New numbers show mortgage rates dropping again, but many people are still looking to avoid buying and rent instead.
Rental vacancies dropped to 7.4 percent in 2011, hitting their lowest point in five years. The high demand for space has pushed rental prices even higher.
"The rental market is really tight right now, but it's a great time to be a landlord," said Suzy Trotta, a Knoxville-based realtor.
While foreclosures are forcing some people out of their homes, others simply want to avoid committing to a long-term residence.
Trotta says, many people's attitudes toward home ownership have changed in recent years following a difficult housing market. Many struggled to sell their home, and aren't ready to take on another large commitment.
"They're just not ready to jump back into the housing market yet," she said. "They want to wait awhile, look around Knoxville and make sure the next purchase they make is the right purchase for them."
Benjamin Hubbard's finally sold his home in Kentucky after three years on the market. He and his family are moving to Knoxville, where he recently started a business.
He wants to rent a home, rather than committing to another ownership right away.
"I don't want to get into that mess again. When I buy again, I want it to be a really long-term decision," he said.
Ideally, he wants to rent a house with several bedrooms and a yard for his two children. He expects it will cost him more than he paid for his old home.
"I'd already guessed up a bit, and they're still a little bit higher," he said. "So we're looking at a several hundred dollars increase every month to come down here and rent as opposed to owning in Kentucky."