Higher Rents Open Eyes to the Value of Owning

Economists and real estate agents say entry-level home buyers are once again jumping into the market in time for the spring selling season, spurred by ongoing price declines and higher apartment rents.

Reis Inc., a real-estate research firm, reports in its quarterly survey that the average apartment rents rose by 2.7 percent in 2011, and vacancy rate fell below 5 percent nationwide for the first time since 2001 .

This year is poised to be the first since 2005 that the number of apartment renters buying homes rises year-over-year, according to Zelman & Associates. Moreover, Deutsche Bank housing analyst Nishu Sood says rental costs exceeded homeownership costs by 15 percent at the end of last year.

Source: "As Home Rents Head Higher, Owning Regains Its Appeal," Wall Street Journal (04/04/12)

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