Renting out a single-family home is one of the best investment alternatives. Unlike equities, securities, and cash, rental units have consistently and impressively increased investors’ income over time. 


Single-family rental investment, also known as SFR real estate or SFR property investment, has historically been a well-liked substitute for public markets. SFR profits might appeal to a variety of investors wishing to lessen their risk to the housing markets because they are often uncorrelated with the stock market. In the U.S., single-family homes represent the most prevalent type of residence. Of about 140 million residential units in the U.S., approximately 90 million of those are single-family homes.

So, if you are thinking of putting your hard-earned money into SFR investment yet still unsure if it will be the right choice, this article will give you a background on the history of Single-Family Rentals. You will undoubtedly be able to make an informed and objective decision through this article. 

SFR in The Past

Single-family rental properties are:

They are commonly found in suburban regions and are distinguished by getting private lawns, driveways, and garages.


It is well known that two significant individuals have traditionally ruled single-family houses throughout history—first, the people who live in the residences and the individuals who rent them out. Second, single-family rentals have become a sanctuary for tenants who want to start their real estate investment adventure. They can reside in larger, mid-rise, and high-rise homes without paying exorbitant mortgages. 

Market studies showed that SFRs accounted for about 30% of all housing rentals in the U.S. for the past decades. In the late 1960s, local landlords and other inexperienced investors generally possessed single-family rentals in dispersed locations; in fact, most of these investors self-managed their assets rather than hiring qualified property management businesses to supervise the business of their SFR properties.

In the early years of SFR investment, big investors and institutional investment firms often steer clear of single-family rentals in favor of alternative multifamily real estate types, including high-rise and garden-style residential units. Compared to the more conventional multifamily real estate, holding portfolios of tens or hundreds of single-family houses was considered hard by most private institutions.

A surge of foreclosures brought on by the Great Recession led to the collapse of several single-family houses. Market research revealed that throughout the Great Recession, the homeownership rate in the United States decreased from around 68% in the early months of 2008. This number worsened to a low of roughly 63% in the middle of 2016. This figure is one of the worst figures since 1965. During that period of change, many homeowners who had lost their homes sought Single Family Rental as a haven to reside. SFR dwellings have increased by more than 36% since 2005. The overall number of households in the United States grew by 11%. Most owner-occupied single-family homes only modestly increased in number over this period by less than 5%. 

Despite a decline in the house ownership percentage in the U.S. over this phase, single-family residence, including both rental homes and owner-occupied, has barely changed as a percentage of all U.S. households. Over the years 2005 to 2017, it fluctuated between a minimum of 70% and a peak of 73%. SFRs made up 15.5% of all single-family homes before the housing crisis. In the years that followed, the rate sharply increased, reaching a peak of nearly 21% in 2014. About one in five single-family homes, or even more than 19%, were SFRs as of 2017.

The increase in demand for SFR during the Great Recession prompted the first phase of institutions to join the single-family rental market, which aided in the investment class’s rise. From 2006 to 2016, single-family rentals increased by almost 4 million. Due to their scale, institutions operated SFRs with some benefits over unskilled or new investors. Among these advantages is increased cash for real estate purchases. Moreover, they have wider access to capital at lower costs, particularly for an investment market previously unpopular with conventional loans.

Additionally, they have more advanced administration, which enables them to provide renters with superior facilities and services. Developing business institutional SFR entrepreneurs learned via their successful experience following the Great Recession that single-family rentals were indeed a robust industry that featured the toughness of other multifamily types of properties. They also understood the size of the SFR market and the abundance of opportunities to find additional reasonably priced investments.


SFR in The Present 

Single-family rentals have produced great returns over the past 15 years, including throughout the recession. They also generated rental income. Single-family rentals have been rising steadily by roughly 3% per year since 2010, and in the third quarter of 2021, they rose at their quickest rate in 16 years.

What is the cause of the demand for SFR at present? According to market data, renting has increased in popularity among the age categories and family types who have historically been more inclined to buy their own house. This demand might be brought on by rising real estate costs, increased interest rates on loans, and a desire for flexibility.

