A recent WSJ piece entitled, If You Sell Your House, The Buyer Might Be A Pension Fund, caused some commotion. The article highlighted how competition is heating up for single family homes due to demand from institutional real estate investors.
When I read the article, I was surprised to see Fundrise, a long-time FS supporter, mentioned in the second paragraph. Usually, you hear institutional real estate investors like BlackRock in the news. The article is behind a paywall, but here’s the snippet the WSJ allows non-subscribers to read.
A bidding war broke out this winter at a new subdivision north of Houston. But the prize this time was the entire subdivision, not just a single suburban house, illustrating the rise of big investors as a potent new force in the U.S. housing market.
D.R. Horton Inc. built 124 houses in Conroe, Texas, rented them out and then put the whole community, Amber Pines at Fosters Ridge, on the block. A Who’s Who of investors and home-rental firms flocked to the December sale. The winning $32 million bid came from an online property-investing platform, Fundrise LLC, which manages more than $1 billion on behalf of about 150,000 individuals.
The country’s most prolific home builder booked roughly twice what it typically makes selling houses to the middle class—an encouraging debut in the business of selling entire neighborhoods to investors.
“We certainly wouldn’t expect every single-family community we sell to sell at a 50% gross margin,” the builder’s finance chief, Bill Wheat, said at a recent investor conference.