By Bill Hethcock – Senior Reporter, Dallas Business Journal
Dallas-based Republic Property Group, best known as a developer of masterplanned communities, jumped into the build-for-rent market because it was concerned that rising home prices were threatening housing affordability for many buyers. Tony Ruggeri, co-CEO of RPG, provides an update on the company’s latest build-for-rent community in Cedar Hill.
Construction is wrapping up this month at the Cottages at Waterford, a 158-home community by Republic Property Group in Cedar Hill. So far, 33 of the 158 homes at Cottages at Waterford have leased.
Dallas-based Republic Property Group, best known as a developer of masterplanned communities, jumped into the build-for-rent market because it was concerned that rising home prices were threatening housing affordability for many buyers.
The affordability challenge has only intensified as mortgage rates have risen since the launch of Record Street Residential, a sub- brand formed by Republic Property Group to focus on the build- for-rent market.
Republic has 602 build-for-rent homes under construction in Dallas-Fort Worth and is set to start construction in September on another 199 in a standalone community next to its big Light Farms masterplanned community in Celina.
Construction is wrapping up this month at the Cottages at Waterford, a 158-home community in Cedar Hill.
So far, 33 of the 158 homes at Cottages at Waterford are leased, said Tony Ruggeri, co-CEO of Republic Property Group.
Homes in the community lease for as little as $1,825 a month for a one-bedroom with a one-car garage and a private yard and they go up to $2,870 a month for a three-bedroom with a private yard and a two-car garage.
“The leasing has been really strong, even with the current environment,”Ruggeri said.
Ruggeri spoke to the Dallas Business Journal about Cottages at Waterford and the state of the build-for-rent market in Dallas-Fort Worth.
What is Cedar Hill like from a developer’s perspective?
Cedar Hill is a community that has a lot of pride of ownership. Everything is really taken care of and there is a really strong sense of community. The city council is strong. The city staff and the city administration has been visionary since the beginning in exploring this new product and creating the setting with us to be able to do this. They have remained engaged throughout the process, which has been great. They’ve been a pleasure to work with. And it’s really close to downtown Dallas. When we think about this product, a lot of it is driven by employment and the access to jobs, and Cedar Hill is not very far from downtown. It’s an easy drive on an improved section of highway and it’s been really great.
What is the state of the build-for-rent space in DFW?
In the masterplanned community space, which has been our focus for generations, affordability in Dallas-Fort Worth is just a challenge and that’s not going to change in the foreseeable future. What we really like about the build-to-rent is it’s a new product that we can insert between multifamily and for-sale housing to add diversity to the masterplanned communities and to provide options for the residents.
Who is a build-to-rent a good option for?
Some residents just don’t want to own a house. They don’t want to have to do the maintenance or the financial responsibility but don’t want to live in an apartment. It’s a really great opportunity because you have a detached home, you’ve got a garage. You’ve got a private yard for your dog. And you don’t have any maintenance or any of the responsibility that comes along with owning a home, which for some people is a choice they make. For others who are maybe young families starting out, the starting home price today in the for-sale market is high, and that gap between multifamily and first-time homes has widened. So this is an opportunity to be a stepping stone between the multifamily products and for-sale housing.
What’s new with build-to-rent from a developer’s perspective?
We really like the opportunity to do some more creative arrangements of the cottages to build a smaller footprint. We’re building them in designed pocket neighborhoods. We have a series of homes that all form a U shape around the greenbelt. They’re alley served, so your front door just opens up into a little greenbelt that you share with your neighbors. That’s been really fun as well to get to see that come to life here in this market. It’s a design that was inspired by The Cottage Company up in the Pacific Northwest and we brought that here to Dallas and infused it into our build-to- rent community design.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
Dallas Business Journal, April 28, 2023, Bill Hethcock | View Original Article