A new housing concept is popping up across North Texas, giving more choices to those stuck between buying a home and renting an apartment.
BTR homes are detached housing units built specifically for the purpose of becoming long-term rentals, typically maintained by large companies rather than individuals. Centralized together in neighborhoods, they are designed for renters who desire a sense of community and a modern living space without the substantial down payment and maintenance costs involved in home ownership.
The concept includes a community of cottage-style homes with apartment-like amenities such as a pool and on-site maintenance. For renters who have grown tired of living in traditional apartment buildings or complexes, the build-for-rent housing communities could be a good fit.
“It’s relatively new, but I think it’s here to stay in lots of markets,” said Josh Eadie, VP of development for NexMetro. “There’s been an anti-apartment movement. It’s been well received so far.”
BTR is “the hottest trend in residential living,” according to residential search portal RentCafe. Nationally, 6,740 BTRs were completed last year; nearly 14,000 BTR homes are currently under construction.
In the Dallas area, that number was 4,290 at the start of the year, making it the third-most-popular market for the rent-a-home concept, according to RentCafe’s analysis of Yardi Matrix data.
“There is a misconception that the majority of renters are Millennials when, in reality, you have everyone — including college students, empty nesters, families with kids, pet owners, and those wanting to downsize,” said Shannon Hersker of commercial real estate lender Walker & Dunlop.
Raising a family in a cramped apartment wasn’t ideal for Stephanie Sims. Instead, she opted to live in a BTR home.
“It started to get really cramped,” Sims said. “We just needed that extra space a home provides.”
She added, “In our last apartments, there was always somebody on top making a bunch of noise.”
Sims now lives in a community of one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes, free of shared walls, that, like apartments, are all for rent. Sim says it is a way of living that works for her and her family.
While BTRs work for some, the concept comes with several drawbacks. Some of the disadvantages of build-to-rent homes include steeper rent than typical apartments, higher cost relative to homeownership, small size, lack of personalization, and lack of freedom to remodel, according to Rocket Mortgage.