Many Americans are hesitant to purchase a home or are having difficulties qualifying for a mortgage, and consequently rentals are gaining steam across the country, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. Because of this influx, the role of the property manager has grown as well. These people typically handle tenant background screening
, help landlords set rent, ensure landscape upkeep and resolve disputes. "There has been a dramatic shift toward renting," said Chris Herbert, research director of Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, as quoted by the news source. Four years ago, renters surpassed new owner-occupied homes for the first time since 1985, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and the disparity has only risen from there. Between 2007 and 2010, the number of homeowners decreased at an annual rate of 147,250 per year. Furthermore, apartment vacancies reached a five-year low in the third quarter, resulting in rent inflation from landlords. The average rate reached $1,004 per month, up from $981 one year earlier. However, positive movement in the job market may spur more home buyers, as the private sector added more than 200,000 jobs in November, according to Newsday. Stan Humphries, chief economist at real estate site Zillow, believes this to be a good sign. "The situation in the housing market is tightly bound with what's happening in the broader economy," he said.