Stakes are rising in the saga of the $479 million sale of the nation’s first securities backed by more than 3200 rental homes. Though neither pricing details nor hard numbers on the response from investors have leaked, it’s clear that Blackstone is making serious headway in its struggle to turn leases into cash and pave the way for an asset class and a whole new way of thinking about housing.
Blackstone’s deal, officially titled Invitation Homes 2013-SFR1, faces serious obstacles. Rating agencies, have treated the offering conservatively. For more than a year have been wary and withheld top ratings despite Blackstone’s creative structuring of the deal to reduce investor risk. Facing resistance over the idea of basing securities on rental leases, Blackstone instead found a creative way to secure the deal by individual mortgage liens on each underlying property rather than an equity pledge, allowing for the creation of a so-called real estate mortgage investment conduit, or Remic, structure, according to sources close to the deal.
Related: Blackstone and the “Raters” Duke it Out
The newness of the assets, the difficulties raters have assessing the risks that investors will incur and the lack of a track record managing rentals profitably were reportedly reasons that would keep raters from giving the offering a AAA blessing, though it did garner ratings from a handful of agencies, with the exception of Fitch, which held off and let it be known it would rate the bonds a very low BBB, if it had to rate them at all.
Blackstone Beats the Raters, 4-1
But Blackstone did much, much better than that. Moody’s, Kroll and Morningstar gave the $278.7m top slice of the securitization a triple A rating, or 1.15 percentage points, surprising many market participants who …read more