Invitation Homes even with their tiny part of the housing market has had a tremendous influence in the way single- family rental housing has risen within this decade. When Invitation Homes and Starwood Waypoint Homes merged, they were now in close to 20 markets. This gave them a competitive advantage of having their 82,000 homes concentrated in these markets. Some of their huge influence that they were involved in was Prop 10, Securitization, concentrated areas where they can control rent and have a competitive advantage and their influence in policy decisions from the highest office.
In some parts of the country, however, their presence is far more conspicuous and influential.
Invitation Homes is the single largest private landlord in Sacramento County – and the second largest property owner after the county of Sacramento itself. Sacramento neighborhoods were hit hard by the subprime mortgage crisis which created an opportunity for companies like Blackstone and Thomas Barrack’s Colony to acquire single family homes at rock bottom prices. In 2017 there was a merger of Colony, Starwood and Waypoint with Invitation Homes. Invitation’s holdings bring profits to its executives and investors, raising rents at will and causing community instability.
Under California’s Proposition 13, mergers and transfers such as the Colony Starwood sale to Blackstone/Invitation Homes change actual ownership. It maintains tax rates at low foreclosure crisis prices. A random example is a single-family home on Sandylee Way, purchased in 2005 for $302,000. Foreclosed in 2012 by JP Morgan Chase, Invitation Homes acquired the home for $150,000 and bundled it in a security offered by Wells Fargo Bank in 2017. Sacramento County collects property taxes based on the 2012 purchase price; a value of less than half what it was in 2005. Invitation Homes keeps the house off of the market for other homeowners, destabilizing the community with rent hikes and turnover and depriving the County of assessment income.
According to Sacramento County Court data, Invitation Homes filed at least 156 unlawful detainers (the last stage of an eviction) between 2015 and 2017. Invitation owns approximately 2000 properties in Sacramento County.
Invitation Homes Inc. owns 7,600 single-family rental properties in the Greater Phoenix market. That’s a huge footprint for one landlord.
A real-estate agent showed many Invitation Homes around Lawrenceville, a sprawling suburb 30 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, where the homes are large, and the schools are good. Every house they saw was owned by the same company, Waypoint Homes, which merged with Invitation Homes in 2017. In Atlanta they own 12,250 homes.
Los Angeles, CA
In the midst of an L.A. housing crisis plagued by skyrocketing rent, diminishing housing supply and questions of whether Invitation Homes is exacerbating the problem while it’s capitalizing on it.
Invitation Homes is not L.A.’s largest landlord, but it is the city’s largest landlord of single-family houses. And its size isn’t the only thing that makes it unusual. It’s a multibillion-dollar corporation that, according to its critics, is more concerned with taking care of its investors and stockholders than its tenants.
Invitation Homes’ 3,150 or so homes in L.A. County are a mere fraction of the county’s 3.4 million housing units (a figure that includes apartment units). But the company’s homes are clustered in certain areas where some say they have an outsize impact: the northern part of the San Fernando Valley, South Los Angeles and Compton.
For instance, Invitation Homes owns 18 single-family houses within a half square-mile. The company owns 42 homes within about 1.3 square miles. Within a 4-square-mile area of South L.A. bounded by Figueroa Street, Century Boulevard, Van Ness Avenue and Gage Avenue the company owns 134 homes.
In 2017, a research assistant with MIT’s department of city planning analyzed L.A. County property records and used the data on ownership to map what she calls in her master’s thesis, “an emerging oligarchy of institutionalized landlords” in Los Angeles County. By far the largest of the Wall Street landlords, at 87 percent of the institutionally owned single-family rentals, is Invitation Homes.
The research assistant, Maya Abood, is now a researcher at USC’s Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and an expert on Wall Street landlords in Southern California. She has analyzed the locations of thousands of Invitation Homes rental properties, along with census data, to determine what impact the company and its smaller competitors have had on L.A. housing.
Abood has a map with colored dots of single-family rentals belonging to Invitation Homes. This includes a vast area of South L.A., the length of Interstate 10 from Fairfax Avenue to the I-110 interchange, and down either side of the Harbor Freeway through Compton, Carson and Lancaster, all the way to San Pedro. “Neighborhoods that are primarily African-American have a higher percentage of homes owned by these companies.