More single-family homes across the nation are being built for renters, a shift that mirrors a steady decline in homeowner-ship in the years since the housing bust.
Until recently, real-estate investors had focused primarily on scooping up tens of thousands of foreclosed homes, at a sharp discount, and converting them into rental properties. Now that the pool of these properties has declined and prices have risen, these investors are snapping up newly finished single-family homes to be used as rentals, or even developing vacant lots from the ground up.
"So you could buy a house from 1990 and get a 12% return. Now you can buy a brand-new house and get a 10% net return, so the spread isn't that dramatic given the uptick in quality you're getting," says Chang Kim, a vice president at Landsmith. "We're in a unique period where brand-new houses can be built for a low enough cost that single family rentals can work."