Build-for-Rent (BFR) Lessons Learned: Strategies for BFR in Master-Planned Communities (MPCs)

Build-for-Rent (BFR) Lessons Learned: Strategies for BFR in Master-Planned Communities (MPCs)


Here are some lessons learned from the experts at our recent third annual Build-for-Rent Virtual Strategy Summit.

BFR increases lot absorption and improves return on capital for master plan community (MPC) developers. 

  • BFR allows builders and developers to diversify their portfolio to include another major consumer segment.
    • All panelists agreed that there is room and demand for multiple home designs of BFR communities within most MPCs.
  • Lot size is less important to renters than owners. Relative to for-sale product, BFR operators and developers can provide higher-density lots/homes within MPCs, allowing for increased return on capital for land developers.
  • Affordability favors renting. Higher mortgage rates are challenging for-sale affordability—resulting in more current rental home tenants staying in place and some potential buyers moving to the sidelines as they can no longer afford to purchase a home, benefiting the BFR industry. See our recent newsletter on demand shifting from owning to renting.
  • BFR operators provide additional land buying demand to MPC developers. The more robust overall absorption pace within the MPC will also be beneficial to any retail uses within the community.
  • Many BFR tenants eventually buy for-sale homes in the community.

Preferences and demographics are a tailwind for the BFR/SFR industry.

  • Many consumers rent by choice and want the lifestyle provided within MPCs.
    • Millennials are in family formation years, with many purchasing homes, and others are choosing to remain renters and selecting dedicated BFR neighborhoods.
    • BFR communities provide flexibility to move, eliminate the repair and maintenance headaches, and give renters a chance to rent a new home in a community near diverse employment bases and good schools.
    • These BFR neighborhoods often include on-site leasing and maintenance, and their own amenities.  This product is a great alternative for growing renter families that desire privacy relative to more densely built apartments with common hallways and elevators.
  • Amenities make communities more valuable—driving higher rents. Building a sense of community can enhance the rent premium.
    • From our analysis of our BFR community database, these are the top community amenities offered:
      • On-site maintenance
      • Pool
      • Clubhouse
      • BBQ area
      • Walking trails
      • Fitness center
      • Dog park

Our consulting team has been busy across the country helping clients evaluate new BFR communities every day—in markets you would expect and many you might not. Our research team continues to keep our clients up to date with thoughtful insight on where the market is headed with our housing and economic forecasts on both the for-sale and for-rent markets.

To learn more about the single-family rental and/or build-for-rent market, fill out this form or contact Danielle Nguyen and Don Walker and we can walk you through how we can help you make informed strategic decisions or show you our research membership.


Danielle Nguyen If you have any questions, please contact Danielle at (949) 870-1247 or by email.
Don Walker If you have any questions, please contact Don at (858) 281-7212 or by email.