There is increasing demand for single family rentals. What does that mean for new product? And how can the housing community innovate to capture the right share of that demand?

One of the most pronounced shifts in the housing market since the financial crisis has been the evolution of the single-family rental (SFR) market. Today, single-family rentals (one-unit, attached and detached) account for 35 percent of the country’s 44 million rental units, compared with 31 percent in 2006. More than half of renters live in structures with less than four units.

The Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center recently hosted a panel discussion with three single-family rental experts: Douglas Bendt from Investability, Sandeep Bordia from Amherst Capital Management, and Calvin Schnure from the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts (NAREIT). Their conversation illuminated five important facts everyone should know about this growing market:

1. Single-family rental is the fastest-growing segment of the housing market.
2. Changing demographics and housing market conditions will continue to fuel the rental growth.
3. Institutional investors are tiny players in the single-family rental market.
4. The geographic focus of institutional investing in SFRs has shifted.
5. Future growth of institutional investor in SFRs is all up in the air.

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