Power Breakfast: Free-rent deals, job cuts at Sam’s Club, body scanners, Obama, Bernanke, Davos

If you’re searching for an apartment, you’re likely to be enticed with free-rent deals.

Vacancies are rising and rents are falling, creating good conditions for the bargain-hunting tenant, AJC reporter Michelle Shaw writes.

“Of the four communities I’ve talked with, two were offering some sort of free-rent deal,” said LaVelle Johnson, who’s been staying with a relative since losing her job late last year. “On the other hand, the rent advertised at the other two communities was comparable to what the first two were offering, including the discounts.”

Shaw reports that the average rent in Atlanta during the last three months of 2009 was $748, the lowest figure since the third quarter of 2000, according to Alan Wexler, president of Databank Atlanta, which tracks apartment data.

For all of 2009, the average rent was about $756, compared to $774 in 2008. The last time the annual figure was less than $760 was 2004, according to Databank.

Apartment owners and managers are offering all sorts of concessions to get current renters to renew and stay put, as well as pitching offers to potential new renters, industry experts say.

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