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Warren renews criticism of private equity’s role in housing

(Bloomberg) — Senator Elizabeth Warren is doubling down on her criticism of private equity participation in the US housing market as the country grapples with an affordable housing shortage.

In letters sent Thursday, the Massachusetts Democrat asked housing firms Progress Residential LLC, Invitation Homes Inc. and American Homes4Rent about recent rent hikes, plans to acquire more properties in recent years, and the number of evictions. asked about

Warren and other Democrats have scrutinized Wall Street’s role in the housing market since the 2008 financial crisis. During the pandemic, lawmakers have been on high alert for violations of eviction restrictions and unfair treatment as Americans struggle financially to stay on their feet.

Warren also expressed concerns about automated homebuying practices, which allow companies to buy properties using algorithms. Bloomberg reported that Zillow sold thousands of homes to institutional investors last year.

Invitation Homes and American Homes 4 Rent are both publicly traded companies. Blackstone Inc., a leading private-equity firm, took Invitation Homes public in 2017, but later sold its stake in the company. Progress Residential was formed by alternative-investment manager Pretium Partners LLC.

American Homes4Rent said in a statement that it seeks to “help improve the situation and arrive at a solution.” Progress Residential said it has complied with the eviction moratorium and will work with Warren. Invitation Home did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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