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Faced with a sudden move, 'reluctant landlords' have to find renters rather than buyers

Published: Monday, Sept. 10 2012 4:13 p.m. MDT

"Where we're seeing significant recovery is rental units are being filled faster than people are buying homes," Smith said. "It's less commitment. Everybody knows people who are upside down, so psychologically unless you can commit for five to 10 years it doesn't make sense to buy a home; you should rent."

Johnson is one of those renters who is now cautious before buying.

"I used to always think the best investment you could make is to buy a home, and no matter what you did the value would always climb," Johnson said. "I don't feel that way anymore. I'm hesitant, especially to buy in California where the price is extremely high and there's huge swings in the market. Even a small swing in the market is going to decrease your value significantly. I'm definitely going to be more hesitant about buying."

Despite Johnson's hesitations, he is among the 78 percent of renters who hope to live in a home they own someday. Though many renters hope to be owners, many admit that time won't come anytime soon, according to this year's American Dream Survey that Trulia conducted.

Housing bubbles have created abnormal prices throughout the nation and take awhile for the prices to shift back to normal rates. Currently, the nation is at 37 percent normalcy in the housing market, with zero percent being the peak of the housing bubble, according to the Trulia survey. It is predicted to gain complete normalcy in early 2016.

Johnson plans to continue to rent his house until the housing market improves, although he realizes that repair costs on the home could add up.

"We make enough to clear our mortgage; they're (the renters) essentially paying my mortgage for me," he said. "In the long term if I get good tenants, financially it makes sense."

email: ehong@desnews.com

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