Source: New York Times—
The lawns are manicured. The swimming pools sparkle in the sun. And the homes, all of them turnkey and smelling of fresh paint, are lined up in tidy rows, an army of cookie-cutter porches standing at attention.
Covid-19 inflamed the real estate market, pushed Americans toward the suburbs and changed our relationship with where we live, work and play. It also accelerated interest in built-to-rent housing, which even before the pandemic was expanding at a breakneck pace.
The number of built-to-rent homes — single-family homes constructed expressly for the purpose of renting — increased 30 percent from 2019 to 2020. Today, they make up about 6 percent of all new homes being built in the United States, and that number is poised to double in the next 10 years. This is the fastest-growing sector of the American housing market, and it is increasingly master-planned and built on tracts. On the fringes of America’s second-tier cities, entire villages owned by large-scale investors are popping up, offering renters who either can’t or don’t want to spring for a down payment another path to the American dream.