Feb. 27--Private equity giant Blackstone Group's new subsidiary that lends money to landlords has set up its largest office in Charlotte.
Called B2R Finance, the company makes loans to rental home owners looking to buy between five and 1,000 more homes to rent out. The firm has been in operation since November and is still growing.
The company is currently closing three loans in the Charlotte area, executives told the Observer.
"A majority of our customers are smaller entrepreneurs who are buying portfolios of homes to support their retirement," said B2R president John Beacham, who joined the venture from Deutsche Bank. The firm maintains another office in New York.
It's Blackstone's latest bet on the single-family home rental market. Another subsidiary, Invitation Homes, buys homes to rent out for itself. B2R said Charlotte is a particularly attractive market for its business because of its larger proportion of rental homes.
Chief Operating Officer Jeff Tennyson is based in the Charlotte office, located in the SouthPark area. The office has 10 employees, in origination, sales, underwriting and closing. Eight employees work in the New York office.
Tennyson was previously chief executive of EquiFirst, a Charlotte-based subprime mortgage lender that closed in 2009.
Invitation Homes also has an office in the Charlotte area and has bought hundreds of homes across the city. Some real estate experts have said investment firms like Invitation Homes have artificially driven up home prices, pricing mom-and-pop buyers out of the market. They've also expressed worries about what will happen to local real estate markets when the firms look to sell.
Beacham stressed that B2R and Invitation Homes are separate entities backed by different investors.
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