The Buzz Around “Build-to-Rent”

Recently, several developer clients of ours have mentioned a multi-family product type called Build-to-Rent (BTR).  The concept is to develop and build single-family home communities where the houses are rented to tenants in lieu of being sold to homebuyers.  According to Northmarq’s March 2021 report, strong consumer trends support the growth of this type of multi-family development.  Renters are growing more affluent, causing shifts in their desired types of rental homes, features, and amenities.  People also have lasting scar tissue of the housing crash of the Great Recession, which negatively impacted so many.  More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a need at the top of people’s shopping lists for more work-from-home space.  Also, the desire to live in less dense apartment buildings has people moving towards the BTR solution. 

BTR multi-family developments offer tenants the larger space of a traditional house to people who can’t afford the large down payment of a home purchase.  Also, many people, particularly younger tenants, don’t want to be tied down to a long-term mortgage.  BTR offers maintenance-free living, like apartments, but with the living experience like a traditional single-family neighborhood.  Also, the tenants don’t share in the financial risk of a downturned housing market, should there be one.  BTR homes also provide a much higher level of flexibility to tenants who need to relocate often for work or personal reasons.   

For the developers and investors in BTR developments, the demographic of renters in the BTR market tend to be higher-income earning families, young professionals, and empty nesters and are proving to be more long-term tenants than traditional apartments.  According to Northmarq’s report, 45.1% of the BTR tenants have household incomes of over $75,000, the fastest-growing renter group 2010-2018.  Attractive rent growth rates and hot markets, like Florida, offer higher investment stabilities for capital investments that are being drawn to this space. 

Jeremy Bartolovitch

Vice President of the Southeast Region

The Douglas Company

Vice President of the Southeast Region


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