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Published: Friday, 1/28/2011

Area rents up, vacancies down

Vacancy rates across metro Toledo fell to 7.7 percent for the last half of 2010, down from 10 percent six months ago and 10.7 percent a year ago, according to the survey that included over 26,400 rental units.

Average rents for all units crossed the $600 threshold for the first time in recent history at $602, up from $553 a year ago, the survey found. However, the survey found that the nearly 10 percent increase was in part related to the volume of incentives being offered by landlords to entice prospective tenants to higher-end units, including free rental months, reduced security deposits, and waived application fees.

"I think the improvement in that segment of the market is pretty impressive," said Harlan Reichle, the firm's senior managing director and the author of the survey.

Ironically, it may be the region's high foreclosure rate that has helped push up rental rates and pushed down vacancies.

"A lot of the vacancy that had accumulated in multifamily [rental property] was in people moving into houses, so now there's an anticipated rebound as people lose their houses and go back to apartments," Mr. Reichle said.

In another sign of returning health in the multifamily segment, the report even recorded the first construction in the multiunit apartment sector in nearly a year, with groundbreakings for 174 additional units in Perrysburg and Oregon.

While the metro area's overall multiunit rental market is stabilizing, north Toledo is still suffering from abnormally high vacancy rates. Nearly 23 percent of the 2,400 rental units in North Toledo remain vacant, largely because of a number of distressed properties that only recently have changed owners.

The vacancy rate is 12 times higher than the 1.8 percent rate in the area surrounding the University of Toledo, while the vacancy rate in the city's central business district was just 3.9 percent.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at lvellequette@theblade.com or 419-724-6091

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