A Busy December

A Busy December
By: Nicholas A. Dunlap, CPM

Upon reviewing our past 10 years of operation and specifically evaluating the month of December in each year, we have finally matched our 2001-2002 numbers. The move-in count for the month thus far is just a few move-ins ahead of what we saw in 2003. In 2003, we had 23 move-ins, right now we are on track for 28 (which is what we had December 2001 and December 2002). This is great news, especially since the holiday season is typically a slowdown period marred by concessions and increased downtime.

The decline in December move-ins from the years 2003-2007 is the result of residents staying put, meaning that we did not have the high number of vacancies to fill. It was not until 2008 that we began to experience the elevated holiday season vacancy rate. This is certainly the result of job losses in the Southern California area. By the end of 2008, we had vacancies across the board at almost every property in our portfolio.

Responsiveness has been the key to solving our troubles. Adjusting market rents, introducing attractive move-in specials and focusing on a return to the basics of customer service have enabled us to attract residents and lease apartment homes. The end result: higher occupancy rates and a greater return on investment