By Matthew Goldstein
It started slowly but the push by Wall Street into the single family rental market is fast becoming a Main Street play as well.
Last year, one of the big stories on Wall Street and in the U.S. housing market was the push by institutional investors to raise billions of dollars to snap-up foreclosed homes and rent them out while waiting for the right time to sell them. It’s become the biggest “long” bet on housing for private equity giants like Blackstone, which has already spent close to $3 billion buying up more than 16,000 foreclosed homes.
And with Wall Street firms all projecting they can get an 8% return from renting out the the homes they acquire, the foreclosed home market has become a great yield play for yield-starved wealthy investors.
But now it’s time for retail investors to get in the game too.
Late last year two firms that are buying foreclosed homes and renting them out went public—Silver Bay Realty Trust (SBY) and Altisource Residential Corp. (RESI). Silver Bay, set up as a real estate investment trust, raised $245 million in its December IPO. Altisource Residential is a spinoff of Altisource, a real estate portfolio management company, and is buying both non-performing mortgages and single family homes at foreclosure auctions.
In the coming weeks, American Residential Properties, an Arizona-based acquirer of foreclosed homes, expects to soon file for an IPO. But the most anticipated IPO in this burgeoning market will be one from American Homes 4 Rent, which ranks right behind Blackstone in gobbling up foreclosed homes. Last week, the Malibu, Calif.-based firm, led by Public Storage founder Wayne Hughes, issued a press release saying it will soon filed for an IPO.