With the sheer volume of homeowners who have either short sold, or lost homes to deeds in lieu of foreclosure or actual foreclosure, there are more renters than there have been in a long time looking for suitable homes to live in. To add to that, with so many homes tied up in various states of foreclosure and/or disrepair, vacancy rates nationwide are decreasing along with the rise in rental rates.
According to Zillow, 69% of metro areas surveyed in their ZRI (zillow rent index), saw year-over-year gains in rental rates. That means it's becoming a "Landlord's Market", if it isn't one already, like it is here in the Metro Phoenix Area. Homeowners who are unable to sell, but wary of going the short sale route may be able to fare well and cover the costs of their mortgage and maintenance expenses if they opted to lease out their homes.
Rental rates have been on the rise for the last couple of years. Borrowers who couldn't cover the payments on their adjustable rate mortgages that spiraled upward or suffered a loss of income can more easily afford rental rates for various houses and will stay put as dream tenants for a year or two (or three!), while their credit is in repair. This is a bright spot in what has otherwise been gloomy housing market for the past several years.
Read more about these details at zillow: http://www.dsnews.com/articles/rent-on-rise-as-home-prices-fall-2012-03-13
If you live in the Phoenix/Scottsdale Metro area and would like to analyze whether leasing your home instead of selling it may be an option for you, please call me and I'll be happy to do a rental analysis for your home/area for you.