Saturated housing market prompts increase in renters

Drive around town and you're bound to see a For Rent sign outside a house or apartment--which realtors say won't be there for very long.

"Any property in good condition and a fair price is going to rent, and I can almost rent it overnight," says Justin Moody, a realtor with Partners Realty in Montgomery.

Moody helps people who buy investment properties fix them up to sell or rent.

With nearly 3,500 houses on the market in the River Region, Moody says many homeowners are bypassing the selling process.

"There's so much inventory in the resale market. There's only so many buyers in a 200,000 person town. If you can get a renter in, you can pay your note, your income will support another home, then it would be a good option."

Gary Blackman did just that. He bought a house in Cloverdale with plans to re-model it and put it up for sale. He quickly realized renting was smarter.

"It was cheaper for us to put a tenant in that home, let that tenant pay the rent and during that time period the rent would cover the mortgage payment."

It helps, too, that renters are easy to find.

"There's more people in the rental market because it's harder to get a loan," says Moody.

Still, folks like Blackman remain optimistic--believing someday he'll sell the house.

"I think we'll just hang on to it. The market will eventually turn around."

Moody says the rise in renters is mainly due to folks who had their homes foreclosed on, can't get a loan because of stricter lending rules, or are part of the Maxwell Air Force base community.

He believes this may explain the rise in new apartment complexes.

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