Big investment funds 'swooped in' on Tacoma market

Out-of-state investors that include three big private investment firms “swooped in” after the market for homes in the Tacoma, Wash., area bottomed out “and gobbled up single-family homes at an unprecedented rate,” an analysis by The News Tribune found.

The Blackstone Group, through subsidiary Invitation Homes, is the biggest buyer of single-family homes in Pierce County, followed by two other institutional investors, American Homes 4 Rent and FREO Washington.

Together, the three funds spent $172 million during the past year buying up nearly 1,000 properties in the county and turning them into rentals — about 1 in 10 home sales. In one instance, FREO bought almost an entire neighborhood — 31 homes — from a regional homebuilder.

Local investors say the sudden appearance of national investment funds in the market forced many local house flippers out of the business. As investment funds slow the pace of acquisitions, only “time will tell” if they will prove to be responsible landlords, or if they’ve helped create another housing bubble, The News Tribune’s Kathleen Cooper reports. Source: