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9 cities where it's getting cheaper to rent

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It will come as a surprise to no one that rent prices in most of the country’s largest markets are expected to rise in 2016, according to a forecast from real estate data company Zillow. But there’s some good news in that forecast, even for people who live in some of the most expensive cities in the country: Rents won’t increase as much as they have been, Zillow predicts.

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For example, in 2015, rents in San Francisco grew 12.5 percent, but this year, Zillow expects that growth rate to slow to 5.9 percent. Of course, that’s probably not too comforting to a population of renters that already lives in one of the most competitive, expensive markets in the country, especially since Zillow said people in San Francisco can expect to spend 40 percent of their income on rent in 2016.

West Coast rents are an extreme — Zillow data says the three most expensive cities for renters are all in California. At the same time, tenants throughout the U.S. can expect modest rent increases, with a projected annual growth rate of 1.1 percent in 2016, from a median monthly rent of $1,381 to $1,396. 

And in some bigger cities, rents are poised to drop. They’re not necessarily the cheapest places to live, but they’re certainly not anywhere near the $3,699-per-month people can expect to pay in San Jose, California, this year.

Out of the 35 largest metro areas in the country, nine cities will see rent price drops in 2016, Zillow predicts.

9. Detroit

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,132Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,128Change: -0.4%

8. Philadelphia

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,558Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,550Change: -0.5%

7. Cleveland

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,124Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,117Change: -0.6%

5. (tie) St. Louis

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,123Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,115Change: -0.7%

5. (tie) Baltimore

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,714Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,702Change: -0.7%

4. Pittsburgh

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,090Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,079Change: -1%

3. Chicago

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,633Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,611Change: -1.4%

2. Las Vegas

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,212Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,191Change: -1.8%

1. Indianapolis

December 2015 Median Monthly Rent: $1,181Projected December 2016 Median Monthly Rent: $1,138Change: -3.6%

No matter where you’re looking to rent, good credit can make the process of finding a new place a lot easier since landlords tend to look at a version of your credit report when screening tenants. If buying a home is an option, that may be the more economical choice, as a monthly mortgage payment is sometimes less expensive than the median rent in some areas.

College student lists dorm room on Airbnb, faces consequences from university

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Airbnbs provide comfortable and interesting home away from homes for many people around the world.

For travelers, it's an alternative to pricey and mundane hotels, and for those that offer their spaces for others to rent, it's a good source of income

One college student in New England decided to try his luck at the rental business by posting his college dorm room on the site

Jack Worth, a 19-year-old student at Emerson College, wrote in the listing's description that his dwelling offered “a private, single-bedroom unit with sweeping views of Boston Common, right in the heart of downtown.”

The second-year student was able to rent out his space in a 12-story building of about 750 other students on three separate occasions before the housing department at the college found out about his Airbnb listing. They told the teenager it was against school regulations.

"Really, the idea just came from the combination of understanding where Emerson is located in the city and it being in such a heavily-desired neighborhood," Worth told the Boston Globe. "And the thought of how I could make a little bit of extra money."

Emerson spokesman Andy Tiedemann told Reuters that the residence hall policy prohibits students from renting out their housing units “to protect residents and the community from exposure to safety and security risks.

Worth, who was fined $150 by Airbnb for violating rules and now faces a disciplinary hearing by the educational institution on "several charges of misconduct," has started a petition to support himself and "his honest, entrepreneurial endeavor."

"There is nothing criminal with providing cheap housing to travelers," Worth's colleague, Ari Howorth, wrote on the petition's page." Jack Worth gave travelers from far and wide a taste of Boston life and the Emerson experience simply because he wanted to help those who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford to stay in the downtown area. If the Emerson community is as inclusive as it claims to be, it should act it." 

As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 400 people had signed the petition.

Social media users took to Twitter to express their thoughts about the situation using the hashtag #FreeJackWorth.

Read more here. 

