The Institutionalization of the Single-Family Rental Market and Potential Impacts on Renters

Companies like the Blackstone Group, American Homes4Rent, Colony Financial, Silver Bay, Starwood Waypoint, and American Residential have spent approximately $20 billion to purchase roughly 150,000 single family homes, nation wide, and convert them into rental properties.

Investors have primarily been focusing their buying in cities that were devastated by the housing market collapse: Phoenix, Las Vegas, Chicago, Tampa, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. This phenomenon has led to Wall Street taking a more direct role at playing landlord and has transformed a rental industry that was once dominated by mom-and-pop owners into one where Wall Street is a major player. In 2013 Blackstone’s subsidiary, Invitation Homes, quickly became the largest single-family home landlord in the U.S., with over 41,000 properties.

In the summer of 2013, Right to the City Alliance members Occupy Our Homes Atlanta and SAJE, three housing activist groups canvassed residents living in Blackstone properties in LA and Atlanta to find out what their experiences were like. This resulted in reports in two of the hardest hits cities- Los Angeles and Atlanta and a national report entitled- Rise of the Corporate Landlord: The Institutionalization of the Single-Family Rental Market and Potential Impacts on Renters.

The trend they noticed at local home auctions was the dominance of single companies buying up multiple homes with cash. The research highlights the ongoing rental affordability crisis, the challenges of maintaining these new properties, the predominance of people of color and women as targets of rental speculation. It expands on what could be the next American housing bubble. Through this research, we hope to broaden the conversation about the housing crisis beyond foreclosure.

corp-landlord-infograph-thumbDownload the infographic here as a PDF or JPG.