Over the past five years, the housing crisis has shattered the credit of millions of former homeowners, pushing families across the country into an increasingly tight rental market. Compounded by "fresh demand from young workers, few new units and tight standards for home loans... the result is rental sticker shock not seen in years," Lazo explains.
At $1,008, average monthly rents across the United States hit an all-time peak in the first quarter of this year, surpassing a record previously set three and a half years ago. And the trend shows no sign of slowing down: USC's Lusk Center for Real Estate projects that rents in Los Angeles County will rise another 10 percent in the next two years.
"Robert Corlette pays about $1,700 a month for a two-bedroom town house in Anaheim Hills that he shares with his wife and five children," Lazo writes. "The family lost their home to foreclosure in 2009 after Corlette lost his $75,000-a-year job selling insurance. His current job, also in the insurance industry, pays about half that."
In many regions, increased pressure on the rental market has made mortgages the more affordable option, although restrictive loan requirements make new mortgages hard to come by.