Home ownership, which peaked at 69.2 percent in 2004, is slowing. The falling-interest-rate environment over the last several years resulted in an actual decline in the number of rental units, which is a trend that is reversing itself now that rates have risen. The next few years should result in increased rents, although many apartment owners say that many of their tenants cannot afford to pay much more in rent. Data from apartment industry research firm RealFacts show that second-quarter occupancy rates rose in 28 of the 29 Metropolitan Statistical Areas it covers, and rents increased across each of the 29 metro areas. Our grading system of the economy and the housing market is a "bell curve" model, with statistics at an all-time high receiving an "A," statistics near the long-term aver...
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