"I think that these funds, these investor groups are looking at a cultural move away from your garden apartment with elevators, swimming pools, tennis courts and common areas," Ellenburg said. "Homeownership is looking less desirable to some, particularly in the affordable arena, and they have a chance, for very close to the same price, to rent a three-bedroom, two-bath or a four-bedroom, three-bath home and are able to call it their own."
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The only operating expense for landlords is the landscaping. In addition, the rents for single family are growing fast at 4.5% annually now compared with 3% rent growth for multifamily apartments, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. There is also much less turnover in single-family rentals, and the rental market is much less volatile than the home sales market.
"We've got clients, multiple, well over a couple billion dollars worth of capital looking to place in this space," said Michael Finch, executive vice president at SVN/SFRhub Advisors, a new Phoenix-based commercial brokerage firm focused on single family rental and build-to-rent investment portfolios. "They are looking to acquire 5-6,000 homes in the next two years."