Public Storage founder races to catch Blackstone in U.S. rental acquisition sprint

February 13, 2013 04:30PM

B. Wayne Hughes, the founder of Public Storage, has amassed roughly 10,000 homes, which makes his American Homes 4 Rent firm the second-largest owner of single-family rentals behind the Blackstone Group, Bloomberg News reported. The properties primarily come from foreclosure auctions; Hughes targets areas hit hardest by the housing crash.

“Wayne founded Public Storage at a time when the industry was run by moms and pops out of their garages, and it’s kind of the same pattern,” Paul Saylor, chairman of CS Capital Management, told Bloomberg. Buying “single-family homes has been dominated until very recently by small investors across the country doing it locally.”

American Homes 4 Rent was incorporated last year by Hughes as a non-public real estate investment trust. The firm primarily targets homes constructed within the last 20 years that have three bedrooms and two bathrooms, generally set inside homeowner associations where the properties are maintained. The homes are located in Arizona, Florida and Nevada, as well as in Texas, Illinois and Georgia, to name several locations.

The Alaska Permanent Fund formed a joint venture with American Homes 4 Rent and so far has shelled out $750 million to close on 4,500 of the 10,000 total homes.

Blackstone, still on top, has spent a total of $2.7 billion on 17,000 homes. [Bloomberg News]Zachary Kussin