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Rental homes are a key cog in the housing market

Rental homes are a key cog in the housing market
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A shift is underway in the United States housing market. More than ever, Americans, from millennials to baby boomers, are choosing to lease for its flexibility and the numerous benefits of a single-family home, from extra rooms for the kids to a backyard and garage.

The professionalized single-family rental market has emerged in response to this growing rental demand and is providing Americans with high-quality homes and access to good schools and safe neighborhoods.

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Members of the National Rental Home Council (NRHC), the trade association that represents this industry, are invested in these communities for the long term.

 

In addition to paying taxes to support local services, our members have invested an average of more than $20,000 rehabilitating each home, money that goes directly to suppliers, vendors and small businesses.

But their commitment to these communities is more than just financial. These are neighborhoods that are home to their co-workers and residents — community members who are police officers, teachers and local business owners. NRHC members are investing not just in homes and neighborhoods, but in the future of each resident.

Our members demonstrated the value of having a large platform when devastating storms hit Texas and Florida last summer. Their scale and use of cutting-edge technology platforms allowed them to mobilize resources and respond quickly. 

Thanks to their geographic footprint, our members — the owner-operators of these professionally managed homes and the vendors and service providers who support the industry — were able to tap into their portfolio of homes to help residents and families find a place to stay, either while their homes were under repair or for the long term.

Single-family rentals are the fastest-growing segment of the housing market, offering an important option for families to access quality, affordable housing, while also making a positive contribution to the local and U.S. housing economies.

Leasing is an option that millions of Americans desire because it fits their needs. In fact, a new survey by the National Association of Realtors released earlier this week found that 24 to 32 percent of respondents stated their main reason for buying a home in the future would be a change in lifestyle, such as getting married, starting a family or retiring; another 12 to 16 percent cited the desire to settle down as a reason to buy a home.

Our members are invested in this growing piece of the rental market for the long term. The size of our largest members’ portfolios has stabilized, the middle market continues to grow and companies across the industry are committed to renting and maintaining their homes for the long haul.

Several of our members have stock that is publicly traded — a clear indication of the intent to continue as a long-term business. Of the approximately 16 million single-family rental homes across the country, less than 2 percent are owned and professionally managed by investors. Compare that to apartments, where more than half are now institutionally-owned.

In fact, similar to the transformation that the apartment industry undertook in the 1990s, the professionalization of single-family rental homes has enabled the resources needed to make improvements and repairs and the technology and business processes to efficiently deliver valued services.

Vendors and service providers are bringing to market innovations like online maintenance requests and keyless entry that simplify the process of renting a single-family home.

As the industry continues to grow and mature, we are working to share best practices and lessons learned to keep doing what’s working — and to recalibrate areas where we can improve. With support from policymakers and government-sponsored enterprises, the future is bright for the owner-operators and renters of single-family homes.

Diane Tomb is the executive director of the National Rental Home Council.