Although 2002 will be a weak year for rental apartment operations in almost all markets, the real estate industry will weather this downturn significantly better than it did in the early 1980s and mid-1970s. A return to meaningful net operating growth income depends on when concessions begin to diminish and effective rents rise. The key variables to watch are whether the homeownership rate continues to rise above 68 percent, or begins to recede to its early 1990 rate of 64 percent; whether apartment starts fall to the low-to mid-100,000s, or continue closer to 200,000; and, whether the economy can gather momen-tum throughout 2002, once again creating meaningful job growth.
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