Double-Digit Rent Hikes Coming?

At a time when more and more foreclosed homeowners are taking shelter in rental apartments, word comes that we may soon be facing a shortage of rental units leading to double-digit rent increases.

At its Las Vegas convention earlier this week, a big-wig from the National Association of Home Builders told the audience, "We will be facing a severe shortage of apartments in the next few years, which will increase the cost of housing for consumers."

The reason for the projected rental apartment shortage: what is being called by some "a dramatic decline" in apartment construction in this country.

Like just about everything else in Real Estate, not everyone agrees with this take on things... but the raw data should and does give one pause: Only about 87,000 rental units are set to begin construction in 2010, which may sound like a lot until you realize this is less than one-third the number on average built in previous years.

Nevertheless, some say that in many parts of the nation there is currently a glut of new rental units available which keeps rents lower.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle.:

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