A younger generation of homeowners is also more likely to rent than to buy. Compared to earlier generations, the younger generation, comprising about 50% of U.S. households with children, is more inclined to rent than purchase a home.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the desire for homes as people sought more living areas and solitude to maintain social isolation and conduct business or study from home. But because of the soaring demand, record low borrowing rates, a lack of supply, and high building costs, housing prices have reached new highs, rendering homeownership impossible for so many. Furthermore, due to college debt, price inflation, and a lack of available homes, millennials are mostly priced out of buying a home as they approach the golden years for home formation. Other millennials prefer renting due to its flexibility, ease, and low upkeep requirements. While millennials predominately rent single-family homes, older generations are also starting to do so. Those already retired or have reached retirement age do not desire the responsibility of paying real estate taxes and home maintenance, repairs, and improvements. Also, pensioners with equity in their houses who want to use it to supplement their pension income find renting appealing. Currently, many people are moving or experiencing increased financial difficulty as a result of harder economic times. So, whatever the cause, families require larger rentals to fit their needs. 


Single-family rentals have been a popular choice among tenants as a remedy. Even those tenants who had previously preferred metropolitan neighborhoods have moved to the suburbs in search of SFRs. In 2020, 59% of renters in single-family rentals left urban regions, according to data from the U.S. market.

Due to the more abundant employment prospects, cheaper expense of living, and warmer weather, SFRs are particularly sought after in Sun Belt locations. Renters prefer SFRs for a variety of reasons. The ability to migrate when required is among the most remarkable aspects. SFRs are viewed as a step to home ownership. Additionally, SFRs offer all the conveniences of a whole home without the expenses and maintenance requirements. 

Investment firms and construction companies are already building houses, specifically intending to lease them to renters as the demand from tenants for SFRs rises. These developments consist of rental housing units but go beyond simple single-family homes.

SFR in The Future

Market analysts predict that institutional property investment assets will change over the coming ten years as investors become more accustomed to single-family rentals and increase their allocations. Due to investors’ recognition of the resilience of single-family rentals over COVID-19, experts predict they will play a larger part in institutional property investment portfolios in the following decades.

The United States is experiencing some significant demographic changes that will significantly impact alternative housing markets, particularly single-family rentals. A significant demographic advantage for the industry is the aging of the major single-family rental generation, which includes millennials aged 30-44. This important age group is anticipated to increase from about 65 million in 2021 to 70 million in 2030. Over the past five years, this age group’s expansion rate has surpassed that of the whole U.S. and neighboring countries’ population. Over the foreseeable future, it is expected to do so again. The expansion of this important age group has historically been observed to be a major driving force of single-family rent rise.

Single-family rentals are in a favorable position in a post-COVID-19 world, considering the pandemic’s severe effects on metropolitan areas. In most urban centers in 2020 and 2021, suburban total migration rates were significantly higher than urban total migration rates. For example, in countries like the United States, market research regarding geographic mobility confirms that most people who relocate to Sun Belt regions do so from relatively costly coastal locations. For instance, the majority of immigrants to Tampa, Florida, over the past two years came from New York. In contrast, most immigrants in regions like Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, came from California.

According to projected migration figures, the world’s population increase will continue in major cities worldwide. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, poor affordability, high tax rates, and other factors, real estate market experts predict that the departure from coastal sectors will intensify. Given the substantial opportunity set by such urbanized areas, this trend is advantageous for single-family rental investors.


In the past, single-family rentals outperformed multifamily apartments in terms of rent growth, net operating income (NOI) growth, and CPPI growth. Apartment rent increase has fluctuated and dropped sharply throughout numerous recessions, while single-family rent growth was consistently positive and less erratic. Similar to this, whereas apartments and conventional real estate investment types started to decline, single-family rental NOI inflation has been relatively favorable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the industry’s multiple tailwinds, single-family rentals are expected to have positive NOI growth and yield expectations. Historically, the single-family rental market has produced better yields than the apartment market. Since 2017, single-family rentals have surpassed apartments by roughly 40 basis points. Since COVID-19, this gap has grown and is now greater than a 100-basis point advantage.

