Understanding BTR: Shaping Tomorrow’s Communities

build to rent homes

BTR homes have been making waves in the real estate industry. At the Arabella Real Estate Fund, we have allocated 75% of our portfolio to BTR homes and home-to-rent properties. This approach is gaining traction at a time when home affordability is at an all-time low. It fundamentally transforms how people engage with the housing market, both in terms of building and living in properties. Let’s delve deeper into the concept of BTR homes, exploring its key features, benefits, and impact on the housing market.

What is BTR?

At its core, BTR is a housing concept that concentrates on single-family rentals, involving the construction of purpose-built residential properties intended primarily for renting rather than selling individual units to homeowners. These BTR developments are specifically designed with the single-family rental market in mind, offering modern amenities and community-focused features for tenants, including those seeking temporary accommodations.

What are the Benefits of BTR?

Unlike conventional rental properties, including standard apartments or homes where individual landlords manage maintenance themselves, BTR developments are typically overseen by professional property management companies or real estate investment firms. This ensures efficient maintenance, less tenant turnover, timely repairs, and a high standard of service for property managers and tenants.

Investors are increasingly attracted to BTR properties because they offer a stable and predictable rental income stream over the long term, as opposed to quick resale profits. This approach fosters a sense of stability within BTR communities. According to a recent report, there were 68,000 BTR homes constructed from September 2021 to September 2022, nearly double the annual norm of previous years.

BTR is gaining attention in community and property development for several compelling reasons. It prioritizes the availability of high-quality, single-family rental homes, providing tenants with well-maintained, modern, and secure residences that enhance their overall quality of life. The meticulous attention to detail in constructing and maintaining these properties sets them apart from traditional rental options.

How Does BTR Ease the Home Affordability Crisis?

In the United States, the home affordability crisis has been exacerbated by a shortage of affordable rental housing. BTR developments play a pivotal role in addressing this issue by significantly increasing the supply of rental units. According to a report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the BTR sector in the U.S. saw substantial growth in 2021 with nearly 625,000 units either completed or under construction. This surge in supply aims to alleviate the housing shortage and reduce demand pressures, thereby preventing further escalation of rental costs.

BTR properties in the U.S. also offer stable and predictable rental rates to long-term tenants. Unlike in traditional rental setups where even long-term tenants can face sudden and unpredictable increases in rent, BTR developments often provide longer-term leases with predetermined rental rates. Data from the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) reveals that the increases in BTR rental rates have been relatively moderate, with the typical rate averaging around 2.6% annually, compared to the national average of approximately 3.6% for traditional multifamily properties.

Lastly, BTR developments prioritize the long-term viability of the communities they create, fostering stable and well-maintained environments. The National Apartment Association (NAA) emphasizes that the focus in BTR communities is on tenant retention rather than turnover, reducing the costs associated with vacant units. This approach not only benefits tenants by creating lasting, thriving communities but also enhances the sector’s attractiveness to investors.

Why is There Promise for BTR in the Future?

BTR offers investors a distinct advantage by providing a steady and predictable rental income stream. This financial stability is precious, especially when compared to the uncertainties often associated with property sales in volatile real estate markets. Investors can find confidence in the reliable income generated by their BTR investments, fostering a sense of security and promoting long-term financial growth.

The success of BTR properties largely hinges on a tenant-centric approach. Developments in this sector are known for offering on-site management and responsive customer service, always ready to promptly address the tenants’ needs and concerns. This commitment to tenant satisfaction not only elevates the standard of living but also stands as a marked improvement over traditional rental options.

Furthermore, BTR developments play a substantial role in fostering community. Through the creation of purpose-built communities, they nurture a sense of belonging among residents, promoting stability and fostering connections in the neighborhood. This focus on community yields more stable and desirable neighborhoods, as residents are more likely to form lasting connections with their neighbors and actively engage in the communal aspects of their living environment.

How Does BTR Contribute to Urban Development?

Beyond its financial appeal, the BTR sector plays a crucial role in urban development. Many BTR developments are strategically located in urban centers or in areas undergoing revitalization. By offering housing options suitable for a wide demographic including young professionals, families, and empty nesters, BTR contributes to vibrant and sustainable urban communities. This strategy is aligned with broader urban planning objectives, fostering mixed-use developments and reducing urban sprawl.

A Low Vacancy Rate Offers a Competitive Advantage

One measurable benefit of the BTR sector is its ability to maintain low vacancy rates, a factor derived from the high quality of properties, professional management, and the appealing amenities available in these communities. Data from RealPage highlights that the national occupancy rate for all BTR communities and properties in the United States was 94.9% in the second quarter of 2021, showcasing the desirability and resilience of BTR investments.

