Thursday, March 15, 2012

 

Rents up, house prices down in U.S.

"Fundamentally, it is an issue of supply and demand," Stan Humphries, chief economist for the Web site Zillow told the Times. "The foreclosure crisis is essentially a giant engine converting owner households into rental households."

Between January 2011 and January 2012, rents rose an average of 3 percent across the country, while home prices dropped 4.6 percent, Zillow said.


Unlike home prices, rents have been rising, up 2.4 percent in January from a year earlier, according to recent data, not adjusted for inflation, released by the Labor Department.With few rental buildings erected over the last few years, available units are going fast. Nationwide, the apartment vacancy rate is down to 5.2 percent, its lowest level in more than a decade, according to the research firm Reis Inc.

...

Families who might previously have bought homes are also staying in rentals longer. They may be waiting for the housing market to hit bottom or finding it difficult to qualify for a mortgage. Many others remain uncertain about their job prospects and wary of the obligations of ownership.

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