Resident screening provider First Advantage SafeRent recently released its Multifamily Applicant Risk (MAR) Index for the fourth quarter of 2008. The MAR Index is based on traffic quality scores from First Advantage SafeRent’s statistical screening model and is updated quarterly.

The MAR Index allows property owners and managers to compare their applicant quality trends with that of the average MAR Index trends. This comparison can indicate whether their portfolio is performing above, below, or at market levels in attracting and securing high-quality residents.

A score of more than 100 indicates a reduced average risk of default, and a score of less than 100 indicates an increased risk of default.

The MAR Index for the entire country for the fourth quarter was 99, a one-point decrease from the first quarter of 2008. This confirms a trend of seeing lower MAR Index values during the slow applicant traffic volume periods of the first and fourth quarters. The MAR Index dropped 5 points from the third quarter, indicating a riskier applicant pool for the fourth quarter.

The Northeast continued to have the highest MAR Index with a value of 110, while the South had the lowest MAR Index with a value of 96.

First Advantage SafeRent also looks at metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The three MSAs with the leading decreases in the MAR Index in the fourth quarter were Atlanta; Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill,  N.C.-S.C.; and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, with decreases of 4, 5, and 5 points respectively. The three MSAs with the leading increases were Chicago/Gary/Kenosha, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.; Cleveland-Akron, Ohio; and Kansas City, Mo.-Kansas, with increases of 3 points each.

For more information on the MAR Index, please visit