Posted by Jack Worth on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Posted by Jack Worth on Sunday, January 31, 2016

Martin Luther King's son trades Malibu mansion for $1.8M Atlanta home

Dexter Scott King, the son of civil rights icons Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, has closed on a $1.8 million home in an affluent uptown district of Atlanta, according to Curbed Atlanta.

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King, who sold his $4.8 million four-bedroom, six-bath Malibu mansion last year, has been on the West Coast since 2000. King said in an email last year that he and his wife, Leah Weber King, want to spend more time in Atlanta, possibly to heal the troubled relationships he's had with his siblings.

“My wife and I have been discussing for quite some time the idea of returning to Atlanta,” King said. “And with the present efforts to bring about resolution, lasting peace and healing within myself and my siblings, now seemed the perfect time.”

« Photos: Martin Luther King Jr's son selling $4.8M mansion »

The 7,451-square-foot Mediterranean-style Buckhead home has five bedrooms and 5½ baths. The half-acre corner lot includes a two-story covered loggia with outdoor fireplace.

Click here to see more of the Atlanta home.

This treehouse is Airbnb's most desired rental property in the world

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Treehouses. People want to stay in treehouses.

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Airbnb, the online home rental site, recently released its top wish-listed destinations and properties, and treehouses were at the top.

As Airbnb put it: "A penchant for fantasy is evident when examining the most Wish-Listed properties by type. The adventure of an outdoor treehouse is by far the most popular type of property on Wish Lists."

At the top of those desired treehouses is one in Atlanta, based on the frequency that active listings appear on people's wish lists.

Hidden away in the affluent uptown district of Buckhead, there are three connected treehouse rooms that rent for $350-$400 a night, with a two-night minimum.

The living room, bedroom and deck are connected by rope bridges. The bathroom is a 30-second walk to the main house.

As of mid-January, the first vacancy, according to the Airbnb listing, is in March.

Other desired treehouse locations include one in Italy and one with a pool, in Bali.

Maybe treehouses aren't your thing. In that case, check out the Seashell House in Mexico or the Pirates of the Caribbean getaway in California.

Airbnb's top destination on its wish list is also in Georgia.

Savannah is the top U.S. destination and No. 3 worldwide among "markets with highest percent of listings that have appeared on at least one wishlist with at least 200 currently active listings."

No one wants to buy the house from 'Silence of the Lambs'

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Hundreds of thousands of people watched and loved "Silence of the Lambs," a 1991 thriller starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.

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But no one wants to buy the house that appeared in the movie. 

In the summer of 2015, homeowners Scott and Barbara Lloyd put the house that served as Buffalo Bill's torture lair on the market. The tri-level Victorian became the second-most clicked home on

And yet, there were no takers. 

“The fact that a home gets a ton of publicity doesn't necessarily add up to a quick sale,” said Erik Gunther, a senior editor and unique home expert at “Just because I want to gawk at something doesn't mean I want to buy it.” 

According to Gunther, the house, located in Layton, Pennsylvania, is less appealing to property seekers because the location isn't convenient for most people. 

Layton is a remote village with less than 50 people, and it's an hour from Pittsburgh.

Another reason the house might not be selling is because of the lack of indoor plumbing. The structure has has four bedrooms but only one bathroom.

“If I can buy a (three-bed, two-bath) up the road that's around the same price, why would I buy something that's a (four-bed, one-bath) just because it was ‘The Silence of the Lambs' house?'” Gunther said.

The Lloyds, who put the house on the market when they retired and decided to downsize, originally listed the home for $300,000 in August. Their Realtor received tons of calls, but all were from journalists, not interested buyers. The couple was forced to decrease their asking price to $250,000 in December.

“We know there are people interested,” said Realtor Dianne Wilk. “But it comes down to who wants a home like that?” 

Though foyer and dining room scenes in "Silence of the Lambs" were filmed in the Lloyds' home, none of the scenes from the basement dungeon were filmed in the house. Those were all filmed on a sound stage.

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