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Renters on the fence about owning a home take note:vacancy rates are declining and rents are rising. NAR’s most recent Commercial Real Estate Market Survey revealed the multifamily housing sector is becoming a landlord’s market, with vacancy rates below 5 percent justifying higher rents.

Areas with the lowest multifamily vacancy rates are New York City, 1.8 percent; Minneapolis, 2.5 percent; Portland, Ore., 2.5 percent; and San Jose, Calif.,  2.7 percent.

The average apartment rent is expected to rise 3.8 percent this year, compared to 2.2 percent last year. The trend is expected to continue into 2013, when average rents are expected to rise another 4.0 percent.

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Renters Report Talk to local renters to learn whether rents are rising in your area. Have those renters’ housing  expenses have increased or decreased over time? Ask them about their decision to rent – was it related to lifestyle, costs, or something else? Interview Realtors® about buying and renting trends in the community and what motivates people to buy a home or continue renting.