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In long-awaited IPO, Invitation Homes brings vast rental-house portfolio public

Blackstone Group LP's single-family rental REIT, Invitation Homes Inc., made its long-anticipated public debut Feb. 1, listing 77 million shares on the NYSE at $20.00 apiece.

The IPO follows a yearslong buying spree, in which Blackstone sought to take advantage of last decade's economic crisis by snapping up houses at depressed prices. As of Sept. 30, 2016, Invitation Homes owned more than 48,000 homes, more than 94% of which it acquired in single-asset transactions, according to its registration statement.

The company is the largest of the subsector by market capitalization and number of homes, though American Homes 4 Rent, which acquired competitor American Residential Properties Inc. in 2016, is a close rival.

Invitation Homes is entering the public market in a relatively strong moment for single-family rental REITs, which battled investor skepticism for years before seeing their fortunes turn. REITs in the sector have outperformed the broader REIT universe over the past six months, but trail the S&P 500 over the same period.

Invitation Homes owns properties in 13 markets and derives about 72% of its revenues from homes owned in Florida and the western United States. The company's average home is a three-bedroom, two-bath property spanning about 1,850 square feet. Its average monthly rent of $1,623 is the highest among the single-family housing REIT peer group.

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