Editor's note: The following story was updated to include another new built-to-rent subdivision in New Braunfels.

The Empire Group of Companies will be the latest developer to capitalize on a current surge of rental home growth in New Braunfels.

Current situation

Representatives with the Arizona-based developer announced in early June that they secured $47 million in financing through another firm, Tower Capital, to build Village at Mayfair.

This 217-unit community will contain cottage-style, single-family built-to-rent homes within the larger 1,900-acre Mayfair master-planned development located on the northern edge of New Braunfels.

According to a news release, each home will have an average unit size of 1,023 square feet and will offer some level of private patio or yard space.

Empire Group officials said construction of Village at Mayfair was beginning this summer. The first homes will be available for occupancy in late summer of 2025.

Zooming in

According to the National Association of Realtors, built-to-rent single-family homes are becoming more popular among homebuilders and consumers alike. Data showed more than 85,000 single-family rental homes were either occupied, available for purchase or in the pipeline for development nationwide in 2023—up from 50,000 such residential units in 2020.

Locally, data from the Yardi Matrix apartment information service showed that in the San Antonio-New Braunfels metropolitan area, 1,700-plus build-to-rent houses were under construction as of early June 2024, with another 2,200-plus units in preplanning and another 1,200-plus homes set to open this calendar year. Fewer than 600 total single-family rental houses were completed in the greater San Antonio metropolitan area in 2023.

Put in perspective

Representatives with NAR said the built-for-rent home market is alluring to individuals and young families who are challenged by high prices and other issues that come with buying and owning a home.

A handful of other built-to-rent communities are currently under development or have opened their doors to tenants in New Braunfels in the past few years.

Officials with Florida-based developer Bainbridge held a grand opening in December 2023 on Barbarosa Road for Bainbridge Creekside, a 291-unit multifamily community that features townhomes.

Also along Barbarosa Road and Alves Lane is the new Villas at Creekside, a subdivision 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom rental homes.

Another firm, Embrey Partners, recently finished developing Collection at Gruene, a single-family rental community near Gruene that will contain 126 duplex-style houses. Embrey’s representatives said 50% of the community's 252 total units were leased as of May 2024.

What they’re saying

Officials at Empire Group said fast local residential growth has made New Braunfels a prime market for a growing variety of housing, including single-family rental homes.

Empire Group’s built-to-rent residences will be located in the initial phase of Midtown Village in the Mayfair development, joining six national single-family builders expected to offer a blend of housing options in Mayfair’s first neighborhood.

Randy Grudzinski, Empire Group partner, said Village at Mayfair is among three of Empre’s build-to-rent projects currently in the works along the Austin-San Antonio corridor, with other developments planned in Hutto and San Marcos.

Grudzinski said his company emphasizing built-to-rent housing is a response to an increasing need among real estate consumers nationwide.

"At its core, the product addresses the need to provide an affordable and flexible way for people to live in a house. With mortgage rates hovering around 7%, the gap between the monthly cost to rent vs buy is at an all-time high," Grudzinski said. "By some measures, purchasing a home today is harder than it has ever been. [Built to rent] offers a more affordable solution to this massive problem. It also offers greater flexibility than purchasing a home and taking on a mortgage. Many of our renters are young singles and couples starting out in life. By nature, their professional careers are still in flux and as such, they are reticent to plant their roots too deeply in one particular area."