UPDATE 2-Equity Residential, AvalonBay see soft rents
* Equity Residential FFO down 1.2 percent
* AvalonBay FFO rises on joint-venture goal pay (Adds AvalonBay results, recasts first sentence, adds CEO quote)
NEW YORK, April 29 (Reuters) - Two large U.S. apartment companies, Equity Residential (EQR.N: Cotización) and AvalonBay Communities Inc (AVB.N: Cotización), reported first-quarter results which underscored the sector's softness due to the nation's job losses.
The recession hit the apartment industry fairly quickly as the sector's performance is dependent upon job growth and its leases are relatively short -- about a year, compared with other real estate where terms last several years.
Both companies said the New York area helped drive down revenue compared to the prior quarter.
"Continuing job losses leave us cautious for the remainder of the year, yet we believe that steady rents and current occupancy of 94 percent position us well as we enter our primary leasing season," David Neithercut, Equity Residential's chief executive, said in a statement.
Chicago-based Equity Residential on Wednesday reported quarterly funds from operations (FFO) that slipped 1.2 percent.
The real estate investment trust (REIT) founded by real estate mogul and media investor Sam Zell, reported first-quarter FFO of $166.1 million, or 57 cents per share, down from $168.2 million or 58 cents per share.
Analysts had forecast an average of 55 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates. The company had expected FFO in the range of 53-58 cents per share. Continuación...