CNBC Real Estate Reporter Diana Olick asked in a piece Monday whether rising rents will spur home ownership. Olick notes that apartment demand is rising, and supply has fallen to low levels. Echo boomers reaching prime renter age at a time when the employment picture is improving are expected to bring five million new renter households in the next five years. A limited supply could force rents up—as much as two percent a year according to the National Association of Realtors. Olick cites a number of statistics and surveys that show mortgage applications are up, but other information indicates the confidence isn’t there among buyers. Olick comments that “it isn’t about affordability anymore; it’s about investing, and a home still isn’t a great investment right now.” As the article notes, even the super-rich are turning to rentals in order to park cash somewhere other than real estate. “This latest, unprecedented housing crash changed the fundamental perception of housing for good,” Olick says. It may all add up to an opportunity to present manufactured housing as a convincing third option.