Former homeowners leaning toward renting

New rentals more luxurious

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COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – South Florida is under construction again, and the building boom is being driven by renters. Marcie Karlin owned a home in Boca Raton for 20 years before deciding that it was time to sell.

"It's just my daughter and I, and between our homeowner's association and taxes and everything, I just think it's the right time to start renting instead of owning," Karlin told Local 10's Roger Lohse.

Karlin stopped at the Broadstone Cypress Hammocks Apartments in Coconut Creek on Monday afternoon. It's one of dozens of local high-end, rental communities currently in the works.

According to McCabe Research and Consulting, there are 52 apartment complexes presently in the pipeline in the tri-county area, representing roughly 14,000 new units.

"We've seen very little product built over the last 10 years, so there's this pent up demand that's out there," said Michael Ging, Managing Director of Alliance Residential Company, the company that is building the Broadstone Cypress Hammocks complex.

Ging said that about a quarter of the 396 units have already been leased in the first two months that the leasing office has been open.

The foreclosure crisis and stricter lending standards by banks have flooded the rental market with former homeowners. But many of those new renters still want the luxury and comforts of their home, which is why, Ging said, you'll find granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and impact windows in all of the units.

The amenities in the complex are top notch as well. The lap swimming pool deck has an outdoor pavilion with big screen TVs and a kitchen. The fitness center has a yoga studio and a boxing ring, and the club room includes a pool table, a fully commercial kitchen, 80-inch flat screen TVs and a mini-movie theatre.

"We're trying to distinguish ourselves from all of the existing apartments that are around here today," Ging said.

Rent amounts range from $1,100 for a one bedroom to more than $1,800 for three bedroom. Karlin said having a safe, upscale option like this has made her decision to cash out of homeownership a little easier to make.

"I'm hoping to put my equity away into the bank, and be able to afford to my rent and not have to go into my equity," Karlin said.

Applicants will still have to pass stringent background, income and credit checks. However, most rental companies recognize that the housing crisis has been rough on a lot of people, so a foreclosure won't necessarily count against you like it would if you were applying for a new mortgage.