Atlanta-based home builder Beazer Homes has created a real estate investment trust to buy, renovate and rent single-family homes, The Wall Street Journal reported May 8. Beazer plans to make an initial public offering when assets reach at least $150 million.
Beazer developed the REIT in partnership with buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., and named the new company Beazer Pre-Owned Rental Homes Inc. Beazer already has acquired 192 single-family homes in the Phoenix and Las Vegas areas, purchasing most through foreclosure auctions, short sales and other distressed property avenues.
The Journal reported that Beazer originally built about 10 percent of the homes it has purchased, and the company plans to renovate the properties and then rent them out as reconditioned homes. Beazer claims the number of rental homes it controls could eventually number in the thousands.
“It’s not a short-term, opportunistic thing,” Allan Merrill, Beazer’s chief executive, told the Journal. “It’s building a durable rental stream.”
Many investors and private-equity firms have been moving into the distressed home market in hopes of capitalizing on the housing market crisis. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed there are approximately 25.5 million single-family rental properties compared with 18 million apartment rental units.
Beazer says its current portfolio of 192 homes has a market value of about $20 million. KKR and some other investors have contributed $65 million. Beazer, like many home builders, has been hoarding cash rather than speculating, so the company has about $257 million liquid and another $277 in restricted cash on its balance sheet, the Journal reported.