By Diana Olick, CNBC Real Estate Reporter
NEW YORK (CNBC) -- If there is an upside to the downturn in U.S. housing, it is the recovery of the commercial multi-family market. Apartments are in vogue again, now that home ownership is less than palatable for some and out of reach for so many others.Despite the fact that the fourth quarter is usually a weak period for the apartment market, given that most families decide to move and lease new apartments during the second and third quarters when school is out, national apartment vacancies fell by half a percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, from 7.1 percent to 6.6 percent, according to Reis, Inc. Close to 58,000 new units were filled. The good news is that it appears to be a real trend; this latest drop in the vacancy rate follows one of the sharpest drops on record during the third quarter, on top of the fact that the fourth quarter is usually prone to seasonal weakness.
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