Beyond Wall Street Landlords: How Private Equity in the Rental Market Makes Housing Unaffordable, Unstable, and Unhealth

Ferrer, Alexander

Since 2000, the proportion of housing in corporate hands has increased dramatically. This trend started in the 1990s with the birth of the Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) and the Limited Liability Company (LLC) and accelerated dramatically because of the 2008 foreclosure crisis. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2000 individuals owned about 55% of the country’s rental stock, but by 2018 the share had fallen to just over 40%, and a plurality was owned by corporate vehicles for the first time in history. This consolidation of the rental housing stock into corporate hands affected all property types and threatens the stability of housing because integration into global financial circuits and the application of corporate management strategies and profit-making imperatives transform housing from home to investment. As this report demonstrates, this transformation is even more apparent in Los Angeles, where investment vehicles own 67% of rental housing.