Despite variability in the commercial real estate market, Bluerock still maintains high conviction in the residential sector. We hold confidence in the sector due to:

  • National housing shortage
  • Strong sector fundamentals
  • Unaffordable homeownership
  • Demographic changes
  • Single-family subsector lacking institutional ownership

“The U.S. still faces a long-term housing shortage that should bolster rental demand over the next five years.”


The residential sector is still on solid footing despite a large amount of supply that was delivered during 2022 and is expected to be delivered in 2023. CBRE states that over the next two years, a near-record 716,000 new multifamily housing units will be delivered. Despite this large increase in supply, CBRE forecasts national vacancy to peak at only 5.2%. As shown below, CBRE contemplates there is still a more than 3.0-million-unit housing shortage at the end of 2022. Additionally, CBRE projects the market will need an additional 3.5 million units by 2035 to keep up with demand, while Green Street believes an additional 4.7 million units over the next five years will be needed. This delta in supply and demand is a key driver of the residential sector’s resilient performance and is pushing the sector’s fundamentals.

Housing Surplus/Shortage

Source: CBRE, Looming Multifamily Oversupply Likely Will Be Short-Lived, March 2023

Green Street expects this supply shortage to be exacerbated by the unfavorable capital market conditions stifling development economics on a go-forward basis. As shown below, new supply is forecasted to fall sharply after 2024, when projects with prior financing have been completed.

Multifamily Supply Growth

Source: Green Street, Residential Sector Update, March 2023

Multiple sources including Green Street, Marcus & Millichap, CBRE, and Axiometrics are forecasting healthy occupancy and positive rent growth into the foreseeable future. As shown below, Axiometrics projects 17.9% cumulative rent growth and 95.1% average occupancy through Q2 2028.

National Apartment Market Trends

Source: Axiometrics National Market Trends, Q1 2023

Historically high homeownership prices continue to keep renters out of the housing market. As shown below home prices have reached record price appreciation…

Home Prices Capping Off Record Run
National Affordability Gap is Historically Extreme

Source: Marcus & Millichap 2023 Multifamily National Investment Forecast

…which has led to the national affordability gap hitting extreme levels. The national affordability gap doubled year-over-year in Q3 2022. This significant difference in costs drives renter demand at a time when inflation has eroded household budgets.

Additionally, according to Green Street, the homeownership rate will decline over the next several years. They say this is being caused by median home prices escalating 40% over the past three years, coupled with mortgage rates doubling into the mid-6% range. An aging renter base should be expected to move into their homeownership age, but due to the unaffordability of homeownership, will be forced to rent longer.

National Homeownership Rate

Source: Green Street Apartment Outlook 2023

Residential: Single Family Rentals (SFR)

Over the next five years, it is expected across the top 25 SFR markets that the growth of the younger cohort will decelerate meaningfully and the 35–44-year-olds will see a strong acceleration helping support SFR demand. Additional growth is expected into the next decade suggesting a solid runway of demand for SFR operators.

1,200 1,000 800 600 25-34 Year Olds 2018–2022 Source: Green Street, Residential Insights, July 2023 35-44 Year Olds 400 200 0 2023E–2027E Nominal Population Growth (000’s) in Top 25 Single-Family Residential Markets -80% +35%

As folks decide on a housing option, many decide between an apartment, a singlefamily home for rent, or a home purchase. Looking at the relative value between the three, renting a home provides more value on a per foot basis. Assuming no changes to the cost of apartments and ownership, SFR rents could climb 50% higher to return to its historical relationship.

2019 $1.25 $1.00 $0.90 $1.60 $1.70 $1.10 3-Bedroom Apartment* Source: Green Street, Residential Insights, July 2023 Today Total Monthly Ownership Cost** Monthly Cost / Rent per Sq. Ft. Single-Family Rentals Average 2015-2019 Avg. Spread BetweenOwnership Cost and SFR Rents Per Ft.: ~5% Today’s Spread BetweenOwnership Cost and SFR Rents Per Ft.: ~55%

According to John Burns Consulting, almost all single-family rental homes are owned by mom-and-pop investors. As shown below, only 3% of the single-family rental market is owned by institutional investors. This provides a significant opportunity for institutions to earn economies of scale and outsized growth in the subsector.

Single-Family Rental Ownership

Source: John Burns Consulting, Single-Family Rental Analysis, and Forecast, December 2022

Despite a mean-reversion from Pandemic Era performance, the residential sector will continue to provide positive returns due to the national housing shortage, strong fundamentals, unaffordable homeownership, demographic shifts, and institutional opportunity in the single-family rental sector.