Resident screening provider First Advantage SafeRent recently released its Multifamily Applicant Risk (MAR) Index for the third 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 third quarter was 104, which is a 4 percent increase from the first quarter of 2008. This confirms a trend of seeing higher MAR Index values during the traditionally high applicant volume periods of the second and third quarters. The Northeast continued to have the highest MAR Index with a value of 115, while the Midwest had the lowest MAR Index with a value of 100.

First Advantage SafeRent also looks at metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The three MSAs with the leading decreases in the MAR Index in the third quarter were Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.; Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill,  N.C.-S.C.; and West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla., with decreases of 3, 3, and 4 points respectively. The three MSAs with the leading increases were Chicago/Gary/Kenosha, Ill.-Ind.-Wis.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Orlando, Fla., with increases of 3 points each.