The residential rental market has been on a tear since the housing bubble burst seven years ago. Nationwide, rents have been rising at double the inflation rate. Rent is now a real burden to many renters. Roughly half the renters in the country pay more than 30% of their income to landlords.

This is good news for the long-term outlook for housing. The rental market will push more frustrated renters into homeownership. We don't think it can be any other way. Admittedly, many people like to be free of the responsibility of homeownership, but only to a point. If you are continually subjected to 5% annual rent increases, the benefits of renting quickly dissipate. In turn, the benefit of a stable shelter budget grows significantly in stature.

Young people are getting the message. The percentage of first-time buyers continues to rise and comprised 32% of the market in May compared to 27% last year. The unrelenting upward trend in rents should lead to an unrelenting upward trend in first-time buyers.

Information provided by Jessica Regan.

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