It seems surprising: With home prices so low, why is renting popular right now? Apartment vacancy rates are falling in Greater Cleveland, down to 5.2 percent in one survey, an 11-year low of 3.4 percent in another.
The foreclosure crisis has not only knocked former homeowners back into rentals, but it's also reminded us that homeownership isn't right for everyone — especially people who may relocate for their careers and renters with little savings who find that loans with low down payments are scarce. Even buying a starter home isn't as reliable as it once was because you can't count on appreciation to help finance a bigger place later.
Finally, there's the low-maintenance case for renting. "Some people jump into homeownership and think it's going to be nirvana," says Ben Baker, an apartment broker with Marcus & Millichap's Independence office. "Then they realize they've got to fix the roof, fix the furnace and cut the grass."
Average Apartment Rent in the Cleveland metro area
2011 Q1: $692
Apartment Vacancy Rate
2011 Q1: 5.2%
Sources: Marcus & Millichap Research Services, Reis