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JLL Moves Into Single-Family Rentals With Roofstock Deal

JLL is taking a minority interest in Roofstock, which operates an online marketplace for single-family rental houses and manages residential rental properties for major owners, for an undisclosed sum. Roofstock has agreed to manage properties for JLL clients worldwide.


Also as part of the deal, Roofstock acquired Stessa, a software-as-a-service product for investors in single-family houses. JLL Technologies has owned the software platform since 2018.

Roofstock will thus make Stessa available to single-family investors who transact through Roofstock. Stessa has more than 170,000 properties on its platform, representing about $45B in assets.

“It’s a pretty resilient income play,” Richard Bloxam, who leads JLL’s capital markets business, told The Wall Street Journal. “The ability to collect rent in 2020 was very high.”

Occupancy rates for U.S. single-family rental properties averaged 95.5% in Q4 2020, according to the Census Bureau, which is roughly the same as in the second and third quarters, following a 100-basis-point spike in the first quarter. The occupancy rate has been steadily increasing for the last decade. At the end of the Great Recession, single-family rental occupancies stood at about 89%.

For real estate giant JLL, the deal represents a move into single-family rental housing, which has accelerated as an investment play during the coronavirus pandemic. Other major investors have jumped into the sector recently with considerable gusto.

Canadian pension fund PSP Investments partnered with Pretium Partners last month to invest about $548M to buy houses to rent in the southeastern and southwestern United States. In October, Rockpoint made a $300M investment in a single-family rental joint venture with sector specialist Invitation Homes. The JV could ultimately put $1B in the sector in the West, the Southeast, Florida and Texas.