According to the data I have seen and the articles I have read home ownership is in decline and more and more people are renting. Due to the mortgage crises many properties are being bought by investors with the intent to lease them out. The rental supply has increased and the demand has not… yet. I think that the demand for rental housing will increase and catchup maybe as soon as this Summer or maybe next spring. The article  below shows that some people are opting to rent instead of buy. This will be an ongoing trend, renting will become preferred by some and ownership will only become more difficult moving forward. Third party property managers will benefit as more and more people choose to rent. Orange county rents, due to the desirable location, will be a safe long  term bet.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704541304575099882517652948.html?mod=WSJ_Real+Estate_LeftTopNews

In the article, San Diego’s market is probably the most similar to our Orange County market.