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"But what this means is that renters can afford higher rent - and landlords will be happy to oblige." - warrl

Rents are outrageous here in Murfreesboro, TN because of the Nissan Plant nearby. A one bedroom apartment rents for ~ $700/month and a 2 bedroom apartment rents for about $900/month. It's significantly cheaper to buy a house here than it is to rent, especially since mortgage interest rates are so low right now. You can buy a pretty nice 3 bedroom 2 bath house near where we live for less than $100,000. Payments on a $100,000 house would be ~ $450/month + Insurance + taxes which aren't that high here. In fact there are even some little 2 bedroom houses available that can be bought for about $50,000 so mortgage payments would be even cheaper. On a 15 year loan payments would be ~ $350/month + insurance + taxes.

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