Blackstone to buy $1 billion worth of Tampa Bay homes for rentals
By Drew Harwell, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Friday, September 21, 2012
A Wall Street behemoth plans to spend $1 billion on Tampa Bay’s hobbled housing market, dispatching teams of brokers to scour neighborhoods and buy hundreds of homes a month.
But rather than resell the homes, the Blackstone Group is opting to become a landlord, renting the homes to tenants including foreclosed ex-homeowners burned by the housing crash.
Blackstone, one of the nation’s largest private-equity firms, plans to buy as many as 15,000 homes in Tampa Bay over the next three years, many of them foreclosures, capitalizing on decimated home prices and growing rents.
The shopping spree, and those of half a dozen other big investment firms and hedge funds, could radically change the local home landscape, as big-money brokers compete with first-time buyers and mom-and-pop landlords over homes in tight supply.
“It’s a land grab unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” said Peter Murphy, CEO of Home Encounter, the largest manager of rental homes in Tampa Bay. “You’re going to drive through parts of town and all of it is going to be institutionally owned.”
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