Putting consumers online with any and every option at their fingertips is starting to change the very landscape of housing. As consumers have a stronger voice in what they need and want and it shows in the housing data, the industry will need to evolve. What's next?

For the U.S. rental market, the last decade or so has been a major turning point, as millions have turned to leasing as opposed to owning a home. But while the housing market in most major cities has largely recovered from the Great Recession, homeownership remains low. In fact, the number of Americans owning a home is near its lowest level in 52 years at just 63.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Property managers and landlords have been forced to evolve quickly to not only meet demand for rental units – which still outweighs supply in most markets – but to also offer advanced amenities and create unique marketing methods to draw would-be homeowners into rental spaces instead.

As with homebuying, the majority of renters start hunting for their next home online – whether it’s a simple Google search or using a site or app that lists available apartments and rooms such as Zillow Rentals, Apartments.com and Craigslist. The move to online rental marketing has been a necessary and major shift for the rental industry – as consumers expect to find information online, they also seek real-time availabilities and a wider selection of apartments and homes to inquire about.

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