Single-Family Homes Make Up 1/3 of Rental Stock


The 2016 American Community Survey shows that renters occupied 43.8 million residences in 2016. Of these rental homes, 34.8% are one-unit single-family homes (attached and detached), 17.7% are 2- 4 unit structures. Therefore, more than half of all renters, approximately 53%, lived in buildings with less than 5 units in 2016.

Single-family homes made up a substantial share of rentals from 2005 to 2016, as shown in the graph below. Moreover, the one-unit single-family rental share has experienced the largest gain among all structure types. Its share increased 4% from 2005 to 2016, compared to only 0.8% increase in the share of multifamily homes with 20 units or more, and modest declines in other structure types.

The growth of single-family rentals, attached and detached 1-unit homes, appears to slow down in recent years. Their number declined slightly by approximately 17,000 residences from 2014 to 2015, and only 79,000 units were added from 2015 to 2016. It is far less than the average annual increase of 431,000 single-family rentals from 2006 to 2014. This reflects a slowdown in the single-family conversion, because the increase of single-family rental inventory was not due to initially built-for-rent purposes, but came from formerly owner-occupied to rental homes.

The number of multifamily renter-occupied units, on average, increased by 372,000 annually since 2009. Most recently, multifamily rentals accounted for a larger share of newly gained renter-occupied units. Renter-occupied multifamily homes increased by approximately 600,000 units in 2014, 456,000 in 2015, and 92,000 in 2016.

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