Houses For Rent In Charlotte Nc Area – Nearly a decade after national landlords began building homes in cities like Charlotte, growing demand for single-family rentals has led to a new kind of business model: entire subdivisions are built for rental.
Crescent Communities, one of Charlotte’s best-known developers, announced last week that it will launch a new business segment that will build single-family homes for rent. The company plans to launch the first developments in Charlotte, Raleigh, Atlanta and Charleston, South Carolina.
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For decades, single-family residential rentals were run by parent landlords. But after the Great Recession, Wall Street firms like Invitation Homes, Tricon Residential and American Homes 4 Rent began snapping up homes at low prices.
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But now that the housing market has recovered, many cities like Charlotte are facing record low inventory levels and competition for homes is fierce.
Charlotte’s housing market has just 18 days of homes listed for sale, according to March MLS data released this month by the Canopy Association of Realtors. A balanced market should have a six-month supply.
The lack of affordable homes is likely forcing some investors to turn to building new rental units, said Eli Portillo, assistant director of outreach and strategic partnerships at the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute. Portillo previously covered the development as a reporter for the Observer.
“If there was enough available inventory for companies to just go out and buy existing homes and start renting them out, it’s easier than building them from scratch,” he said. “I think the fact that there is demand from companies to build homes from the ground up is an indication of how tight inventory is overall.”
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Crescent, which was sold in 2018 to a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sumitomo Forestry Group, said in an announcement last week that it would work with construction companies owned by Sumitomo to build single-family communities.
These builders build more than 10,000 homes nationwide each year, Crescent said in a news release.
The developer hired Tony Chen, head of Atlanta-based FirstKey Homes, another single-family rental company that owns thousands of homes, including in Charlotte, to lead its initiative.
Brian Netwick, president and chief operating officer of Crescent Communities, said in an interview that the company will initially focus on building urban rental home communities before moving into single-family homes. He said the communities typically include 100 to 200 homes.
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Netwick said there is strong demand for single-family rental homes, especially for people who are closer to buying their first home. The average age of first-time home buyers is higher now than in the past.
“It’s kind of a transition point between traditional apartments and regular home ownership,” he said.
And many of these companies have just started buying. Invitation Homes said last month that it acquired 232 homes in the Carolinas in 2020, most of them in Charlotte.
Investor-owned homes still make up a small fraction of the area’s total single-family homes, about 2.5%, a 2017 Observer analysis found. But because the firms typically focus on buying affordable homes, Portillo said they have a concentrated impact on the starter home market.
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According to CoreLogic, a real estate data provider, the median rent for a single-family home in the Charlotte metro area is $1,486. This is a 7.5% jump from the previous year and reflects increased demand for single-family rental units.
The Wall Street Journal reported in January that tens of thousands of rental homes were being built across the country. However, the Crescent post office is one of the first of its kind for the Charlotte area.
In 2018, Invitation Homes said it will build 79 rental homes in a Harrisburg Road subdivision called Evans Woods. But Kristi DesJarlais, a spokeswoman for Invitation, said in an email Tuesday that the company has not moved forward with the project. She said build-to-rent is not part of the company’s broader strategy.
Rental homes continued to be built on the east Charlotte site, but property records show the community is now owned by FirstKey Homes.
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Many home buyers face competition from investors who are often willing to pay cash. The trend has worried some real estate experts, who say mega-landlords are taking already scarce inventory out of the sales market as they convert it to rentals.
Rental housing of new buildings does not subtract from the inventory of housing offered for sale, but they do not add to it either.
Netwick said there is ample demand for homes for rent and for sale, especially with the influx of people moving to markets like Charlotte.
As a lack of inventory and rising prices make it harder for millennials to afford a home, many are renting for longer periods of time, Portillo said. This creates more demand for rentals and forces investors to buy more homes to rent, further contributing to the housing crisis.
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“In a way, the prediction that millennials are putting off buying a home is sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said.
Daniel Chemtob covers economic growth and development for the Observer. She graduated from the School of Journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2018 and moved to California.
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