Preparing for a Tighter Rental Market

When Nora Hill was six months pregnant, she and her husband Dietrich moved out of their $650-per-month apartment and in with his parents in Atlanta. That was about a year ago. Hill, a nutritional assistant in Cobb County, Ga., and her 31-year-old husband, a supervisor at UPS, didn't receive pay raises the last two years due to the lackluster economy. So they pay her mother-in-law $150 per month to rent out two rooms.

"It's not for long-term, it's what you do at the time," says the 25-year-old Hill (pictured with her husband and child). "My income did decrease in order for me stay at home [for 10 weeks with the baby], so that was a big help financially -- not to pay rent in an apartment."

When they are ready to move out, finding a decent place to rent at a reasonable price might not be as affordable, nor as easy as they hope, depending on how long they wait to move, say housing experts. Still, there are some things you can do to prepare yourself.

There currently are not enough rental units in multifamily buildings to meet the number of renters that the U.S. will have, once sales of single-family homes get back to normal levels. That's according to the National Association of Home Builders' Multifamily Market Indices released this week.