The Multifamily Production Index (MPI) from the National Association of Home Builders was at 54 in the third quarter of 2013, down seven points from a second quarter spike but holding above 50 for a seventh consecutive quarter.
The MPI measures builder and developer sentiment about current conditions in the apartment and condominium market on a scale of 0 to 100. An index above 50 means more respondents report conditions are improving than report conditions getting worse.
All three MPI components--construction of low-rent units, market-rate rental units, and "for-sale" units (condominiums) fell from 2Q 2013 peaks, but all remain above 50.
"Multifamily developers remain positive about where the market is right now, despite the dip in the index," said W. Dean Henry, CEO of Legacy Partners Residential in Foster City, CA, and chairman of NAHB's Multifamily Leadership Board. "There are challenges still facing the industry such as availability of labor and rising cost of some building materials, but the demand for apartments and condos is strong enough for developers to proceed in most markets."
The Multifamily Vacancy Index (MVI), which measures the multifamily housing industry's perception of vacancies, was down two points to 40. In this index lower numbers indicating fewer vacancies. This index peaked at 70 in 2Q 2009, improved consistently in 2010, and has been fairly stable since 2011.
"The multifamily industry has recovered significantly from its trough in 2009 and is getting close to reaching equilibrium," said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. "NAHB's forecast calls for continued improvement through 2015, but at a decreasing rate."
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