There's a rental housing crisis -- but not the one you're hearing about. Rand Corporation researcher Ira Lowry says that despite a US General Accounting Office report and media publicity to the contrary, there is no nationwide crisis for renters. He notes that rents have risen less than inflation during the last decade. For most renters, he says, dissatisfaction comes because real incomes haven't climbed as fast as in the 1960s -- so aspirations for ever-better living quarters are thwarted.

The real crisis to watch out for, Lowry says, is that with rents lagging behind other costs, n o one will want to build or own rental units.m

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