The Blackstone Mystery – Questions Answered

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The Blackstone Mystery – Questions Answered

Lately it seems you’d have to be hiding under a rock not to hear something about the mysterious Blackstone and all the real estate they’ve been scooping up in recent months. What are Blackstone’s objectives? How are they affecting the current real estate market? And what is behind their recent slow down in purchases? These questions and many more were recently addressed in an excellent article by Sacramento Real Estate Appraiser Ryan Lundquist. The following are some particularly noteworthy excerpts, shared with Ryan’s permission:

The Local Market: Blackstone has been targeting cities throughout the country, and their presence has definitely been felt in the Sacramento area since they began buying tenaciously last August. Let’s take a look at some stats and areas of focus to help understand what they are doing locally.

Blackstone activity in the Sacramento real estate market - by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Has Blackstone Been Slowing Down? Blackstone appears to have slowed down a bit over the past few months compared to the previous quarter. Their 96 purchases under $200,000 in Sacramento County on MLS during 2013 represent 4% of all sales under $200,000, which translates to 8% of all cash purchases under $200,000. Previously Blackstone had 324 purchases under $200,000 from August 2012 to December 31, 2012, which was almost 13% of cash sales for the time period. Blackstone has been a big player in the market, though ultimately they are really only one piece of the investor pie since 53% of all sales under $200,000 last quarter were cash deals. However, we must ask of course whether their recent slow down is a result of strategy or a lack of inventory. That is the critical question.

Blackstone Purchases in Sacramento County - Graph by Sacramento Appraisal Blog

Blackstone’s Strategy: As you can see, over 80% of Blackstone’s purchases have been under $200,000. It seems they have been primarily focused on the first-time buyer market, and they’ve purchased traditional sales, flipped properties, foreclosures, short sales, private sales, trustees sales, non-performing loans directly from banks and really whatever they can get their hands on. They are buying as “THR California LP”, and Tax Records indicates they have purchased 548 properties since August 2012. However, some local media outlets state they have picked up over 1000 homes since last year. That could definitely be the case since there may very well be many private sales off the books, but since Tax Records only shows 548, I’ll stick with that and consider it a representative sample.

(Ryan updated his blog shortly after his original post with this message: “I talked with a Sacramento Bee Reporter about their data that shows Blackstone has purchased 1000+ properties since August. The Bee reporter stated that Blackstone confirmed this number and his search of the Sacramento County Recorder also confirms this number (it is very tedious to do this search – I didn’t confirm). All things considered, it looks like only about half of Blackstone’s sales are recording in Tax Records for whatever reason. I am only using Tax Records because that is what I can control best. Nonetheless, despite a difference in numbers in my post, the data in Tax Records still appears representative of the overall trends when comparing the data in this post with The Sac Bee data. The SacBee also reported a huge downtrend in 2013 so far.”)

What are the implications of this data? How can both real estate professionals and potential home buyers use this information to their benefit? Read more from Ryan’s article here for some practical suggestions.

What are your thoughts about Blackstone and the effect they are having on the real estate market in your neck of the woods? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.


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