By Ryan Dezember
Fannie Mae has agreed to backstop up to $1 billion in debt from the country's largest owner of single-family rental homes, the first time the government-sponsored entity has agreed to guarantee the debt of an institutional owner of single-family houses.
Blackstone Group LP's Invitation Homes Inc. disclosed its agreement with Fannie on Monday in a filing detailing the company's finances ahead of its planned initial public offering. After the foreclosure crisis, the New York investment firm spent roughly $10 billion buying and fixing up houses to rent through Invitation Homes.
Fannie Mae's involvement is a sign that it believes homeownership will remain out of reach for many Americans and that Wall Street's housing wager will be become a long-term business, not just an opportunistic trade made after the foreclosure crisis.
The support represents a shift from about four years ago, when Fannie's regulator blocked another government-sponsored entity from backing bulk buyers of foreclosed homes. Fannie's support will likely make it cheaper for buyers like Blackstone to add homes in the future.
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