Private Equity Coming To A Neighborhood Near You

Interesting piece in Wall Street Journal, which corroborates our last post,  The New “Supply-Side Economics” Fueling Asset Bubbles.   We argued institutional investors have been on a buying spree of residential housing for rental properties taking a massive amount of supply off the market, almost permanently,  and feeding the housing bubble in many areas.

A new breed of homeowners has arrived in this middle-class suburb of Nashville and in many other communities around the country: big investment firms in the business of offering single-family homes for rent. Their appearance has shaken up sales and rental markets and, in some neighborhoods, sparked rent increases.

On Jo Ann Drive alone, American Homes 4 Rent owns seven homes, property records indicate. In all of Spring Hill, four firms—American Homes, Colony Starwood Homes , SFR 0.06% Progress Residential and Streetlane Homes—own nearly 700 houses, according to tax rolls. That amounts to about 5% of all the houses in town, a 2016 census indicates, and roughly three-quarters of those available for rent, according to Lisa Wurth, president of the local Realtors’ association.

Those four companies and others like them have become big landlords in other Nashville suburbs, and in neighborhoods outside Atlanta, Phoenix and a couple dozen other metropolitan areas. All told, big investors have spent some $40 billion buying about 200,000 houses, renovating them and building rental-management businesses, estimates real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors LLC. Still, they own less than 2% of all U.S. rental homes, according to Green Street. 

...“The rent is crazy,” says Bruce Hull, Spring Hill’s vice mayor and owner of a local home-inspection business. “It hasn’t been that long since you could get a three bedroom, two bath for $1,000 a month.”

…“We had to make a big offer,” he said. “I just hope the bubble doesn’t burst and our loan goes upside down.” – WSJ

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