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Unlocking the Future of Build-To-Rent Housing at the Annual Build-to-Rent Forum (East)

Goulston & Storrs participated in the 9th Annual Build-to-Rent Forum (East) that took place on March 20-21 in Nashville, Tennessee. This conference focused on the latest trends and business strategies in build-to-rent housing (or BTR for short), which is an asset that continues to gain momentum across the United States. The conference provided homebuilders, developers, private equity investors, real estate fund professionals, and various service providers an opportunity to make connections and share real-time market intelligence.

Over the course of the two-day conference, several themes emerged:

  • Changing Demographics. Industry participants believe that the demand for BTR housing will continue to grow and that potential residents are choosing rental housing increasingly as a lifestyle choice as opposed to a financial necessity. Homebuilders, developers, and investors have several target groups, including young professionals and families who prioritize proximity to city cores and/or good schools, pet owners who are looking for private yards, and retirees who are looking for cottage-style living.
  • Attainable even if not Affordable. There seems to be an industry-wide conviction in the need for more BTR housing. While it might not be affordable housing by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac standards, BTR housing is attainable to many people of varying backgrounds and housing needs, and industry participants believe they need to remedy a general shortage of housing supply in growing markets. Even in the current phase of market uncertainty and increased transaction and insurance costs, builders intend to continue building BTR housing.  
  • More Education is Needed. Some regional banks continue to be involved in the BTR space, but as a relatively new asset class, lenders may not be aware of or lack sufficient knowledge regarding BTR housing. Consequently, there seems to be a lack of financing opportunities, particularly for smaller (i.e., less than $10MM) BTR projects. Industry participants should continue to educate lenders about the differences between BTR communities and multifamily housing to dispel any concerns regarding potential oversaturation of the rental housing market, which in turn could increase the number of potential sources of capital available for BTR projects.

Reflecting on the discussions and insights gleaned from the 9th Annual Build-to-Rent Forum, it is evident that BTR is poised for continued expansion. Goulston & Storrs remains committed to contributing to the growth and success of the BTR sector as it continues to evolve and mature in years to come. 


real estate, perspective