Nationwide, more single-family homes are being built to be rented and not sold -- a shift that mirrors a steady decline in homeownership in the years since the housing boom went bust. In 2012, census figures by the National Association of Homebuilders showed that 5.8 percent of the 535,000 single-family homes started were being built as rentals -- an increase from 4.8 percent the year before and the highest share since 1974. By contrast, only around 2 percent of single-family residences were built for rentals from '74 to the home-price peak in 2006. For investors, the interest reflects their belief that the rental housing market will continue to see strong demand and rising rents. Apartment rents have soared 11.3 percent since 2009, notes Reis Inc.
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