Build-to-Rent Activity Continues in Rental Housing Industry

3 minute read

Build-to-rent communities are popping up across the nation.

The build-to-rent/build-for-rent (BTR/BFR) sector in the rental housing industry continues to trend upward. Recently, there have been new developments and partnerships poised to bring more affordable single-family-style living to the rental housing landscape.

Investment and management company Waterton announced a partnership with Second Avenue Group, an asset management firm, to acquire existing homes and develop new ones in BTR communities throughout the Southeastern and Southwestern U.S.

“Housing is a need-based product and, while traditional multifamily rentals meet many of those needs, single-family rentals are an important part of the equation for the next generation of renters,” said David Schwartz, CEO and Chairman of Waterton.

“This strategy makes single family housing more attainable for those who cannot afford to buy or who simply choose to have the comforts of a home, without the long-term commitment of ownership including flexibility in mobility and lifestyle preferences,” according to the release.

Meanwhile, ERC Communities, a real estate development company, is looking to combat the rising cost of housing with a new development of BTR homes—a groundbreaking in Zephyrhills, Fla., that will offer a 25%-35% reduction in rental costs. The Tampa suburban development plans for 216 homes. “We are providing the most cost effective, viable solution by offering single-family homes, build-to-rent communities that have incredible benefits to both the investors and residents," said Gerald Ellenburg, ERC Chairman and CEO, in a release.

Elsewhere in the Tampa, Fla., metro, investment firm GTIS Partners LP, announced it closed on a 72- acre site to be developed into roughly 260 BTR homes in the Wesley Chapel submarket. This is GTIS Partners’ fourth BTR community after three in the Phoenix metro. “We are excited about this opportunity to expand our existing BTR platform in the Tampa MSA … We have been actively investing in Tampa across master plan development and homebuilding projects and think that BTR complements those strategies,” said GTIS Partner Rob Vahradian in a release.

Indianapolis-based homebuilder Onyx+East, through a joint venture with investment firm Pretium, announced the start of construction on Monterey, a 24-home BTR community near midtown Tampa. The homes are expected to be available for rent during the fourth quarter of 2023. The homes feature three- and four-bedroom layouts as well as attached garages. “Monterey will provide a desirable alternative to typical apartment living, offering residents a higher quality rental experience featuring private garages, dedicated outdoor spaces, and open and flexible floor plans,” said Kelli Lawrence, Onyx+East CEO.

Mill Creek Residential broke ground on Amavi Celina, roughly 40 miles north of Dallas, a more than 270-home community that will feature cottages, townhomes and single-family BTR homes. Among the highlights are stainless steel appliances, granite countertops and a 3,000 square foot clubhouse and leasing office.

The uptick in BTR activity is no surprise. The 2022 Investor Benchmark Survey from CrowdStreet shows investors favor this type of rental community. BTR was the third-most likely place for investors to place their money after multifamily and industrial.