Rental market is driving national housing recovery, study shows

June 15, 2012 01:30PM

While the national housing market still faces a number of challenges, it is showing signs of a rebound, according to a report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The rental market, in particular, is on the mend due to sharp drops in construction and an increase of more than 4.4 million renters since 2005. Rental vacancy is also falling across the country, and multi-family construction is up “solidly,” according to the report, which was released yesterday.

“While still in the early innings of a housing recovery, rental markets have turned the corner, home sales are strengthening and a floor is beginning to form under home prices,” said Eric Belsky, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “With new home inventories at record lows, unless the broader economy goes into a tailspin, stronger sales should further stabilize prices and pave the way for a pickup in single-family housing construction over the course of 2012.”

But the renewed growth comes against a headwind of roughly two million homes still in the foreclosure process, a backlog that could keep distressed sales elevated and mitigate price increases in areas that have been hit hard by foreclosures. — Alexander Britell