Jump in Single-Family Built-for-Rent Construction


The number of single-family homes built-for-rent has posted solid gains over the last year. However, the built-for-rent market is a small portion of the total single-family development, so care must be taken when identifying trends.

According to data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design and NAHB analysis, the market share of single-family homes built-for-rent, as measured on a one-year moving average, stood at 4.5% of total starts as of the second quarter of 2016. Given the small size of the market segment, the quarter-to-quarter movements are, however, not typically statistically significant. The current market share remains higher than the historical average of 2.8% but is down from the 5.8% reading registered at the start of 2013.

For the last four quarters, single-family built-for-rent starts totaled 34,000 homes. This marks positive growth over the 26,000 estimated for the four quarters prior. This class of single-family construction excludes homes that are sold to another party for rental purposes. It only includes homes built and held for rental purposes.

SF built for rent

With the onset of the Great Recession and the ongoing declines in the homeownership rate, the share of built-for-rent homes rose. Despite the current elevated market concentration, the total number of single-family starts built-for-rent remains low in terms of the total building market. However, after falling during 2013, the market share has grown over the past year.

Of course, the built-for-rent share of single-family homes is considerably smaller than the single-family home portion of the rental housing stock, which is 35% according to the 2013 American Community Survey. As homes age, they are more likely to be rented. Thus, the primary source of single-family rental homes is not construction but the existing housing stock.

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2 replies

  1. The increase in SF and multifamily for rent are the result of the disappearance of almost 25% of the first time buyers who would ordinarily be in the housing market. While the normal market is composed of about 40% first time buyers, that rate rarely tops 30% in the current market. The real estate market cannot possibly fully recover while almost 25% of its single largest market segment missing. Discouraging is the fact that no one seems interested enough to find out exactly why many first time buyers are not in the market and, more importantly, fix it,

    • Well put. I have noticed this in the area of Central Florida where I live. I am a Realtor and Property Manager of many years and in this area more is available in remodeled or houses to be up-dated then new for rental use houses. And not a lot of that. There are investors such as myself that would take on a project house or two but the prices of building and or remodeling have gone through the roof. It makes no economic sense to me at this time. Such is the pity for the dozens of renters and lookers. Housing is simply the most expensive part of the young or restarting housing seekers.

      I wonder where you have noticed this.

      Thank you.

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