October 2015

Large-Scale Buy-to-Rent Investors in the Single-Family Housing Market: The Emergence of a New Asset Class?

James Mills, Raven S. Molloy, and Rebecca E. Zarutskie


In 2012, several large firms began purchasing single-family homes with the stated intention of creating large portfolios of rental property. We present the first systematic evidence on how this new investor activity differs from that of other investors in the housing market. Many aspects of buy-to-rent investor behavior are consistent with holding property for rent rather than reselling quickly. Additionally, the large size of these investors imparts a few important advantages. In the short run, this investment activity appears to have supported house prices in the areas where it is concentrated. The longer-run impacts remain to be seen.

Accessible materials (.zip)

Keywords: Institutional investors, buy-to-rent, ownership structure, real estate investors, rental housing, securitization, single-family rental

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.084

PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: June 19, 2020