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Free lodging a rental lure in South

Rent-free living is one of the enticements giving the rental market in the South a boost. Reacting to a slowdown in home sales caused by higher mortgage rates, more and more rental agents have been offering unusual concessions to fill up units.

Many come-ons consist of such lures as three months' free rent or the application of rental fees to an eventual purchase price. Often, the security deposit is allowed as a deduction from the regular selling price. Six to eight months' rental payments often set up enough credit for a down payment on condominiums and cooperatives.

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The most active areas in this accelerating rental market are Atlanta, Denver, Fort Worth-Dallas, and Florida's sunshine counties. The study was done by Fromberg, Roth, Gross, Cohen, Shore & Berke, in Coral Gables, Fla.