How Does BTR Bring Professional Property Management to the Forefront?

A significant advantage of BTR is the involvement of professional property management companies dedicated to maintaining properties to the highest standards. These firms ensure prompt attention to maintenance issues and offer superior tenant services, setting BTR apart from traditional rentals. A study by Yardi Matrix corroborates the appeal of this approach, indicating that BTR properties generally experience lower tenant turnover rates compared to conventional rentals, showcasing the advantages of professional management.

What are The Risks of BTR Investments?

While BTR can provide several advantages, it also comes with its own set of risks when compared to traditional real estate investments. Understanding these risks is crucial for investors looking to assess the viability of BTR as an investment option and determine whether it is a better choice in certain circumstances.

  • Market Vulnerability: BTR investments are not immune to market fluctuations. Like any other real estate investment, they are subject to economic downturns, changes in demand, and interest rate fluctuations. If the rental market in a particular area experiences a downturn, BTR investors could face decreased occupancy rates and rental income.
  • Operational Complexity: Managing a BTR property can be more operationally complex compared to traditional real estate investments, as it involves property management on a larger scale. Investors must ensure that properties are well-maintained, tenants’ needs are met, and rental units are consistently occupied. This increased operational burden can lead to higher management costs.
  • Longer Investment Horizon: BTR investments typically require a longer horizon to realize significant returns. Investors may need to hold onto their properties for several years to benefit from the stable income generated by rental income. This might not be suitable for those seeking short-term gains or liquidity.
  • Regulatory Changes: Rental market regulations can change, impacting the profitability of BTR investments. New rent control laws or tax policies can affect rental rates and the overall return on investment. Investors must stay informed about evolving regulatory landscapes and adapt their strategies accordingly.
  • Construction and Development Risks: TR projects often involve substantial upfront capital for construction and development. Delays, cost overruns, or unforeseen construction issues can eat into potential profits. A saturated BTR market can also increase competition for prime locations, driving up development costs.

Why BTR Might Still Be a Better Option

Despite these risks, BTR investments can offer unique advantages that make them a better option in certain situations, as mentioned in previous paragraphs:

  • Steady Cash Flow: BTR investments typically provide a more stable and predictable cash flow than other real estate types. Investors can better plan for expenses and future assets with long-term leases and a consistent rental income stream.
  • Professional Property Management: BTR investments often include professional property management services, reducing the burden on investors. These services handle tenant relations, maintenance, and property upkeep, streamlining operations.
  • Risk Diversification: BTR investments allow investors to diversify their portfolios, reducing the risk associated with individual properties. By investing in multiple BTR units or projects across different locations, investors can spread risk and mitigate the impact of local market fluctuations.
  • Rising Demand for Rentals: The demand for rental housing has been steadily increasing, driven by urbanization, changing demographics, and lifestyle preferences. BTR investments align with this trend, positioning investors to benefit from a growing tenant pool.
  • Hedge Against Economic Uncertainty: BTR investments can hedge against economic uncertainty. During economic downturns, the rental market tends to remain relatively stable, as people often prefer renting over homeownership when facing financial uncertainty.

Where Can I Learn More About BTR Investment Opportunities?

Building a portfolio in the growing BTR sector requires careful research and strategic planning all the basics. Here are many different routes to learning about BTR or securing investments.

Real Estate Market Research Firms

CBRE and JLL are multinational real estate services firms that regularly publish real estate market and reports, including BTR trends and investment opportunities. Their websites offer valuable insights, research papers, and real estate market trend analysis.

Online Real Estate Marketplaces

LoopNet is a popular online marketplace for commercial real estate listings in the United States. You can search for BTR properties and investment property opportunities by location, property type, and price range.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

REITs focused on the BTR sector, such as American Homes 4 Rent (AMH), Equity Residential (EQR), and AvalonBay Communities (AVB), can be excellent sources for BTR investment opportunities. You can find information on their websites and annual reports.

Industry Associations

Joining industry associations like the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) in the U.S. or BTR Forum in the UK can provide networking opportunities and access to BTR market research.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Platforms

Platforms like CrowdStreet and Fundrise allow investors to pool resources to invest in BTR properties. These platforms provide a range of investment options and detailed property information.

Investment Banks and Private Equity Firms

Leading investment banks like Goldman Sachs and private equity firms like Blackstone are active in the BTR sector. Check their websites for information on current and upcoming BTR projects.

Government and Local Authorities

Government websites, particularly in regions with strong BTR markets like the UK, often publish reports and plans related to housing development. For example, the UK government regularly releases data on its BTR initiative.

