History and impact of institutional investment in housing in the United States

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The logo of Blackstone

During the Global Financial Crisis and subsequent Great Recession, housing prices in the United States declined.[1] Despite the decline in prices, many traditional purchasers of single-family homes—individual families—remained priced out of the market, leading to concerns that a lack of demand would cause home prices to collapse, exacerbating the recession.[1] In 2012, in an effort to create demand, Fannie Mae placed several thousand foreclosed-upon homes for sale in a single transaction.[2] This sale helped establish single-family property portfolios as a potential investment for large institutional investors,[1] as opposed to one chiefly appealing to individual families and small-time investors.[3]

Before the broad declines in housing prices caused by the financial crisis and recession, relatively high property costs and the decentralized geography[4] of individual homes made them unappealing as an asset class for direct investment.[1] Broadly, financial professionals and real estate investors, such as Sam Zell, were skeptical that they could function as portfolios, even as some firms began to purchase homes en-masse.[1] This push was "led"[5][6] by private equity and alternative investment firm Blackstone, which founded Invitation Homes to purchase individual homes in depressed markets around the United States. These markets were concentrated in the Sun Belt cities, which include Atlanta, Phoenix, and Orlando.[4] As of 2022, major single-family home owners include Invitation Homes,[4] Pretium,[7] and American Homes 4 Rent.[8]

Large, single-family home investors and operators have received criticism from tenants for high rents, poor conditions, and poor treatment[3][9] and from politicians and the broader public for constraining the housing supply and worsening the ongoing housing shortage in the United States.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Semuels, Alana (13 February 2019). "When Wall Street Is Your Landlord". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  2. ^ Gross, Daniel (4 May 2012). "Renting Prosperity". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  3. ^ a b Mari, Francesca (4 March 2020). "A $60 Billion Housing Grab by Wall Street". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Cohan, William D. (19 September 2013). "Why Wall Street Loves Houses Again". The Atlantic. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  5. ^ Christophers, Brett (8 July 2021). "How and Why U.S. Single-Family Housing Became an Investor Asset Class". Journal of Urban History. doi:10.1177/00961442211029601. ISSN 0096-1442.
  6. ^ Gopal, Prashant (3 January 2017). "Private Equity's Real-Estate Empire". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  7. ^ Clark, Patricia (18 February 2022). "Wall Street Is Buying Starter Homes to Quietly Become America's Landlord". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  8. ^ Clark, Patrick (18 July 2022). "Rental-Home Investors Slow Purchases as Doubts Cloud US Prices". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  9. ^ Gopal, Prashant (3 January 2017). "Wall Street, America's New Landlord, Kicks Tenants to the Curb". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  10. ^ Gardner, Akayla (21 October 2021). "Private Equity Firms Are Making America's Housing Shortage Worse, Democrats Say". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 July 2022.
  11. ^ Gardner, Akayla (13 January 2022). "Warren Renews Criticism of Private Equity's Role in Housing". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 July 2022.