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Spotlight on Single-Family Rentals

Single Family Rentals (SFRs) are the largest source of rental housing in America, especially in rural areas where they account for two-thirds of the rental housing stock, according to a Freddie Mac white paper titled “Single Family Rental: An Evolving Market.” SFRs provide housing to 25 million Americans and is valued at more than $4 trillion. Apart from the select few institutional investors with access to capital markets, the secondary market opportunities for SFR loans are limited, according to Freddie Mac.

Secondary market opportunities for SFR loans are limited. Apart from these select few institutional investors with access to the capital markets, there are limited secondary market opportunities for SFR loans with middle-tier investors that would provide liquidity and stability. The paper also stated that there is no uniform set of terms and credit standards for loans on SFRs.

Steve Guggenmos, VP of Multifamily Research & Modeling at Freddie Mac said, “Freddie Mac’s pilot program in this space sought to demonstrate how secondary market infrastructure focused on SFRs might benefit the marketplace.” He also noted that the single-family rental market assumes great significance as data reveals it to be an “affordable housing option for many American families.”

The growth of SFRs is also driven in part by difficulties in achieving homeownership, according to the paper. Among survey respondents who planned to purchase a home within the next five years, the financial requirements of purchasing a home such as down payment and a sufficient credit score were cited as primary concerns. SFRs allowed these aspiring homeowners to pursue single-family living either in the interim or longer term.

The key findings of the paper found that SFR makes up about half of the overall rental market—the single largest segment of the rental market by valuation and households served. An overwhelming majority of rentals in the SFR space is owned and operated by individuals or very small investors. The middle-tier market, on the other hand, is a slow-growing investor market with further potential for growth. Large-scale institutional investors constitute only approximately 1 percent of SFRs, as they are still new to the market.

The paper also indicated that out of the 22.6 million renter households living in SFRs, about five million live in rural areas, while 17.6 million live in non-rural areas—comprising 66 percent of the stock. According to Freddie Mac, this speaks to the importance of this form of rental, meeting the needs of rural residents. Conversely, SFRs are also an important part of the rental market for households living in Areas of Concentrated Poverty (ACP).

In non-rural markets, where there is a greater concentration of homes, more middle-tier and institutional involvement was recorded at 4.8 percent of properties associated with portfolio sizes 51 to 2,000 properties and 1.6 percent in portfolios with greater than 2,000 properties— leaving 93.6 percent of the properties in small and very small portfolios. Read the full report here.

Focusing on how to build, manage and grow investment opportunities, 2019 will see an array of housing and mortgage professionals come together at The Guest House of Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee between March 11-13 for the Single Family Rental Summit. The Summit will feature subject-matter experts who will answer questions and offer viable solutions related to property management, acquisition, disposition, and financing. Click here to register for the summit.

About Author: Donna Joseph

Donna Joseph is a Dallas-based writer who covers technology, HR best practices, and a mix of lifestyle topics. She is a seasoned PR professional with an extensive background in content creation and corporate communications. Joseph holds a B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Mass Communication, both from the University of Bangalore, India. She is currently working on two books, both dealing with women-centric issues prevalent in oppressive as well as progressive societies. She can be reached at donna.joseph@thefivestar.com.
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