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Boston single-family homes for rent jumped in past 10 years: Report

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Nation’s second-steepest increase

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The number of single-family homes for rent in the Boston area increased 63 percent, to 13,400, from 2007 to 2016, according to a new analysis of Census data from real estate research and listings site RentCafe.

That was the second-steepest increase among major U.S. metro areas, behind only Phoenix, and well ahead of the 20 percent increase in the number of apartments in the region. Boston was just ahead of Fort Worth, Texas, in the increase in single-families for rent; Austin and Charlotte tied for the fourth-sharpest increase.

The Boston region might’ve seen an even steeper increase in the number of single-families for rent had its housing market been more volatile from 2007 to 2016, according to RentCafe. That’s what spurred Phoenix’s 77 percent bounce—“some of the largest numbers of foreclosures and sharpest drops in home values during the housing bust...”

As it turned out, the Boston area’s housing prices remained fairly stable coming out of last decade’s bust. And, even with the precipitous rise in the number of single-family rentals, the vast majority of the region’s rental stock remains apartments in multifamily buildings. See the chart below.