Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Blackstone Group was once America's largest landlord, scooping up tens of thousands of single-family homes in the aftermath of the 2009 subprime mortgage crisis. Now it's coming back, but at a market peak instead of at a market trough.

Driving the news: Blackstone this morning announced that it will pay around $6 billion to purchase Home Partners of America, a Chicago-based owner of more than 17,000 single-family homes.

  • HPA's model is rent-to-own, with lease agreements including pre-set purchase prices that can be exercised with 30-days notice.
  • The company obviously has a large portfolio of homes, but often makes purchases upon renter request.
  • Blackstone is said to have come into the deal via a bank-led process, as HPA had been owned by a group of institutional investors that included BlackRock and KKR.

History: Blackstone's first foray into single-family homes was via Invitation Homes, which eventually had 80,000 single-family properties and went public in 2017.

  • Blackstone exited Invitation in 2019, and returned to the market in a small way last year via a $240 million preferred stock investment in Toronto-listed Tricon Residential.

Thesis: A source close to the deal says that Blackstone is basically betting on the continued supply-and-demand imbalance in U.S. housing, which it doesn't see policymakers successfully addressing any time soon.

  • The firm is buying HPA via a non-traded REIT, which has a longer-term time horizon than its other investment vehicles.
  • In the short-term, it also believes HPA benefits from a model that can help aspiring homeowners ease their way into properties, without having to engage in the current frenzy of all-cash, no inspection offers.

Bonus: Axios Local this morning featured stories on soaring home prices.

The bottom line: Blackstone's conviction in the upside for U.S. housing is apparently higher than the record prices currently being paid.

Go deeper

Aug 24, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Twin Cities housing pinch coming from both sides

Photo: Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Home buyers, especially first timers, continue to deal with a short supply of houses on the market, bidding wars and waived inspections. But Plan B — renting an apartment — is getting a bit more expensive.

Driving the news: After a year of stagnating rents brought on by the pandemic, prices for rental housing in the Twin Cities increased in July to just over $1,600 a month, according to Zillow.

  • That 4.1% jump from the same time last year puts rents nearly where Zillow projected them to be before the pandemic.

Yes, but: There are still deals to be found, especially in downtown Minneapolis. Now is typically when landlords are trying to fill up their buildings before winter.

  • For example, the Wilf family’s new apartment building near U.S. Bank Stadium — 240 Park Avenue — is advertising two free months of rent for new leases.

Between the lines: With rents rising again and mortgage rates remaining low, it would seem to be a good time to buy a house.

  • But there's only about 7,600 houses on the market in the Twin Cities, down 25% from this time last year, according to the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Realtors associations.
  • The median home spent just seven days on the market last month, down from 17 days a year ago and 25 in 2016.

What they're saying: "With offers still coming in at an average of 3.6% over original asking price, more people are understanding the strength of this market," Todd Walker, president of Minneapolis Area Realtors Association, said in a news release.

What's ahead: The good news is that housing construction starts in the Twin Cities metro are on pace for about 25,000 new units in 2021, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

  • That would be the most new housing starts since 2004.

Texas House probes school library books dealing with race and sexuality

Photo: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images

Texas state Rep. Matt Krause (R), chair of the Texas House Committee on General Investigating, announced Wednesday that he's initiating a probe into schools' library books, according to a letter sent to the state's education agency and other superintendents.

Why it matters: The probe focuses on books that discuss race, sexuality, or "make students feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress because of their race or sex," Krause wrote in the letter.

5 hours ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!