Billionaire Goes on Home-Buying Spree

February 14, 2013

Billionaire B. Wayne Hughes is snatching up about 10,000 single-family homes to turn into rentals.

Hughes has purchased the properties through his American Homes 4 Rent, which now makes the firm the second-biggest owner of single-family rentals (behind only Stephen Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group). 

Hughes incorporated American Homes 4 Rent last year as a non-public REIT to fund his venture into the single-family rental business. The American Homes 4 Rent is expecting about 6 percent to 7 percent return on the rents.

Hughes’ firm is buying up mostly foreclosed properties at auctions in some of the areas hit hardest by the housing crash. The homes targeted most by Hughes have been built in the last 20 years, have three bedrooms and two baths, and are part of a homeowner association — and thus tend to be well-maintained. 

The rental properties mostly are located in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Texas, Illinois, and Indiana. Last year, the company also had purchased homes in Colorado, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, and California.

Hughes is the founder of Public Storage, the largest storage-rental company in the world. 

“Wayne founded Public Storage at a time when the industry was run by moms and pops out of their garages, and it’s kind of the same pattern,” says Paul Saylor, whose Atlanta-based firm manages $1.4 billion and advises institutions with $4.3 billion in real-estate assets. Buying “single-family homes has been dominated until very recently by small investors across the country doing it locally.”

Source: “Billionaire Hughes Chasing Blackstone as U.S. Rental King,” Bloomberg (Feb. 13, 2013)

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