By Shelley Sakala, Realtor

While everyone has been focusing on the surge in home values over the past couple of years, a new housing trend has quietly emerged: build-to-rent single-family housing. The concept blends the features of houses, apartments, and condos into fresh approach that’s making people reconsider their views on renting.

There was a time when renting was only something you did “until you were able to buy.” But times – and perceptions – have changed. Over the past decade a new class of home renters has emerged: those who can afford to buy a house but prefer not to. Builders have recognized this opportunity and responded by creating gated luxury rental communities of single-family houses. These houses come with an impressive slate of amenities, such as swimming pools, fitness centers, and resort-style grounds. The interiors have high-end design features, and often include a modest backyard and private patio area. Like an apartment, the financial commitment is limited to the terms of the lease. Once the lease is up, residents are free to move on without worrying about finding a buyer. And unlike an apartment, residents never hear the footsteps of upstairs neighbors, nor will they share a wall with anyone.

In our post-pandemic, work-from-home culture, many people have grown weary of life inside a vertical tower shared with 300 other renters. Downtown areas throughout the country are emptying out as residents look for homes with a little more breathing room. And with many companies shifting to permanent remote work situations, the chance to bid farewell to elevators and staircases has never been more appealing.

Part of the lure of single-family housing rentals is the maintenance-free aspect. A swimming pool you never have to clean. A house you never have to paint. Professionally landscaped green spaces you’ll never have to mow, trim, prune, thin, or rake.

If there are any cons to go with the list of pros, it would be the absence of investment potential. Unlike a home purchase, which serves not only as a domicile but also as an appreciable asset, a single-family rental is not an investment. You’ll neither make nor lose money by living there. Home ownership presents several financial opportunities that renting does not, such as building equity and borrowing against it.

The National Association of Home Builders reports a nearly 30% increase of build-to-rent single-family homes from 2019 to 2020. And there are no signs of this growth slowing down. If you’re curious about the concept of single-family rental communities, check out Deer Valley’s own Avilla ( This amenity-rich, pet-friendly community boasts beautiful common areas, a lot of privacy, and easy freeway access. With the new semiconductor manufacturing facility coming to the North Phoenix corridor, I would anticipate properties like Avilla to be in high demand for people relocating to fill those 1,900 forthcoming new jobs.

For a housing market that’s creaking at the hinges as our local population expands, the addition of new communities may provide some much-needed relief for anyone in need of a home-sweet-home.

Shelley Sakala is a local Realtor with The Sakala Group. See their ad on the back cover for more information.