The multifamily sector has seen a frenzy of apartment construction over the last decade, but it’s single-family homes that were the fastest growing type of rental between 2007 and 2016, according to a new study by RentCafe.
Over the last decade, single-family rentals rose by 31 percent, while the multifamily sector grew by 14 percent. In net gain, the growth makes up 3.6 million units versus 3.2 million units added, respectively.
Los Angeles boasts the largest existing single-family rental housing stock, followed by Philadelphia, Houston, and Phoenix, all with more than 100,000 homes for rent.
“While everyone’s been waiting for homeownership to fully regain its pre-crisis strength, single-family rental homes have become ‘Plan B’ for those anxious to break out of their apartments [but are unable to] buy a house yet, or have lost their homes to foreclosure, short sale, or financial setbacks,” RentCafe notes about the analysis on its blog.
Slightly more than half of the total number of single-family home rentals are occupied by families. Single-family rentals tend to cost, on average, about $1,000 more in monthly rent than an apartment.
Single-family rentals tend to be more common in suburban settings, but they’ve also surged in popularity in the nation’s denser urban cores. In 22 of the 30 largest U.S. cities analyzed, single-family rentals expanded at a faster rate than apartments between 2007 and 2016. Phoenix led this pack with a 77 percent gain in single-family rentals, followed by Boston (63%) and Fort Worth, Texas (60%).
Despite this growth, apartments still dominate rental housing stock, RentCafe notes: “There’s still a long way to go: As of 2016, the U.S. Census counted a total of 15 million single-family rentals versus 26 million apartments.”