The Real Deal Miami

U.S. hedge funds eye Florida, as they buy up distressed single-family homes

April 16, 2013 01:00PM

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Warren Buffett

Hedge funds are snapping up discounted single-family homes in South Florida to feed a growing appetite for rental properties, the Palm Beach Post reported.

A comment by Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett last year appears to have inspired heavyweight private equity funds like Blackstone Group and the Connecticut-based Starwood Property Group to sink money into the distressed residential real estate market, and, perhaps due to the number of distressed properties available, South Florida has been a favorite spot for such investments, the Post said.

Buffett told CNBC’s Squawk Box that if he could find a way to manage them, he would buy “a couple hundred thousand single-family homes.”

Blackstone Group created housing firm Invitation Homes to invest more than $3 billion in single-family homes nationwide, according to the Post. The private equity giant has purchased about 150 homes in Palm Beach County and another 500 in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the newspaper said, citing property appraiser records.

“This is a growing market where people, more and more, are becoming renters either by choice or because of economic circumstances,” said Invitation Homes chief operating officer Marcus Ridgway. [Palm Beach Post]-Emily Schmall

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