Blackstone bets $550M on mobile homes

NY-based investment manager to buy about 40 trailer parks from Summit Communities

Blackstone's Jonathan Gray (Getty; iStock)
Blackstone's Jonathan Gray (Getty; iStock)

UPDATED, 8:12: a.m., April 8, 2021: Blackstone is turning its attention to one of the most recession-resistant sectors of real estate.

The giant asset manager is planning to buy about 40 mobile-home parks from Summit Communities for about $550 million, according to Bloomberg. Most of the properties are in Florida, the publication reported, citing confidential sources.

Blackstone will make the investment through Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, also known as BREIT. Real estate investment trust Sun Communities also made an offer for the mobile-home communities.

Blackstone shelled out $200 million for seven mobile home parks largely in Florida and Arizona earlier this year, according to Bloomberg.

Large investment firms like Brookfield and Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle Properties have been eying mobile homes in recent years — won over by the sector’s high returns and limited supply.

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There were about 45,000 mobile home and RV parks in the U.S. as of 2019, according to the Mobile Home Park Home Owners Allegiance.

And despite their name, mobile homes are not that easy to move, and their occupants often cannot afford the upfront costs to relocate. That leaves them vulnerable to rent increases that boost profits for owners of trailer parks.

More than $800 million worth of such properties traded in the second quarter of this year, an increase of 23 percent from a previous year, according to JLL, Bloomberg reported. [Bloomberg] — Keith Larsen

Correction: A previous version of this article provided an incorrect number of mobile home and RV parks in the U.S.