The Kroll Bond Rating Agency has released its Single-Borrower SFR: Comprehensive Surveillance Report:
Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) recently completed a comprehensive surveillance review of its rated universe of 23 single-borrower, single-family rental (SFR) securitizations. In connection with these transactions, 132 ratings are outstanding, all of which have been affirmed. The transactions have an aggregate outstanding principal balance of $13.0 billion, of which $12.6 billion is rated. These transactions have been issued by six sponsors, which own approximately 159,700 properties, 90,649 of which are included in the securitizations that are covered in this report. (3)
This business model took off during the depths of the Great Recession when capital-rich companies were able to buy up single-family homes on the cheap and in bulk. While the Kroll report is geared toward the interests of investors, it contains much of interest for those interested in housing policy more generally. I found two highlights to be particularly interesting:
- The 90,649 properties underlying the subject transactions have, on average, appreciated in value by 10.2% since the issuance dates of the respective transactions . . . (4)
- The underlying collateral has exhibited positive operating performance with the exception of expenses. Contractual rental rates have continued to increase, vacancy rates declined (but remain above issuance levels), tenant retention rates have remained relatively stable, and delinquency rates have remained low. (Id.)
KBRA’s overall sector outlook for deal performance is
positive given current rental rates, which have risen since institutional investors entered the SFR space, although the rate of increase has slowed. Future demand for single-family rental housing will be driven by the affordability of rents relative to home ownership costs as well as the availability of mortgage financing. In addition, homeownership rates are expected to continue to decline due to changing demographics. Recent data released by the Urban Institute shows the percentage of renters as a share of all households growing from 35% as of the 2010 US Decennial Census to 37% in 2020 and increasing to 39% by 2030. Furthermore, 59% of new household formations are expected to be renters. Against this backdrop, KBRA believes single-borrower SFR securitizations have limited term default risk. However, there has been limited seasoning across the sector, and no refinancing has occurred to date. As such, these transactions remain more exposed to refinance risk. (9)
Kroll concludes that things look good for players in this sector. It does seem that large companies have figured out how to make money notwithstanding the higher operating costs for single-family rentals compared to geographically concentrated multifamily units.
I am not sure what this all means for households themselves. Given long-term homeownership trends, it may very well be good for households to have another rental option out there, one that makes new housing stock available to them. Or it might mean that households will face more competition when shopping for a home. Both things are probably true, although not necessarily both for any particular household.