US home rents surge 4.2 percent from a year ago; apartment demand shows shift from ownership

Associated Press

U.S. home rents jumped in July as house prices showed signs of flagging.

Real estate data firm Zillow says rents rose a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent from a year ago. The higher rents suggest that demand for apartments is continuing to grow as the share of Americans owning homes has dropped. The share of the U.S. population who own homes has fallen to 63.4 percent, a 48-year low, according to the Census Bureau.

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Several metro areas showed a split in the rental and ownership markets in July. On a month-to-month basis, rents increased in Baltimore, Boston, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. By contrast, home values in those markets declined.

The trend is most pronounced around Washington, where home values slipped on an annual as well as on a monthly basis.