Apartment vacancies hit 10-year low

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 9:15am

The American Dream of home ownership is fading fast for some Americans, as a credit crunch and high unemployment numbers force many to put off purchasing a house. For Bobbie Maxie, it all boils down to convenience...and the economy. "When you own your own home or live by yourself...you just can't afford, most of the time, you just can't afford the upkeep." She owned her house for 20 years before selling it to move into a rental.

Maxie's story isn't unusual. In fact, rental property vacancies were at 5.2 percent at the final quarter of last year, the lowest  since 2001. That means there are fewer options available for those looking to rent. For some people, that means higher monthly rates. Maxie says she's noticed it too, and it's affecting her budget.  "We asked the lady, our landlord or whatever, do you get a raise, 25 dollar raise every six months?"

However, the rental craze may have an impact in an unexpected place. The home buyers market, which is still struggling across most of the country, remains strong in Shreveport-Bossier, said Jaclyn Litton of Litton Mortgage. She points to a recent report that called the area the nation's second strongest housing market. She thinks higher rents just may play well for those looking to sell. "You're going to see mortgage rates still at historical lows, so I think you're going to see a lot of people converting from renting to homebuying," she said.

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