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For many, home ownership may not be practical, but they still want something beyond a traditional apartment. Real estate developers increasingly are turning to build-to-rent homes as a means to serve this segment of the residential market. Womble Bond Dickinson Partner Morris Ellison recently joined Fox 24 in Charleston to discuss the latest trends and legal issues surrounding build-to-rent properties in the Low Country.

“(Home ownership) is the American Dream. It hasn’t gone away, but if you look at the statistics, it has gotten harder to achieve,” he said.

Ellison said that rapidly rising mortgage interest rates, and the prospect of making a large down payment, are significant obstacles for many would-be homeowners, particularly those just entering the workforce. But while rental rates are increasing, they haven’t risen nearly as steeply as mortgage interest rates, he said.

Typically, Ellison said build-to-rent residential properties are clustered in communities of 150 to 200 homes. Such communities often include amenities for residents, ranging from high-speed internet to a community swimming pool. He said would-be renters need to examine the lease terms closely to see what amenities are included and what additional fees may be charged as a result.

“People are staying in these places much longer than apartments because they feel like a home,” Ellison said.