Due to the sector’s competitive pricing compared to other rental properties and robust market drivers, single-family rentals are anticipated to generate significantly higher risk profits than apartments and conventional commercial real estate investment types overall. Investors should therefore consider including single-family rentals in their investment holdings to boost performance and produce higher returns.

Reminders For the Future of SFR Investors

Investors using short-term tactics may be the group that needs to worry the most about SFR investments. Macroeconomic issues that include geopolitical, social, supply chain interruptions, and job challenges can pose problems. Market players utilizing short-term tactics may use cost-saving methods to ensure successful business strategies. They are not being malicious because of this. It is just how the real estate game works. However, these business acts pose the greatest risk at the moment.

On the other hand, SFR participants who have longer-term investing plans should anticipate ups, downs, and difficulties over time. Since they will be the investment’s administrator and owner for a longer period with a 10-year or 20-year equity portfolio, they are also often prepared to spend a little bit more cash to provide a higher quality property in a better location. Compared to those looking for a more rapid ROI, they are better equipped to manage risk since they consider the inevitable hiccups in the industry, such as stagnant or declining rents or other problems.

Much of this debate may give an impression of a storm cloud looming over the SFR arena. However, there are still reasons to be excited about the asset class. The long-term foundations of this fantastic business remain robust. As long as there is a market demand for housing, there will always be a market for rentals, particularly in areas with more amenities and on-site services. When done correctly, SFR operations rank on par with premium multifamily residential when long-term capital supports the development and management of strategically placed, luxuriously appointed, and properly managed communities. It is undeniable that SFR investment is here to stay.

So, should you invest in a Single Family Rental soon?

The short answer – is yes. 

According to market data, single-family rental homes were the best-performing property type in 2019. In 2020, the net revenue margins for single-family rentals and apartments were very similar. The sector increased by roughly 40% in 2021 alone. The figures revealed that the trend was driven by record low supply and strong demand caused by demography and the COVID-19 pandemic. According to an analysis of the single-family rental market, renters in single-family houses also remain longer and have fewer missed payments. Additionally, since 2020, renter turnover rates have increased by 20%.


In America, more people and households opt to rent rather than own a home. Single-family homes do not demand long-term financial commitments, which is one of the main reasons people choose to rent them.

As affordable homes, millennials are now also leasing single-family homes more frequently. Younger generations want to try the single-family lifestyle without the economic strain of homeownership due to massive school loans, growing living costs, and record-high housing prices. This pattern will persist as more senior younger generations start having children. They are relocating from apartment buildings to larger single-family rental homes. Renting is therefore becoming more and more popular as a flexible choice. They also desire to prevent the expenses associated with frequent house moves.

Lastly, in recent decades, single-family home rents have increased alongside home prices. You can purchase outdated homes below market value, renovate them, and lease them out at existing rent prices as a businessman who wishes to benefit from the surge in the real estate market without having to pay exorbitant property costs. It’s an easy approach to making money in the current economy.


  1.  Arbor Crowd. 2021. How Single-Family Rentals Became An Institutional Real Estate Focus. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 
  2. Arbor. 2019. Single-Family Rental Growth Outpaces Total U.S Households. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 
  3. Commercial Observer. 2022. Single-Family Rentals: Strong Future Demand Drivers to Propel Sector Outperformance. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 
  4. DS News. 2022. Top SFR Trends of the Past Decade. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 
  5. Equity Multiple. 2021. An Update on Single-Family Rental Investing (SFRs). Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 
  6. Multi-Housing News. 2022. Why Long-Term SFR Investors Face Less Risk. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 
  7. Norada Real Estate Investments. 2022. Single Family Rental Homes vs Multi-Family Investing in 2022. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 
  8. Pintar Investment Company. 2019. The Past, Present, and Future of Single-Family Rentals. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 
  9. Roofstock. 2022. Why single-family rentals still have strong demand in 2022. Retrieved from: Retrieved on 3 September 2022. 

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