Big landlords raise rents in suburbs as demand surges

Asking rents at corporate properties rose 7.5 percent


Even though many Americans are still struggling with unemployment and the threat of eviction, large owners of single-family homes are raising rents at their fastest level since the great financial crisis.

Asking rents for available properties owned by corporate home-rental firms rose 7.5 percent in October, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing figures from Green Street, a real estate analytics firm. This marked the fifth straight month of year-over-year increases and the biggest since 2014.

Companies like Invitation Homes and American Homes 4 Rent are trying to capitalize on an influx of demand for suburban housing and are seeing occupancy levels at record highs, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The demand we see today is totally insatiable, and it’s growing,” American Homes CEO David Singelyn told the Journal.

Much of the growth is coming from transplants from expensive coastal cities, with tenants seeking cheaper alternatives. Existing tenants are accepting rent increases instead of moving out, and new renters are looking for larger homes with outdoor space.

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Smaller landlords are also raising rents, but not as much as larger investors who base prices on computer programs that match rents with demand.

Larger companies also have to appease investors. Rents increased more than 5 percent in places where corporate landlords control a greater market-share, including Atlanta, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Kansas City, Missouri.

American Homes 4 Rent and Invitation Homes have seen their stock prices rise during the pandemic, with shares up 60 percent and 71 percent, respectively, since March 23, according to the Journal.

[WSJ] — Keith Larsen