(Reuters) – U.S. apartment vacancies declined and rents rose again in the fourth quarter, continuing a years-long trend that is likely to encourage more affluent renters to become home buyers this year, according to real-estate research firm Reis Inc. The national apartment vacancy rate dropped to 4.5 percent in the last three months of 2012 from 4.7 percent in the previous period, marking three straight years of vacancy declines, according to Reis data released on Tuesday. It was the lowest vacancy rate since the third quarter of 2001, according to Reis data. …
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