Real Estate News and Publications

Keep an eye on accurate real estate investors-focused publications like Real Estate Investment News and Multi-Housing News. They frequently feature articles on BTR trends and real estate investment trust opportunities.

Property Development Companies

Some property development and real estate companies specialize in BTR projects—research firms like Greystar or Lendlease for information on their developments and investment opportunities.

Networking Events and Conferences

Attend real estate conferences and networking events focused on the BTR community. These gatherings often feature panel discussions and presentations by industry experts, providing valuable insights and potential connections.

Online Real Estate Forums

Participate in online real estate investor forums like BiggerPockets and The Property Hub where other real estate investors often share insights and opportunities related to BTR and other real estate niches.

Local Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Real estate professionals specializing in multifamily or commercial properties can help you identify BTR opportunities in your desired location. They have access to off-market deals and local insights.

Real Estate Investment Funds

At real estate investment funds such as Arabella Capita, we can provide up to 12% cash flow in your first year of investing with us. Our expert team is focused on sourcing the best opportunities in the Sunbelt region. 

When seeking BTR opportunities, it’s essential to conduct thorough due diligence, assess market conditions, and align your investment strategy with your financial goals and risk tolerance. Always seek professional advice from attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors to make informed investment decisions. Additionally, consider the specific legal and tax implications of investing in BTR properties in your target country or region, as these can vary significantly.

What is the Future of BTR Investments?

single family homes

Investors in the BTR housing market crash to often adopt a long-term perspective. They recognize the potential for stable rental income over an extended period, as built to rent homes. BTR properties typically appeal long term rental, to renters seeking a consistent and high-quality living experience. In 2020, institutional investment in the U.S. BTR sector reached a staggering $45 billion, according to a report by JLL. This influx of capital has expanded the BTR housing market crash and increased the availability of affordable long term rental residence options for Americans.

This long-term approach contrasts with speculative property investments, where the focus may be on quick gains. According to a report by JLL, institutional investors have been increasingly attracted to the BTR sector due to its potential for long-term income growth and resilience in economic downturns in this burgeoning sector. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, BTR is not just a trend; it represents a fundamental transformation in the housing market with far-reaching implications. Arabella Real Estate Fund’s commitment to build to rent home allocating 75% of its portfolio to BTR properties underscores the growing recognition of its potential. This innovative approach to housing addresses critical challenges facing both renters and investors, providing a win-win solution.

BTR properties are designed with consumer demand and the rental market in mind, offering modern amenities, luxury features and community-focused features that enhance both community amenities and tenants’ quality of life. The involvement of professional property management companies ensures efficient maintenance and a high standard of service, fostering stable and well-maintained communities.

These properties play a crucial role in easing the home affordability crisis by down rental prices and significantly increasing the supply of rental units for entire communities. With stable and predictable rental rates, BTR properties provide a level of security for mortgage payments and homeowners insurance that traditional rentals often lack. Additionally build to rent communities, the BTR sector contributes to urban development by using property taxes, strategically locating properties in urban centers, promoting mixed-use developments, and reducing urban sprawl.

While BTR investments come with risks like market vulnerability and operational complexity, they offer unique advantages, including steady cash flow, professional property management, risk diversification, and resilience against economic uncertainty. Investors are increasingly attracted to BTR for its potential for long-term income growth and stability in economic downturns.

As institutional investment in the BTR sector continues to grow, the long term rental future of BTR investments looks promising. This long-term approach contrasts with speculative property investments more space, emphasizing the stability and potential for consistent returns that BTR properties offer.

For those interested in exploring BTR opportunities further, there are numerous avenues for research and other real estate investment company, including real estate stock market, research firms, online marketplaces, real estate investment trusts (REITs), industry associations, crowdfunding platforms, government sources, real estate news, property development companies, networking events, online forums, and local real estate professionals.

Learn More About Built-to-Rent with Arabella Capital

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At Arabella Capital, we focus on mature opportunities in high-growth Sunbelt markets, promising projected returns that present an appealing option for investors eager to capitalize on the BTR sector’s potential. Our commitment to the BTR community is mirrored in our drive to foster developments that yield steady cash flows and robust returns, showcasing the transformative potential of the BTR model in the real estate industry.

As the BTR landscape evolves, staying informed through meticulous research and professional counsel becomes pivotal for investors seeking to make enlightened and successful investments in this vibrant sector. For more insights on BTRBTR properties, visit arabellacapital.com, where we spotlight the Arabella Real Estate Fund’s significant emphasis on BTR, constituting 75% of our portfolio.


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