Blackstone Group-backed Invitation Homes amass 700 Twin Cities real estate

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Dec 03, 2013 11:27 AM EST

A report on the Minnesota Public Radio News chronicled the growing ownership of real estate in the Twin cities area by Dallas-based firm Invitation Homes. According to the news agency, Invitation Homes through its division IH2 acquired 700 single-family homes. All over the US, the rental home manager has quietly purchased 40,000 properties in 14 housing markets, which would make the company the largest single-family home landlord in several US cities.

MPR News pointed out that the fact that Invitation Homes is backed by the world's largest private equity firm, the Blackstone Group, would make sense why it was able to acquire so much real estate. The New York-based private equity firm has a majority stake in big companies including Hilton Worldwide and the Weather Channel. Its association with Invitation Homes, MPR news concluded, would easily dub the private equity firm as a mega landlord.

In a promotional video, Blackstone head of global real estate Jonathan Gray said, "We're spending an enormous amount of capital and hiring a large amount of people in order to get this right. One day my hope is that the folks here at Blackstone and Invitation Homes can go and drive into communities and see families with affordable housing and our investors got a favorable return because of the risks we were willing to take."

Housing economist Elliot Eisenberg said Blackstone and Invitation Homes' entry in the single-family home market was strategic. Eisenberg said, "Back two years ago, no one was buying this stuff. These guys were some of the very first people back into the markets after they hit bottom. They'll make money on renting you the house for three, four, five years. By then, your credit scores improve. Your FICO score is nice. You like your neighborhood. You like your house. 'Well, we'll buy the house.' 'Okay, we'll sell it to you!'"

FICO is a credit score model widely used in the US for companies to be able to make high-volume, complex decisions.

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