But following the housing bust, with the encouragement of the Fed, PE firms moved into the single-family rental market in a big way, buying foreclosed houses from the banks. This started in late 2011. They bought for cents on the dollar, concentrating on a handful of the hardest hit big housing markets. Blackstone was the biggest force, and later spun off its creation, Invitation Homes, as a REIT to the public. It now rents out 80,000 houses.
Others of that generation include American Homes 4 Rent. They all followed the same route: buy existing houses out of foreclosure for cents on the dollar, rehab them if necessary, and rent them out.
What is happening today is different. Investors are buying in a red-hot housing market, paying sky-high prices, even as rents are a mixed bag, dropping sharply in some big markets, but surging in smaller markets, with the risk that drops and surges might reverse as working-from-home folks are being recalled to the office.No, Blackstone Didn’t “Buy 17,000 Houses” out from under Desperate Homebuyers. And BlackRock Didn’t “Buy a Whole Neighborhood.” But Built-to-Rent is a Huge Change | Wolf Street