Over the past several years, metro Atlanta has firmly established itself as a national leader when it comes to building houses for renting instead of purchasing—for better or worse.

That’s according to a new analysis by RentCafe, which has found that metro Atlanta ranked third in the U.S. for the amount of build-to-rent, or BTR, houses constructed in 2023.

Across metro Atlanta, 1,981 BTR homes popped up last year, marking a 10-year high. Only the metro areas of Phoenix (4,030 units) and Dallas (2,694), respectively, saw more, according to RentCafe, a national apartment search website.

Over the past five years, BTR construction in metro Atlanta has exploded by 646 percent, accounting for more than 3,500 homes, according to the analysis. Again, Atlanta ranks third in the nation for the sheer amount of BTR construction over that time period.

Between 2014 and 2018, just 217 BTR homes were built across metro Atlanta, illustrating how the trend has caught fire in more recent years, as RentCafe analysts point out.

Courtesy of RentCafe

The product type has drawn criticism from some municipalities and residents in metro Atlanta who contend it consumes valuable, limited land with housing that doesn’t allow occupants to build equity through homeownership.

Proponents argue the housing type allows for more flexibility than mortgages, and that it's key in transient markets like metro Atlanta. RentCafe, which obviously has a vested interest, calls BTR an “adaptation of the American Dream.”

On a national basis, the 45,000 BTR units in the U.S. pipeline represent an all-time high right now, with each of them expected to deliver over the next couple of years, per RentCafe’s third annual Build-to-Rent Construction Report.

Courtesy of RentCafe

It’s important to note the study—which relied on data from RentCafe’s sister company, Yardi Matrix—took into account only BTR communities with 50 single-family units or more. So that bungalow being flipped as a rental down your street doesn’t count.

On a related note, an earlier RentCafe study this year forecasted Atlanta as being the No. 1 city for rental activity in 2024, citing the city’s “transformed Midtown and IT brainpower source Georgia Tech” as major factors in keeping the city on renters’ radar.

Courtesy of RentCafe

Courtesy of RentCafe


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