According to Reis Inc., a New-York based real estate research firm, the apartment vacancy rate dropped to 7.8 percent in the second quarter. The drop was the first in nearly three years and down from a 30-year high in the first quarter. The report also shows that rents rose 0.4 percent, the second consecutive quarterly rent increase. Rent is a leading indicator for housing, as higher rents make homeownership more attractive. More here and here.