Dear ConsultantBuild-to-RentMaster-Planned Communities

Dear Consultant: Exploring Build-to-Rent Projects within Master-Planned Communities

Ken Perlman Headshot

Ken Perlman

January 31, 2024

Your questions, our expertise.

Are BTR projects within MPCs attracting a different renter than those outside MPCs?

Build-to-rent (“BTR”) homes are becoming a more significant part of the master-planned community (MPC) space, and they do attract a different renter. BTR renters choose planned communities for the same reasons homebuyers do. These include a sense of community, health, and wellness with amenities tied to the outdoors and nature, issues of safety and security, and convenience with access to schools and shopping. Renter profiles for BTR within MPCs include:

Family renters

According to our recent BTR tenant survey, 63% of BTR tenants, including more than 70% of renters in single-family detached homes and 70% of young families, plan to purchase their next home. MPCs typically benefit from solid schools and amenities—what better place to buy than in the community where they are already renting?

In the Southwest, Jeff Brazel noted examples like BB Living at Union Park and neighborhoods by American Homes 4 Rent in Kings Crossings in Craig Ranch (Las Vegas) and Cadence (Las Vegas) all appeal to family renters with lower density offerings, higher bedroom counts, larger outdoor spaces, fenced private yards, and attached garages. 

In Salt Lake City, Kristin Matthews highlights West View Village by AMH at Daybreak, which appeals to families by offering detached homes, often with finished basements and high bedroom counts.

In Texas, Bryan Lawrence notes that BB Living’s Harvest neighborhood in Argyle, Texas, and its Light Farms in Celina are examples of BTR neighborhoods in planned communities in Dallas-Fort Worth. Each offers 3- and 4-bedroom, single-family detached homes catering to families who prefer to rent in well-energized communities with good schools and amenities. Bryan notes that those services and amenities often result in rent premiums for BTR homes in MPCs, much like in the for-sale space.

Singles and couples

In Sarasota, Estia, Artesia, and the Tides at Lakewood Ranch offer smaller villa and cottage products, attracting snowbirds, singles, and couples who work in the area.

In Phoenix, Christopher Todd Communities at Marley Park and Taylor Morrison’s Yardly at Verrado also target this renter profile.

Final word

But even when BTR products are of higher density, villa-style developers frequently cater products to families when building within planned communities. Cavan Companies’ Bungalows (in Asante in Phoenix) and Moderne Communities projects (in Rocking K and Gladen Farms in Tucson) offer 1–2-bedroom homes but include twice as many 3-bedroom units as their non-MPC counterparts.

At Nexton [in Summerville, South Carolina], the Villas have gotten strong attention from families relocating for jobs, people who have contracts, and are building homes there,” says Peter Dennehy, Senior Vice President at JBREC. Peter also points out that unique six-month leases are attractive to renters and snowbirds who only want to rent for part of the year.

In summary, BTR projects within MPCs seem to be attracting renters who are more family-oriented, value community amenities, and are potentially interested in long-term investments in the community (like buying a home). In contrast, BTR projects outside MPCs may attract a broader range of renters.

We received many great Dear Consultant questions. Keep them coming, and we’ll continue to provide insight from our consulting team nationwide. You can submit questions or subscribe to the newsletter here.

This article was last updated on 2/6/2024

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About The Author

Ken Perlman Headshot
Ken Perlman
Managing Principal
Ken works with real estate executives to help them make appropriate strategic decisions regarding their residential communities, including for-sale and rental of all types. He has a particular specialty in large-scale master-planned communities.

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