Two rental-home giants plan to merge
Two of the bigger institutional owners of single-family rentals in the United States are planning to merge in the latest sign that affordable housing is becoming harder to find as home prices recover in much of the United States.
Invitation Homes and Starwood Waypoint Homes on Thursday announced a $4.3 billion stock deal, which the companies called a merger of equals. The merger would create a landlord with about 82,000 homes in more than a dozen big markets.
The deal comes nearly seven months after Invitation Homes, which owns about 50,000 properties, raised $1.5 billion in an initial public offering.
Invitation Homes is majority owned by the Blackstone Group, one of the first private-equity firms to begin buying foreclosed homes in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, then fixing them up and renting them out. Blackstone is estimated to have spent $10 billion on its foreclosed-hometo-rental investment.
Since the financial crisis, institutional investors such as hedge funds and investment firms, as well as private-equity firms, have bought an estimated 200,000 single-family homes to operate as rentals. There are about 17 million single-family rentals in the United States, most of which are owned by mom-and-pop landlords. Before the crisis, there were about 10 million.