Blackstone’s Big Bet on Single-Family Rentals

Blackstone has finalized a deal to acquire Tricon Residential for a substantial sum of $3.5 billion

Blackstone's Big Bet on Single-Family Rentals

Blackstone has finalized a deal to acquire Tricon Residential for a substantial sum of $3.5 billion

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Good morning. Blackstone is banking on bright days ahead for the single-family rental sector, agreeing to acquire major landlord Tricon Residential for $3.5 billion. Meanwhile, niche alternative asset classes are gaining momentum as traditional real estate themes fade.

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Market Snapshot

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SOFR
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*Data as of 1/19/2024 market close.

RISE OF THE SOUTH

Blackstone's Big Bet on Single-Family Rentals

Blackstone has struck a deal to acquire Tricon Residential for $3.5 billion, marking a vote of confidence for a sector that the world's largest property investor helped launch after the 2008 mortgage meltdown.

What happened: Blackstone's offer of $11.25 per share for Tricon represents a generous premium over the company's recent trading price, underscoring Blackstone's belief in the SFR market. This acquisition is a collaborative effort involving Blackstone Real Estate Partners X and Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust. But this isn't Blackstone's first involvement with Tricon; the investment giant will maintain an 11% ownership stake, marking a four-year partnership continuation.

Zoom in: Tricon Residential's portfolio comprises approximately 38,000 single-family rental homes in the U.S. Sun Belt region and multi-family apartments in Toronto, Canada. According to data from Parcl Labs, Tricon's most prominent U.S. markets include Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Phoenix, and Tampa, boasting thousands of single-family homes.

Familiar territory: Blackstone's history in the single-family rental housing market dates back to its pioneering role in purchasing SFR houses after the 2008 foreclosure crisis. Although it divested from Invitation Homes in 2019, Blackstone has re-entered the single-family residential space with acquisitions such as Home Partners of America in 2021 and now Tricon Residential. This move reaffirms Blackstone's position as a major player in the residential sector.

Future plans: Blackstone has ambitious plans for Tricon, intending to advance its existing project pipeline valued at $3.5 billion and inject an additional $1 billion into capital projects in the coming years. While the single-family rental market faced challenges with rising interest rates in 2022, the persisting housing shortage, particularly in the single-family segment, continues to offer opportunities. Renting remains a viable option in high-price areas, driving demand in this market.

➥ THE TAKEAWAY

Why it matters: Prior to 2023, the institutional homebuying market witnessed robust growth due to low mortgage rates and appealing property prices. However, the landscape shifted when mortgage rates surged to 8% in October 2023, leading to a decline in institutional investments in rental properties. Blackstone's acquisition of Tricon Residential suggests a potential resurgence in the institutional homebuying market after a period of adjustment to changing market conditions. This move highlights Blackstone's confidence in the sector's long-term prospects.

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✍️ Editor’s Picks

  • California Dreaming: California Forever, supported by tech moguls like Marc Andreessen, announces a $400 million down-payment assistance fund to kickstart the construction of a new city in Solano County.

  • Indicted: A Virginia landlord faces federal indictment over allegations of racial discrimination, tenant fraud, and illegal acquisition of government funds.

  • Champa Bay: Despite market challenges, the Greater Tampa area, following South Florida's lead, is experiencing a surge in development, highlighted by LD&D's recent announcement of a $200 million mixed-use project in downtown Tampa.

🏘️ MULTIFAMILY

  • Housing boost: NYC developers set a new construction record in 2023 for subsidized affordable homes, says Mayor Eric Adams to encourage Albany's legislative action on housing.

  • Renting vs. owning: ATTOM's 2024 Rental Affordability Report shows that renting still remains more affordable than buying in 88% of the analyzed areas.

📦 INDUSTRIAL

  • Lease: Tesla has tapped The Sudler Cos. to lease a 251,100-square-foot industrial space in Fox Hill Business Park, Fountain Inn, S.C., following a similar deal last year near Tampa, Fla.

  • Acquisition: Brennan Investment Group purchased a 263,000-SF industrial facility in Cincinnati, Ohio, from Intelligrated (Honeywell subsidiary) for $14.9M, securing a $10.4M bridge loan from Byline Bank.

🏪 RETAIL

  • Resurgence: In Q4 of 2023, national shopping center vacancies fell to 5.3%, the lowest since 2007, yet the market is expected to cool in 2024, says Cushman.

  • Refinancing: According to Orange County property records, Craig Realty secured refinancing for Outlets at San Clemente through a $105 million loan from Pacific Life Insurance.

  • Acquisition: Triple BAR Group acquired a 543,378-square-foot shopping center trio in Toledo, Ohio. The portfolio had a 94% occupancy rate at the time of the sale.

🏢 OFFICE

  • Downsizing: Wells Fargo is vacating its iconic tower in Raleigh, North Carolina, amidst escalating losses from office property loans. This retreat is part of a broader effort to manage the bank's commercial real estate footprint.

  • CMBS risk: A D.C. office property, poised to lose Fannie Mae as its anchor tenant, is linked to $525M in CMBS debt, raising concerns about long-term risks as loan maturity approaches.

  • Distress: Brookfield Properties' One Pierrepont Plaza in Downtown Brooklyn, housing MTA's office, faces potential distress as its $148M CMBS loan enters special servicing.

INVESTMENT STRATEGY

Niche Real Estate Assets Surge as Investors Shift Focus from Traditional Markets

Alternative real estate assets such as self-storage, student housing, and medical office buildings are gaining traction among institutional investors, driven by declining interest in traditional investments like office spaces.

Trending: Alternative real estate investments, once considered marginal, are making significant strides. In Q3 of 2023, such investments soared to $18.3 billion, comprising 15% of total investment dollars, according to MSCI. This surge aligns with industry leaders' predictions of a growing focus on alternative assets, particularly as traditional office spaces see declining value.

Out with the old: In 2023, investment in the U.S. office market plummeted by 60% to $43 billion, a stark contrast to the previous year and reminiscent of post-2008 crisis levels. Retail property transactions also saw a 40% decrease in Q3 2023. On the flip side, alternative assets related to niche sectors are gaining traction, driven by evolving economic activities and demographic shifts. This "portfolio pivot" is a strategic move by fund managers to explore more diverse and potentially lucrative opportunities outside traditional assets.

Leading the way: The commercial real estate market is increasingly favoring alternative investments like self-storage over traditional assets. This sector has seen significant growth, with a $14.3 billion investment in the first three quarters of 2023, outpacing the $12.4 billion for all of 2022. High-profile deals, such as Public Storage's $2.2 billion acquisition of Simply Self Storage, underscore this trend despite uncertainties about future growth.

➥ THE TAKEAWAY

Shifting climate: The investment landscape in 2023 experienced challenges, but there's renewed optimism for 2024. This shift is attributed to the Federal Reserve's talk about interest rate cuts. These cuts, potentially amounting to 75 basis points throughout 2024, could rejuvenate investment activities across various classes, including the flourishing alternative sectors.

CHART OF THE DAY

Private real estate investors are curious about the market's recovery after a downturn. Post-COVID, there was growth, but rising interest rates led to negative returns. The MSCI Global Quarterly Property Index dropped 7.3% from June 2022 to September 2023, with global transactions decreasing by 41% in the third quarter of 2023. However, listed real estate markets ended 2023 positively.

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