ReAlpha plans to spend $1.5B to buy short-term rental homes

Large-scale investors want to take advantage of proven business model

ReAlpha CEO Giri Devanur (Giri Devanur, iStock)
ReAlpha CEO Giri Devanur (Giri Devanur, iStock)

Invigorated by Airbnb’s success, more investors are entering the short-term rental market.

Ohio-based asset management company ReAlpha plans to spend as much as $1.5 billion to buy short-term rentals, Bloomberg News reported. The amount is enough to purchase about 5,000 homes, Giri Devanur, the company’s CEO, told the outlet.

Over the past decade, a herd of entrepreneurs joined the short-term vacation rental sector. As the industry matures, large-scale investors are joining the pool, hoping to get their slice of the short-term rental pie.

“The business model has been proven, and now the opportunity is to do this at scale,” Scott Shatford, CEO of AirDNA, which provides data and analytics to the industry, told Bloomberg News. “People can’t figure out how to deploy capital quickly enough.”

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ReAlpha will initially target homes in Austin, Dallas and Miami, deploying artificial intelligence software to evaluate listings. The company also is hoping to buy foreclosed homes when a federal foreclosure moratorium ends.

“We can analyze thousands of properties in a minute. For us, everything is through technology,” Devanur told the outlet.

Buying homes for short-term rentals is complicated by a shortage of housing inventory that is now at its lowest. In addition to individual homebuyers, short-term rental investors will have to compete with Blackstone Group or KKR, which aims to buy billions of dollars worth of houses to operate single-family home rentals — another popular area for investment.

Having larger scale investors listing more homes on its platform could benefit Airbnb as its users may have options that aren’t currently available. An Airbnb representative declined to comment.

[Bloomberg News] — Akiko Matsuda