Tough Housing Market Helps Rental Market

Washington, D.C.–As the housing slump continues, more homeowners are becoming renters, and renters are becoming homeless as their rental properties are foreclosed upon–giving the rental market a boost, USA Today reports.Last year, the number of renters in professionally managed apartments increased by the largest amount since 2000, the Washington, D.C.-based National Multi Housing Council’s March report said. In markets across the U.S., rents are increasing. Vacancy rates dropped compared to last year; average rent is forecast to grow 5.3 percent in 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors.The move toward rentals can help the overall economy. Increased rental demand can expand apartment building construction; which in turn can kickstart urban development.Higher rental demand has caused the median asking rate for rentals to rise 14 percent to $673 a month in 2007 from $591 a month during the fourth quarter of 2003, the Census Bureau said. In the fourth quarter of 2007, the national rental housing vacancy rate was 9.6 percent, down from 10.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003.