"I wasn't sure how long I would stay, so it just gave me the freedom to have it open, where I could stay for a year or so or move somewhere else after a year," said Shealy, who works as a contractor and has the option of moving to different facilities. At Mariner Bay, "they make it difficult for you to want to own a home when they offer so much."
For Shealy, renting offers benefits such as an on-site pool, a 24-hour concierge she counts on for services such as having packages delivered and the security of a monitored lobby and underground parking. She also likes not having to worry about handling repairs herself.
Since the start of the recession, the share of apartment renters has grown, though only slightly, in the nation as a whole, said Delta Vice President Grant Montgomery.
"Part of that is the flux of the housing market, where you don't want to buy when prices are going down and people are nervous about that, and it's difficult to get financing and the job market is in flux," Montgomery said.
But the economy has forced others into the apartment market, he said, including "people who couldn't afford their homes and lost their homes and had to live somewhere. And the people buying three years ago with no money down - today you can't do that, so they're renting."