'Proptech' Companies Target Single-Family Rental Market

Startups aimed at streamlining the house-flipping process are seeking out rental property owners as the popularity of single-family rentals continues to grow.

2 minute read

March 21, 2022, 8:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

"Skyrocketing home prices and billions in institutional cash have made the U.S. single-family rental market extremely hot. More than a third of U.S. rentals are now single-family homes; demand is so huge Wall Street investors have created an $85 billion market to build ground-up single-family rental neighborhoods." 

Patrick Sisson reports on new software platforms like FlipOS that want to provide a system for streamlining the process of buying, repairing and managing multiple properties for property owners. "The company works with everyone from mom-and-pop investors to institutional buyers, and started collaborating with Phoenix-area flippers last February to try and figure out what he calls the flipper’s 'black magic' — the ability to find houses and do a quick and fast renovation — and then standardize it." But, Sisson writes, "It’s difficult to document just what the spread of this software could do to an already overheated single-family rental market. Rents have jumped 35% year-over-year, hitting $2,160 median rent across the U.S. in February, according to home rental marketplace Dwellsy."

In fast-growing cities like Phoenix, where one-bedroom rents spiked by 117 percent between September 2020 and September 2021, the need for affordable housing is dire. "But the region simply can’t build its way out of its housing crisis without a lot more density, says Alison Cook-Davis, associate director of research at Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy." But the popularity of the single-family rental market could push investors to aggressively promote build-to-rent development of single-family neighborhoods.

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