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Prospective homebuyers are tied to the rental market for the same reason developers are staying away from it -- untouchable interest rates. While builders can't supply the demand for new rental housing, the US Labor Department hints that relief may come from existing single-family housing. In the last five years, 300,000 rental units per year have been created in private homes.

How could this be be advanced to help the rental market? If cities altered zoning ordinances prohibiting conversion of single family residences, 9 million units would be created -- or more than the total production of rental units in the past decade, according to a Labor Department report based on estimates by the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University in New Jersey.m

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