Many families find that renting an apartment in Mooresville, NC is a welcome path back to financial stability.
There are many stories of reinvention being played out across the country as renting takes a turn at stardom in America's saga of boom, bust and recovery.
The population of renters is growing, swollen by foreclosures and families who can't get credit, by people finally starting new households and by still others who could buy a home but are holding back.
More middle-class renters
A new report from the Census Bureau shows homeownership at 65%, the lowest since 1996. Homeowning briefly reached a peak of 69.1%, in 2001.
"More members of groups with traditionally high homeownership rates are becoming renters, including married couples with children, high-income households, and white households," says the Harvard Joint Center's new report, State of the Nation's Housing 2013.
Many of the new renters are fresh from foreclosure. They want homes like the ones they lost -- three-bedroom single-family houses in neighborhoods with good schools.
A significant chunk (of renters) are involuntary and a significant chunk is voluntary. The biggest increase in renters is among the 35-to-44-year-old age group, traditionally first-time homebuyers.
Watching the foreclosure tsunami has made many skeptical of homeownership. A lot of them saw what happened to their friends and neighbors. It's not that they don't want to own homes. But many, even among those who can, are taking a wait-and-see approach.