Existing-home sales in July dropped 27 percent from the prior month, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Unpredictable home values plus a soft job market have many Americans turning toward renting as a more affordable and flexible living option. In response to this recent shift in attitudes about renting, Apartments.com conducted a national survey to more than 2,700 Web site visitors to get a pulse on the mindset of today's active apartment hunter. Today's apartment seekers are choosing to rent because it affords them the lifestyle they desire. According to Apartments.com survey results, nearly 60 percent of respondents said they prefer to rent. Living maintenance-free with convenient access to amenities topped the reasons why Apartments.com visitors said they enjoy renting, followed by not being able to afford the costs associated with homeownership, wanting to live in great neighborhoods and more flexibility to move. The survey also revealed there are a lot of new apartment hunters hitting the market. Nearly 30 percent of Apartments.com visitors surveyed indicated they have never rented before, but are currently searching for an apartment and 34 percent have been renting for four years or less. This is further supported by record-breaking traffic and lead activity Apartments.com experienced during the first half of 2010 compared to previous years. Previous homeowners are also looking for apartments. Despite having owned a home in the past, 43 percent of survey respondents are either switching back to renting or entering the market for the first time. Of those previous homeowner respondents, 32 percent indicated they have never rented before and are in the process of looking for an apartment. More than half said they prefer to rent. While the majority of previous homeowners surveyed agree homeownership is a good investment, nearly 20 percent disagree and 65 percent still think renting is more affordable. Ongoing maintenance costs, fluctuating home prices and difficulty selling during the first few years were cited as the most popular reasons why some former homeowners do not believe owning a home is good investment. Apartment hunters are planning ahead for their moves by searching now. According to the survey, more than half of active Apartments.com visitors said they are looking to move before the end of this year. For more information, visit www.apartments.com.