“This is a growing market where people, more and more, are becoming renters either by choice or because of economic circumstances,” said Marcus Ridgway, chief operating officer for Invitation Homes.”


New kid on the block:corporate titans

Post Special Report Wall Street buys up Main Street

Palm Beach County real estate investor Chip Bryan added 35 homes to his expanding cache in the first 60 days of the year. Backed by a private equity fund, he’s in buy, hold and rent mode. And he’s in a hurry.

Bryan’s competition is America’s financial masterminds, corporate behemoths who have set their sights on Florida as Wall Street buys up Main Street.

Another twist in the nation’s evolving housing market has hedge funds and multi-billion dollar companies becoming the landlords of the future, snapping up discounted single-family homes to rent out as they’ve done in the past with commercial properties and multi-family apartments.

It’s been just a year since a spontaneous comment by billionaire Warren Buffett ignited the corporate world’s home-buying spree. But already the New York-based Blackstone Group has 20,000 homes nationwide, including 4,000 in Florida.

Canada’s Tricon Capital, working with Lake Success Rentals, claims a bounty of 1,500 homes in South Florida and North Carolina. Colony Capital, based in Santa Monica, Calif., just announced its intention to buy 1,000 South Florida homes with a $2 billion nationwide investment.

One of the more aggressive buyers in South Florida is the Connecticut-based Starwood Property Trust. Despite having “no news to share” when contacted by The Palm Beach Post for this story, the company has picked up more than 80 Palm Beach County homes at foreclosure auction since it began buying in late November.

“This business used to be a subculture of deal makers and opportunists, mostly Realtors and contractors,” said Bryan, managing partner of Boca Raton-based Rebound Residential. “Then Wall Street arrived.”

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