For Montana families, buying a home is an uphill battle. But, they still need the space: for growing kids, work-from-home setups, care arrangements for elderly relatives, or more room for outdoor recreation vehicles. One alternative to traditional home ownership has emerged: build-to-rent communities of single-family-rentals (SFRs).
These SFR communities feature traditional houses managed by a single company and may include duplexes, rowhomes, and cottage-style homes. SFRs may be built on individual subdivided lots, though there are also examples of these communities built on a single, un-subdivided parcel.
The pros are evident: no shared walls, outdoor space, and more square footage than most traditional apartments. SFR developments can also provide a community for tenants. Shared gardens, playgrounds, and other common areas can cultivate a sense of neighborliness.
For developers, the option offers flexibility in uncertain economic environments, where developers can prepare for sale or rent as the market dictates. In many cases, subdivisions can have both for-sale and for-rent options.
While the ability to rent and enjoy a new home will improve the quality of life for many households, this option doesn’t build equity. And, bigger spaces come with bigger price tags. For tenants, more landscaping and extra upkeep on things like snow removal might be a con.
Another issue for Montana is availability. While there are some SFRs, demand is much higher than supply. The state has yet to catch up to demand, though some groups are planning to use new construction methods to amp up SFR production.
Nationally, in 2021, the construction of single-family-rentals outpaced the production of single-family houses for sale. But, there are currently no build-to-rent communities in the Missoula market.
For renters looking for a larger home, the city’s limited stock of three-bedroom apartments and individual single-family homes are still the only options to rent more space.
But the future should have more options, with most new SFR development set for the Sxwtpqyen area. For more information on build-to-rent communities or SFRs, contact the SterlingCRE team at 406-203-4547.