwriting standards and the "still-frozen" commercial mortgage-backed securities market have impacted debt financing availability.

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