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Single-Family Landlords Eye Wealthy Renters with High-End Houses

Invitation Homes recently formed a $300 million joint venture that is targeting homes that will rent for 30 to 60 percent higher than their previous homes.

(Bloomberg)—Single-family landlords are going upscale as they bet that more high-earning households will stay in the rental market.

Invitation Homes Inc., the largest U.S. rental house owner, recently formed a $300 million joint venture that is targeting homes that will rent for 30% to 60% higher than the properties it usually purchases.

The average rent on the company’s 82,000 homes was about $2,000 at the end of 2021, meaning it could offer homes for between $2,600 and $3,200 a month.

The partnership with Rockpoint Group will invest roughly $750 million, including debt, to buy and renovate single-family houses, according to a March 4 statement.

If higher-end single-family rentals catch on, landlords may follow a path laid out by the multifamily industry a decade ago, when developers embraced luxury apartments for city-dwelling millennials.

Now, those same renters are seeking larger spaces, and many of them either can’t afford to buy a home – at least not in the neighborhood that they’d like to live in – or still prefer the flexibility of leasing.

“There’s clearly a lot of demand among high-income households for rental housing,” said Jay Parsons, chief economist at RealPage.

The single-family rental industry typically focuses on starter houses, pitching the suburban dream to families that lack the cash for a down payment. The push upmarket comes as rents are surging in the U.S., in part because a shortage of homes to buy has kept would-be buyers in the rental market.

Invitation isn’t the only landlord pursuing the opportunity. Kinloch Partners has started building luxury properties in Nashville, Tennessee, buying lots in desirable neighborhoods and finishing homes with high-end features like stacked-stone fireplaces, wine coolers and stained concrete floors.

The company expects the homes to rent for around $4,000 a month, said Bruce McNeilage, Kinloch’s CEO. The firm plans to build about 20 such homes in Nashville, and sees potential demand stretching across major U.S. metro areas.

“If they rent like wildfire, we’ll do more,” McNeilage said. “Every decent-sized city in America has corporate relocations coming in. They’re looking for a higher-end rental and there’s nothing out there for them.”

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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