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Single-Family Built-for-Rent Market Records Fastest Growth in 2021

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Build to Rent

Single-Family Built-for-Rent Market Records Fastest Growth in 2021

As affordable housing continues to disappear at a record pace, the single-family built-for-rent (SFBFR) market offers a viable solution


February 18, 2022
single famiy rental homes
Image: Stock.adobe.com

The total number of single-family built-for-rent (SFBFR) construction starts rose by nearly 16% in 2021 after significant development during the third quarter of the year. In the midst of a nationwide housing shortage and an affordability crisis, the SFBFR market offers a cost-effective alternative to a pricey for-sale market. Throughout 2021, 51,000 single-family built-for-rent homes began construction, according to NAHB’s Eye on Housing, a 15.9% increase compared to 44,000 SFBFR starts in 2020. In just the fourth quarter of 2021, SFBFR starts reached 15,000, suggesting continued gains throughout the start of 2022. 

According to NAHB’s analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design, there were approximately 15,000 single-family built-for-rent starts during the fourth quarter of 2021. Over the course of 2021, 51,000 such homes began construction, which is a 15.9% gain compared to the 44,000 estimated SFBFR starts in 2020.

Given the relatively small size of this market segment, the quarter-to-quarter movements typically are not statistically significant. The current four-quarter moving average of market share (4.5%) remains higher than the historical average of 2.7% (1992-2012) but is down from the 5.8% reading registered at the start of 2013.

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