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BlackRock under fire amid reports private-equity firms are ‘snapping up single-family houses’

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With home prices taking off, BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, is taking heat for outbidding typical buyers of single-family homes, reportedly increasing the demand and driving prices upward.

Back in April, the Wall Street Journal ran an article about “yield-chasing” private-equity firms with billions “snapping up single-family houses to rent out or flip.”

Vox summed it up well when the outlet observed that “investors have turned to the real estate market because it has become a very profitable place to put your money.”

“The main reason it has become so profitable is the preexisting housing shortage created by local governments and certain homeowners seeking to block new homes from being built, leading to a nearly 4 million home shortage nationwide,” the story noted.

While building more homes may be a logical answer, making it difficult for private-equity firms to dominate the market share, there was no shortage of blame on social media being directed at BlackRock:

Conservative Ben Shapiro had a different take on events, calling attention not only to our “insane monetary policy” but the other side of the equation — homeowners eager to sell to Blackrock.

“Blackrock is buying homes from people willing to sell them,” Shapiro said in a series of tweets. “If you don’t like what they’re doing, target the loose governmental policy incentivizing this sort of investment…. you could direct your energies toward stopping the Fed’s insane monetary policy, which is driving down the cost of loans and creating a massive bubble.”

“If you’re mad at Blackrock and want to artificially prevent them from buying single-family homes, I’d like for you to explain to those who currently own the homes why you’re taking money out of their pocket,” he added.

One thing is certain, the issue is more complicated than some understand and draws plenty of commentary about the government’s role and who really benefits. There are also observations about BlackRock being woke and how that may factor in.

Here is a sampling of other responses to the story from Twitter:

Tom Tillison

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