According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. rental vacancy rate (rate of unoccupied units) dropped to 6.8 percent in the second quarter of 2015, the lowest level since 1985.
The rising demand for rental units and subsequent shortage is being driven by a surge in household formation. Around 1.6 million new households were added in the last year, mostly comprised of renters.
All of this adds up to rents continuing to rise. Rents climbed 3.5 percent from June 2014 to June 2015, the biggest jump since 2008. This increase outpaces prices for consumer goods, which gained 1.8 percent in the same period.
Rents rising that quickly may make homeownership more attractive for those who can afford it.