Written By Kimberly Seaglund

As the ongoing decline of sales of U.S. homes and the weak housing market in general indicate, Americans are becoming less interested and less able to purchase homes. Gathering the cash for a down payment on a home is increasingly difficult due to the rise in living expenses, flat wages, a tight loan market and lingering unemployment. The result is more people are renting.

The percentage of Americans who own their home sunk from a peak of 69.2 percent in 2004 to a 13-year low of 65.9 percent in the second quarter of 2011. Morgan Stanley is calling 2012 “The Year of the Landlord”, as declining vacancy rates of rental units allow owners to charge a premium for rent.
There were hopes at the end of 2011 that the U.S. housing market was beginning to recover. The gains were almost entirely the result of an increase in multifamily and unit housing intended for renters. Those with cash on hand might want to consider becoming landlords in the coming year.