Updated with correction
Single-family housing, which seemed like a good tactical investment a year or so ago, could turn into a staple in investors' portfolios if some money managers have their way.
The managers maintain that single-family homes are not just an investment opportunity born out of the recession. They say they are institutionalizing the sector — moving it from a collection of small operations to large, professionally managed portfolios — much like what happened with apartments years earlier.
The Blackstone Group LP is in that investment space for the long term, said Jonathan D. Gray, senior managing director and global head of real estate in New York. The firm has purchased more than 30,000 post-foreclosure houses for more than $5 billion since early 2012, and is buying more.
“There were more than 10 million homes to rent before the (2008 financial) crisis. We believe this is a long-term asset class, “Mr. Gray said.
Blackstone is building a business around single-family dwellings “We buy post-foreclosure homes, which we then renovate and lease to long-term tenants,” Mr. Gray said in an interview.
Blackstone also is considering a new business that would provide loans for other firms that invest in portfolios of single-family housing for rent, but no decision has been made yet, Peter Rose, spokesman, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Colony Capital LLC is also considering doing the same thing, said Justin Chang, the CEO of Colony American Homes LLC., a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based $2.5 billion private real estate investment trust that is managed by Colony Capital.
Other firms investing in single-family housing for rent include Colony Capital, GI Partners and Pine River Capital Management as co-manager of Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp., a REIT.
And, other private equity, hedge fund and real estate managers that invest in the property type agree there is plenty of capacity for single-family home rentals to be institutionalized.
“In our opinion, it is definitely a long-term strategy. It's a real business, not a tactical play, but we are still in early innings,” he said.