Youâ€™ve got to admit, renters have had a hard time. After being squeezed out of the homeownership market for years they now face getting squeezed out of the rental market as well.
But more to my pointâ€¦ever notice that plane crashes come in threeâ€™s? Do they, or does the media just report them that way? Ever notice after a plane does crash you hear nothing but planes crashing all day. Are planes suddenly dropping out of the sky in some fit of protest? Hardly.
Iâ€™ve also noticed a distinct pattern to the San Francisco Chronicleâ€™s Sunday Real Estate section. Each week they organize this section into a theme. Last weekâ€™s â€œthemeâ€ was the bad news for renters with headings such as these: â€œBay Area rents still risingâ€, (James Temple, Chronicle Staff Writer, Friday, April 18, 2008), â€œApartment rents throughout West still risingâ€, (MICHAEL LIEDTKE, AP Business Writer, Thursday, April 17, 2008), â€œA look at apartment rents in western United Statesâ€, (The Associated Press, Thursday, April 17, 2008).
The San Francisco Chronicleâ€™s recent reports on the rental market have been rather telling in regards to the overall housing picture. With more buyers unable or unwilling to buy, competing with homeowners thrust back into the rental market due to either voluntarily or involuntarily leaving homeownership, it will be just a matter of time before rising rents and lower home values make owning vs. renting a no brainer. Iâ€™ve seen it before and Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll see it again.
But then I read what appeared to be an op-ed piece by Marcie Lewis of Bankrate.com. That headline read â€œRental Market Hit by Mortgage Crisisâ€. I thought I was going to read more of the sameâ€”doom and gloom for renters. But the piece ended by stating the opposite of what all the other articles had to offer about the dwindling supply of rental units by saying:
â€œOther homeowners have opted to rent out their entire home because they’ve relocated, but can’t sell the home for enough money to pay off their debts, which might include a home equity loan or line of credit in addition to a first mortgage. This trend increases the supply of rental housing.â€ (Lewis 4/2008, p K11)
â€Many cities experienced a boom in conversions of apartments into condos, but now, due to lower condo prices, some builders and owners have opted to rent out units they’d intended to sell. This trend also adds to the supply of rentals.â€ (Lewis 4/2008 , p K11)
So wait a minute; do we have more available rental units or less? I guess theyâ€™ll follow up next week with the answer.