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Homebuyers Expand Their Options With Rent-to-Own Homes

Javelin Strategy & Research’s newest report, Mortgage Pandemic or Just the Sniffles: Fast-Track Cures and Long-Haul Boosters, reveals that 55% of Gen Zers and 37% of millennials would consider rent-to-own agreements as an alternative to homebuying. However, due to low awareness and availability of rental properties with an option to buy later, rent-to-own agreements make up less than 2% of living situations.

“We heard from hundreds of consumers on triggers and questions about rent-to-buy, most desirable features, regional differences, and, notably, interest for second homes and investment properties. The level of excitement and passion was surprising,” said Babs Ryan, lead analyst for the digital lending practice at Javelin.

Deals come in a variety of options. What happens upon opting in or out to buy varies widely, affecting factors that include share of monthly payment put aside for down payment, purchase price of the property, and exit fees. In some cases, the lessor purchases a property selected by the renter, according to the new report.

Javelin’s study found that consumers are interested in—and motivated by—taking a house and a neighborhood for a ‘test drive,’ when exploring rent-to-own options.

In the U.S., celebrities Jay Z and Will Smith are among investors in pick-your-own-property-to-rent-to-own startup Landis Technologies. In the UK, Lloyds Bank is focusing on rentals. Not only does it offer “buy-to-let” mortgages, but it recently launched Citra Living, a foray into the build-to-rent market.

Javelin recommends that lenders shift from a focus on mortgages to a suite of living solutions, centered on the flow and changes in people’s lives rather than on financial products. Catering to renters and those in multigenerational households, beyond solutions for ownership, engages a greater population than homeowners, since 14.3 million renters plan to move in the next 12 months vs. 5.4 million homeowners, according to Census data.

“As evidenced by the low buy-conversion rate, U.S. rent-to-own models need rehabbing, including innovative business models, non-traditional investors and management, partnerships with real estate agent and other non-financial parties, and data-driven marketing gurus,” said Ryan. “Consumers’ primary and favored digital lenders in five to seven years are unlikely to be financial ‘institutions’ or fin-anythings.”

In addition to rent-to-own options, Mortgage Pandemic or Just the Sniffles: Fast-Track Cures and Long-Haul Boosters prescribes other digital-first options and tech-enabled remedies to capture leads and market share, boost conversion, and help ailing home lenders get better fast.

To read the full report and learn more about Javelin Strategy and Research’s digital lending practice, click here.

About Author: Demetria Lester

Demetria C. Lester is a reporter for DS News and MReport magazines with more than eight years of writing experience. She has served as content coordinator and copy editor for the Los Angeles Daily News and the Orange County Register, in addition to 11 other Southern California publications. A former editor-in-chief at Northlake College and staff writer at her alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, she has covered events such as the Byron Nelson and Pac-12 Conferences, progressing into her freelance work with the Dallas Wings and D Magazine. Currently located in Dallas, Texas, Lester is an avid jazz lover and likes to read. She can be reached at [email protected].

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