Vulnerability and opportunity: making sense of the rise in single-family rentals in US neighbourhoods

Deirdre Pfeiffer, Alex Schafran, Jake Wegmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The growth of single-family rentals (SFRs) in the wake of the US foreclosure crisis has recently begun attracting overdue scholarly attention. The transformation of millions of single-family homes from owner- to renter- occupied over the past decade raises numerous important questions about the vulnerabilities and opportunities created by this historic tenure shift for both households and neighbourhoods. This research reports on the demographics and housing conditions of single-family renters and the characteristics and trajectories of high SFR growth neighbourhoods over the recent housing market cycle. We show that SFRs are distinguished by their high prevalence of children, particularly those living in poverty, and conspicuous lack of tenant protections. Further, SFR growth is most intense in racially diverse yet economically segregated neighbourhoods. Overall, these findings suggest the need for urgent policy responses to reduce vulnerabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1046
Number of pages21
JournalHousing Studies
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021


  • Housing tenure
  • neighbourhoods
  • private rented sector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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