No One Could Have Predicted the Securitization of Rental Properties Would End Badly

I mean, is this the biologically incorrect black swan, or what? (boldface mine):

Big Money investors decided to buy up all the foreclosed properties their pals at the banks created during the financial crisis, and rent them out to many of the same people who lost their homes. Then, they started selling securities backed by the rental revenue, just like the mortgage-backed securities from the crisis. Profiting off their own failure: It was Wall Street’s perfect plan.

There was just one problem: turns out that institutional investors have no idea how to manage rental properties….

Vacancy rates for Invitation Homes’ initial rental-backed security from last year have spiked to a higher-than-expected 8.3 percent.

…That doesn’t sound so bad, until you consider that the apartment vacancy rate for the entire United States is 4.1 percent, around half of the Invitation Homes rate. By one study, occupancy in the second quarter of 2014 was at its highest level in 13 years. In fact, we’re in the midst of a rental housing crisis in America, with demand on the rise and not enough supply to meet it. That’s why rental prices have risen consistently, up 3.4 percent over the past year, despite flat wages.

it would be extremely difficult in this environment to put homes out for rent and then see the vacancy rates explode upward. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what’s happening to the properties in Invitation Homes’ rental securitizations. And there are only a couple of possible reasons here, all of them pointing to poor property management. We have plenty of anecdotal information about substandard remodeling, shoddy maintenance and difficulty in contacting managers. The higher relative vacancy rates put some data-driven meat on those bones.

Word is getting around in these communities about the pitfalls of renting from Invitation Homes, leading renters to seek other options.

No one could have predicted this. Nope.

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1 Response to No One Could Have Predicted the Securitization of Rental Properties Would End Badly

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