Why BTR Is Here to Stay

Lew Sichelman

The market for single-family rentals is a diverse one that appeals to empty nesters, young families and people seeking temporary housing, according to panelists at this week’s NAREE conference.

Investors who purchase single-family houses to rent may come and go, depending on lending costs and other variables. But those who build houses for rent are here to stay, two of them said earlier this week at the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference in Atlanta.

“Build to rent is not going away,” Todd Wood, the founder of Christopher Todd Communities, told the group of writers from throughout the country. “It’s only going to get bigger and bigger.”

Added Richard Ross of Quinn Residences: “We’re in it for the long haul.”

As many as one in eight new houses built these days are intended as rentals, Robert Dietz, chief economist at the National Association of Home Builders, said during another conference session this week. And that number could double over the next few years.

Half of all BTR houses are sold to investors, Dietz reported; the other half are erected by builders who hold them for their own portfolios. Wood and Ross are in the latter group.

Ten Cristopher Todd properties now dot the landscape in Arizona, where the company is based, and others are under construction in Texas, North Carolina and Florida. (Some are being built by Taylor Morrison, a giant for-sale builder in its own right.) The Atlanta-based Quinn Residences has more than 3,000 units in its growing portfolio.

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