Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vacant Apartments Fill with Foreclosure Force; Complexes Are Recognizing It as a Reality in Real Estate Market

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Vacant Apartments Fill with Foreclosure Force; Complexes Are Recognizing It as a Reality in Real Estate Market

Article excerpt

Byline: KEVIN TURNER

Jacksonville's apartment market appears to be pulling out of the doldrums of 2008 as occupancy rates and rents continue to rise, but continuing home foreclosures citywide are at least partly to credit.

Many area apartment communities have a policy of looking the other way when an applicant has a foreclosure on an otherwise good credit report, said Kimberly Marzi, property manager of the 226-unit Reserve at Deerwood and the 220-unit Elements of Belle Rive.

"That is something that's pretty much across the board," she said.

Both Southside complexes have the "foreclosure forgiveness" policy - and have for several years, she said.

An applicant's credit needs to be good otherwise. Not forgiven, for example, are evictions from rental units for non-payment of rent, she said.

The policy acknowledges foreclosure as a reality in today's real estate market and gives people who have been turned out of their homes or have been staying with relatives as a result of a foreclosure a chance to have their own place again, she said.

"We're willing to let them in. We understand it is not as high of a risk. They know they have to pay the rent on time or have no other place to go," Marzi said.

Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services Inc. noted in a 2010 annual report that foreclosures have become a driving force in the Jacksonville apartment market. The firm said Jacksonville's occupancy rate rose a healthy 4.4 percent in 2010 - a development it called "unprecedented."

Two other companies, WRH Realty Services Inc. and Charlotte, N.C. -based real estate research firm Real Data, came to the same conclusion: Jacksonville's apartment market is coming back to life after plummeting to vacancy rates higher than 15 percent. …

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