Food for thought: The average rental price rose almost 12% in 2010 while the average price of homes for sale dropped about 10%. Recently a well-qualified (making over $250K in verified income) client of mine was beat out 3 times in the "race to find a rental" in Scottsdale. Many folks made the switch out of necessity (they lacked the means to maintain the home they owned) or it just was financially more prudent to rent in certain cities. However, it looks like the tides have changed.
If you are in the market to rent and have the means to buy, now might be the time to consider purchasing-- or perhaps purchasing a place to rent out.
See the facts here: http://hotpads.com/pages/housing-report-2011-01.htm