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May 29, 1981

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.

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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