APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — With home prices at record highs and houses under contract as soon as they hit the market, even some people — even those who’ve owned homes in the past — are choosing to rent rather than buy.

When Tony and Stacey Stuart moved back to Raleigh, they decided to rent a house instead of purchasing one.

“We owned our home in Raleigh here, and then we owned in Delaware,” explained Stacey Stuart. “Just in how the market is when we moved, we decided it was just better to rent for the next couple years.”

“We didn’t have all that much money to be able to put down and knowing we’re buying a house at 20 percent higher than what it’s actually worth,” Tony added. ” It’s hard to justify that.”

Realtor Alyssa Cunningham says it isn’t just the home prices themselves that make buying a house so expensive right now.

“The big kicker is due diligence. It’s a non-refundable deposit,” she explained. “In this market, I’m advising clients $20,000 to $40,000 in due diligence and then you have to have your down payment. I mean sometimes it’s all lumped in together, but that’s a lot of money.”

It’s reason enough for a lot of people, who have their heart set on a house, to consider renting.

Some neighborhoods have homes for rent here and there, while other communities are made up entirely of rental houses — like the Holleman Hills neighborhood in Apex which still has many homes still under construction.

The rental market’s competitive too.

“It was definitely difficult and stressful just finding a place to rent,” said Stacey Stuart, adding that they agreed to sign a two-year lease.

For those who hope to purchase a home eventually, it’s not clear whether waiting will help or hurt.

“It’s hard because we don’t know what at the end of your rental lease, whether it’s six months or longer, what the market is going to be like then,” Cunningham said. “Houses could be much more expensive; rates could be higher.”

“I’d love if we bought another house just from an investment standpoint,” Tony Stuart said. “But, in two years you never know.”