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Blackstone's REIT Buying Binge Continues as It Agrees to a $3.7 Billion Apartment REIT Deal

Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) is at it again. The private-equity giant is buying another real estate investment trust (REIT). This time, it's paying $3.7 billion to acquire Resource REIT, a non-traded REIT focused on owning apartment buildings.

Here's a closer look at Blackstone's latest headline-grabbing deal and what's driving its shopping spree.

Image source: Getty Images.

Pricey apartments

Blackstone Real Estate Investment Trust (BREIT), a non-traded REIT managed by Blackstone, is acquiring fellow non-traded REIT Resource REIT. It owns 42 garden-style apartment communities with more than 12,600 units featuring lots of green space and amenities. The REIT has apartments across 13 states, including some of the strongest, fastest-growing markets, like Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and Texas.

BREIT is paying $14.75 per share for Resource REIT. The all-cash transaction values Resource REIT at $3.7 billion, including the assumption of its debt. This price represents an enormous 63% premium to Resource REIT's most recently published net asset value (NAV) of $9.06 per share.

A few factors are driving that big price increase. First, Resource REIT's board last updated the NAV a year ago, so it's outdated. Meanwhile, demand for apartments has increased in the past year -- especially in the Sun Belt region where Resource REIT owns apartments -- driving significant rental growth. That has pushed up the value of apartment buildings it owns.

This deal is Blackstone's second notable apartment REIT transaction in recent months. Last month, some of its real estate affiliates agreed to acquire Bluerock Residential Growth REIT. They're paying $24.25 per share ($3.6 billion overall), implying a whopping 124% premium to its share price before Bluerock started exploring a sale. Again, the draw is a portfolio of high-quality apartments located across some of America's fastest-growing cities in the Sun Belt region.

Blackstone's shopping spree continues

The Resource REIT deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Blackstone, many funded by BREIT. That non-traded REIT partnered with other Blackstone funds to take data center REIT QTS Realty private last year in a $10 billion deal. Meanwhile, BREIT also bought industrial REIT WPT Industrial Real Estate Trust in a $3.1 billion deal, purchased single-family home rental platform Home Partners of America for $6 billion, and made several smaller portfolio transactions.

Two factors are driving this acquisition spree. First, BREIT is hauling in an enormous amount of investor capital. It raised more than $22 billion last year, nearly 70% of all the money raised by non-traded REITs in 2021. That has given it a tremendous amount of firepower to make acquisitions.

Blackstone's real estate investing strategy is the other driver of its acquisition binge. The company takes a thematic investing approach, focusing on areas where it sees significant demand tailwinds driving outsized growth in rental rates and property values over the coming years.

It sees a lot of growth still ahead for multifamily properties in the Sun Belt region. In commenting on the Resource REIT deal, Asim Hamid, senior managing director for Blackstone Real Estate, stated, "This transaction represents a continuation of our high-conviction investing in top-quality multifamily communities in growth markets across the U.S."

Because it has such high conviction in the upside potential of multifamily properties, Blackstone is willing to pay a high premium for high-quality communities in fast-growing markets. It believes that continued migration into the Sun Belt region will drive above-average rent growth for years to come, enabling its investments to pay off over the long term.

Blackstone's conviction remains unflinching

Blackstone firmly believes that apartment rental rates will continue growing at an outsized clip across the Sun Belt region. That's driving it to pay a huge premium to acquire apartment REITs and grow its multifamily portfolio. It expects these investments to pay big dividends in the coming years as this high conviction thesis plays out.

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