MADISON, Wis. -

More people are renting rather than owning their property in Madison, according to local officials.

In 2006 in Madison, there was a 6 percent rental vacancy. The rental vacancy now stands at 2 percent.

Officials with the Dane County Housing Authority pointed to stricter lending practices and bad credit as possible reasons behind the trend.

"Maybe they have some credit issues, and don't have the down payment money. In years past, banks would write loans for people with some shaky credit, with less money down. Banks have really tightened their lending," said Rob Dicke, of the Dane County Housing Authority.

The small number of vacancies means it's tougher for some to find a place to rent, especially those with a less-than-perfect renting history.

Dicke said that as people with good renting histories enter the market, the others could fall out of it.

"When there are more renters in the pool, landlords are going to be pickier. So maybe if you have an eviction from five years ago, maybe you don't have the best credit, those people are going to have a tough time finding a place to live and are going to be pushed into possibly homelessness," Dicke said.

Madison Gas and Electric tracks rental vacancies in the area using its utility data. MG&E found rental vacancies in the Madison area are at the lowest they've been since it started keeping track 17 years ago.