Blackstone buys SFR portfolio

Single-family rentals are the newest and hottest sector in the rental business (Jimmy Conover)

Wall Street asset management giant Blackstone Group announced it is buying a firm with a portfolio of 17,000 single-family rental homes in a $6 billion deal that bets big on the red-hot U.S. housing market.

Blackstone, which has over $600 billion in assets under management, said in a release that its real estate investment platform Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, Inc., had struck a deal to buy Home Partners of America (HPA) and its “high-quality” portfolio of thousands of homes across the United States.

HPA’s business model is to work with families to identify homes they might like to own within three to five years, which HPA then purchases and leases back to the families, giving them an option to buy at a later time. It is an arrangement Blackstone said it plans to continue.

“The fundamental premise of the HPA platform is to provide residents with the opportunity to live in their chosen home with the option to purchase it,” Blackstone’s Real Estate Senior Managing Director Jacob Werner said in the statement. “We intend to build on that goal and expand access to homes across the U.S.”

Bill Young, Co-Founder and CEO of HPA, said the deal would help more American families get a foothold in the housing market.

“Our goal has always been to make homeownership a reality for more people, and now we can continue that mission, while providing even more flexibility and services for our residents,” Young said.

Blackstone said it would help usher in HPA’s new program that seeks to expand access to housing for lower-income households, while offering a free financial planning assistance program to all residents.

With the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter, Blackstone joins a growing roster of Wall Street notables like J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Rockpoint Group that have bought single-family rental companies.

Earlier in June, Blackstone Group, along with partner Starwood Capital Group, announced a buyout of Extended Stay America, which specializes in economical temporary housing for construction crews, healthcare professionals, and other long-term guests.

Institutional investors own about 280,000 single-family rental homes in the U.S., according to financial services firm Amherst.

The red-hot housing sector has been buoyed by a strong economic recovery, ultra-low interest rates, and demand for bigger homes from people working remotely due to the pandemic.

Excerpt Tom Ozimek. Epoch Times