Calling Pierce County renters: Do you rent from Invitation Homes? Share your story

Staff writerJuly 9, 2014 

HOUSING

The house at 2716 S. 14th Street was built in 1890 and was purchased by IH2 Property Washington LP for $141,600 in March, 2013. Photo taken October 15, 2013.

JANET JENSEN — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Buy Photo

David Dayen over at Salon.com has a piece up about the first signs of trouble with big investment firms buying up single family homes.

As we’ve reported, Blackstone’s Invitation Homes is the biggest player in this game across the country, and in Pierce County, too. It now owns about 950 homes in Pierce County, all of which are rentals. Blackstone’s business plan has been to bundle the income from these rental homes then sell securities.

From Dayen’s piece:

Invitation Homes, a Blackstone subsidiary, issued the first rental-backed security last November, and just released its first of this year, 2014-SFR1, worth $1 billion and based on 6,537 properties in selected markets, including Phoenix, Atlanta, Sacramento, California, several parts of Florida and Riverside County, California. Yet while these areas have tight housing inventory, vacancies at the Invitation Homes properties have surged.

As of May 31, the vacancy rate for the homes in 2014-SFR1 stood at 7.3 percent, a 33 percent increase over the previous month. It’s not a fluke: 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.

Why is this happening? Dayen says it confirms with data what anecdotal evidence has indicated: Invitation Homes isn’t a good property manager. Stories have bubbled up elsewhere about renters having extreme problems with their Invitation Homes rentals. Though, as Dayen points out, it’s possible this vacancy problem is just a growing pain of a new business.

But it made me wonder: Renters, if you’re in an Invitation Homes property in Pierce County, how is it going? Please share your rental story, good or bad. My contact info is below.

Kathleen Cooper: 253-597-8546

kathleen.cooper@thenewstribune.com @KCooperTNT

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