Almost 40 percent of Dallas-area residents are renters.
For most of those folks, that means apartments.
But a new development trend is offering another option to local residents who want to rent the roofs over their heads. Arizona-based developer NexMetro Communities is building the second of what it hopes will be several communities that provide renters small single-family homes.
The Avilla Northside development in McKinney, Texas, and the already-open Avilla Premier project in Plano each have more than 100 homes, a swimming pool and outdoor spaces in gated communities.
“You get the privacy of the single-family lifestyle with the maintenance and services you’d expect from an apartment project,” said NexMetro’s vice president Ryan Griffis. “The privacy is probably the number one aspect of why renters choose to live here.”
The brick and stone homes each have a small backyard and range in size from about 650 square feet for a one-bedroom unit to 1,300 square feet for the largest three-bedroom. The houses rent from less than $1,400 to just over $2,000 a month, depending on size and location.
Griffis said about 50 percent of his firm’s renters were previously homeowners. “We are drawing pre-seniors and empty nesters,” he said. “We are drawing young professionals who have animals and are looking for privacy.”
Griffis said his firm’s renters stay longer than tenants in traditional apartments — more than two years on average.
NexMetro’s Plano community, which has 120 units, opened late last summer and is more than 90 percent leased. NexMetro said it designs the bijou homes in styles that mimic traditional single-family neighborhoods in the area.
Its projects in Arizona are flat-roofed with stucco and stone exteriors and cactus in the yard. In North Texas, the houses are craftsman style with wood, red brick and Austin stone exteriors.
“We are working hard with our design team on what the Texas style is,” Griffis said. “I think you will see some different iterations in our other projects in the area.”
The Arizona builder isn’t the only company in this field.
Lewisville’s Castle Hills development is adding a community of 72 rental homes. Called the Cottages at the Realm, homes in the development will rent for $2,736 a month and up and range from 1,844 to 2,777 square feet.
And apartment developer Greystar is building about a dozen single-family rental homes as part of its new apartment community in North Dallas at Inwood Road and Forest Lane.
“This is something that a lot of different companies are exploring on a small scale,” said Greg Willett, top economist with Richardson-based RealPage. “There is certainly room in the market for this, but it’s not going to become the dominant rental option.
“Millennials are getting older and having kids and they need more space but aren’t necessarily ready to buy,” Willett said. “We’ve seen a run-up in single-family rental demand in this cycle.”