NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Total Returns to Single Family Rentals

Andrea Eisfeldt, Andrew Demers

NBER Working Paper No. 21804
Issued in December 2015, Revised in February 2018
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Corporate Finance, Economic Fluctuations and Growth

The market value of US Single Family Rental assets is $2.3 trillion, yet we believe that we provide the first systematic analysis of total returns to Single Family Rentals over a long time period, in a broad and granular cross section. Analogous to the dividend yields and capital gains that constitute total equity returns, total returns to single family rentals have two components: rental yields and house price appreciation. It is crucial to account for both total return inputs, both because they contribute approximately equally to returns at the national level, and because they are negatively correlated in the cross section of US cities. While the aggregate US Single Family Rental portfolio has historically benefitted equally from each of the two return components, high price tier cities accrued more capital gains, while low price tier cities had higher net rental yields. As a result, measures of returns that focus on either component individually will be systematically biased in the cross section. Within cities, we show that lower price tier zip codes have higher total returns as a result of both higher yields and higher house price appreciation.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21804

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