Why Some Homeowners Prefer Single-Family Rentals

By Lew Sichelman

A growing number of SFR renters have already owned a home or never plan to.

Renters aren’t the old ones turning to single-family rentals. So are a sizable share of current homeowners, according to a new report.

In it’s July consumer survey of nearly 1,350 owners and renters, John Burns Real Estate Consulting discovered that one in four owners would live in a rental house if they could find a place that meets their exact needs.

Such a sentiment is greatest among young owners, a third of whom prize a home’s function over ownership. At the same time, though, a growing set of older people would consider trading ownership for renting if the location was right. More than half, for example, would rent a place so they could live closer to family.

“Trading in home ownership for renting is an ever-growing scenario” among older people, says Maegan Sherlock, a Burns firm research analyst.

Once older owners have been converted, moreover, they are likely to continue renting. The survey found that 57 percent of mature renters, either married, single or couples, have owned a house before but two thirds of them have no plans to own again.

Why? “Maintenance is a big reason,” Sherlock reports. “Per our Master Plans and Amenities report, the top two reasons build-to-rent communities appeal to homeowners are community upkeep and having less maintenance responsibilities.” (These findings were based on a February 2022 survey of 1,199 homeowners with household incomes of $50,000 or more.)

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