Skip to main content
Research Publication

Single-Family Rental Housing – The Fastest Growing Component of the Rental Market

March 16, 2012


One well-publicized consequence of the housing recession has been a decline in the homeownership rate in the U.S.  Falling house prices, job losses, increased foreclosures, and tightened consumer mortgage credit have all contributed to this trend.  Not only has this led to an increase in the rate of rentership overall, it has contributed to a marked increase in the role of single-family rental units.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS), from 2005 to 2010 single-family rental units as a share of the renter-occupied stock grew from 30.8 percent to 33.5 percent, which was the largest increase among all rental property types.      

This Data Note uses the ACS to explore the shift from homeownership to renting and to shed light on the single-family rental market.  At the national level, we focus on the overall demographic characteristics of single-family renters such as age, income, and household size.  At the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) level, we analyze the varying rates of change in market share of single-family rental units. 

Given recent housing policy discussions around utilizing a “REO-to-Rental” program to help clear the housing supply overhang, analysis of this trend is particularly timely.  In this Data Note, we begin to uncover details of a market that has been the subject of little research, yet has had a significant impact on the economy and housing market. 

Fannie Mae Data Note (March 2012) (PDF)