Single-family homes have been a hallmark of the American Dream and ownership has been an important life accomplishment for many people. However, the housing bubble and foreclosure crisis has turned the industry on its head in many ways and owning a single-family home is becoming less and less common.

In fact, rentals for single-family homes was the fasted growing real estate market segment between 2005 and 2010, and experts say that the trend will likely continue as the affects of foreclosure continue to ripple through the market.

Owners who live in neighborhoods and developments that have high percentages of renters have mixed feelings about the issue. One homeowner told reporters that his neighborhood was certainly better off than when it had a high vacancy rate from foreclosures, but that there are still some visible signs of the higher turnover rate of rental properties.

Some homeowners worry that having renters as neighbors will lower their property values, which is especially concerning for those holding onto homes they bought before the housing bubble burst. Some cities are trying to restrict the number of homes per block that can be used as rentals, but they are facing legal challenges to the restriction from property owners who say it is their right to rent out their homes.

For people who were displaced by a foreclosure and now rent a single-family home, the change can be difficult to adjust to. In addition to losing the equity that many put in to their homes before foreclosure, the rented homes are less permanent and it can be harder to settle in for the long term.

Source: USA Today, “Home rentals – the new American Dream?” Julie Schmit, June 6, 2012.

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