The single-family rental market is among the hottest housing markets in the U.S. The sector has continued to grow on par with multifamily as homeownership kept growing further out of reach for many potential buyers. According to a recent Yardi Matrix report, sky-high demand for SFR properties has pushed the average single-family asking rent to an all-time high of $2,071 in June.
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Downsizing Baby Boomers, remote-working Millennials and young households with children and pets comprise a large part of the renter demographic for single-family rentals. A survey of 3,300 renters on rentcafe.com revealed that 78 percent of the respondents were interested in living in a community of single-family homes. In fact, searches for “homes for rent” on the platform tripled in 2021 compared to the previous year.
The rising interest in single-family rentals began to take shape in the past couple of years, fueled by the health crisis and renters’ unprecedented need for more space, greater privacy and a hassle-free lifestyle. And these benefits are precisely the ones that should be at the core of managers’ marketing strategies when trying to appeal to prospects.
Highlight the benefits of renting versus owning
While it is true that homeownership is inaccessible to many households, the benefits of renting versus owning are undeniable in today’s economic environment.
“It appears more communities are catering to affluent residents and selling the ‘quality of life’ aspects of the experience with maintenance-free living, which historically could only be achieved in a multifamily or apartment setting,” said Al Otero, portfolio manager at Armada ETF Advisors, a company that invests in publicly traded REITs.
Single-family rentals offer a single-family home lifestyle while combining the flexibility of a rental with the comfort that comes with a professionally managed property. Renters are not responsible for property maintenance and taxes—an aspect that should be highlighted in every conversation with prospects interested in SFR properties.
Increase your online presence
AHV Communities, a single-family rentals developer, builder and operator, puts a lot of its spending power into digital-based marketing and campaigns.
“We’ve found that targeting renters via digital strategies ultimately works best, thus we always maintain a strong online presence, utilizing rental listing websites, social media, as well as SEO and Google ad campaigns for all of our new communities,” said Gene Kim, co-founder & COO of AHV Communities.
Some of the most successful online marketing campaigns are the ones that highlight a property’s amenities, which can act as a differentiator in the market. AHV has aggressively promoted Pradera, a San Antonio property that features three- and four-bedroom single-family rental homes with resort-inspired amenities.
David Auerbach, managing director at Armada ETF Advisors, revealed that one of his single-family rental REIT clients noticed that putting vital information such as floorplans, video tours or pictures in an easy web portal is key nowadays.
And that’s exactly what Pradera’s website does. The community’s website depicts amenities like the pool or the clubhouse, which have become important selling points when marketing BTR communities.
Point out the tech features
A unique aspect of BTR communities is the marketing criticality of amenity programming, both inside and outside the home, which cannot be overlooked as a differentiator, according to Mosaic Vice President of Growth Ron Gonski. The tech-enabled general contractor for the residential development industry focuses on all types of projects, from single-family homes to horizontal apartments and other build-to-rent product types.
Gonski noted that today’s renter is eco-conscious, tech savvy and convenience-oriented, which has made amenity programming around home and community technology packages more important than ever.
“These packages include items like smart thermostats, doorbells, motion sensors, parking sensors, solar energy panels, community Wi-Fi, resident rental EVs and even property-provided smartphone apps that provide full-scope home appliance management integrations,” Gonski said.
Kim also knows that today’s renters are tech-addicts, which is why his company is also pushing for a greater adoption of on-site self-guided tours.
“We have found that self-guided tours work well with new BTR communities, as opposed to already occupied multifamily units, as BTR units often have outdoor unit access points. Our tours allow prospective renters to go online, select a floorplan they are interested in, then make an appointment to schedule a tour. We then make that unit available for the prospective renter to view on their own at their scheduled appointment time,” he said.
But irrespective of how a single-family rental is marketed, one thing is for sure: Demand for BTR communities is here to stay as these properties offer a cost-effective alternative to homeownership. And this is making marketers’ jobs a lot easier.