As Benjamin Franklin supposedly once said, "Out of adversity comes opportunity." Though he probably wasn't talking about real estate, that old adage applies perfectly to two new real estate investment trusts: Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp (NYSE:SBY) and Altisource Residential Corporation Class B (NYSE:RESI), which are hoping to turn the foreclosure crisis into a gold mine.
Backlog of foreclosures presented new sources of profit As the housing crisis worsened, foreclosed properties littered the landscape. Last year, however, large investor groups began purchasing distressed single-family homes in bulk, then sprucing them up in order to ready them for the rental market. One of the biggest players in this new market is The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) , which shelled out over $2.5 billion last year to buy 16,000 dwellings to add to its rental portfolio. Looking for its own piece of the pie, diversified REIT Colony Financial Inc (NYSE:CLNY) predicts that it will have $1.5 billion invested in the single-family rental market by year's end, and it has just recently been given the green light from Fannie Mae to purchase nearly 1,000 foreclosed California properties.
It's not hard to understand the attraction of a newly minted business sector that analysts have predicted will top $1.5 trillion in value as its own asset class. Growth is expected to be particularly vigorous over the next two years , and both Silver Bay and Altisource have been launched to take advantage of this new opportunity.
Silver Bay, of course, is the offspring of Two Harbors Investment Corp (NYSE:TWO) , a hybrid mortgage REIT with a current yield approaching 18%. Two Harbors took Silver Bay public a little more than one month ago, donating its own single-family home portfolio in order to create the first REIT built on this particular model. While the IPO gave Silver Bay a value of $245 million, its market cap now stands at $792 million -- not bad for a newbie.
Days later, Altisource Portfolio Solutions S.A. (NASDAQ:ASPS) , a company specializing in real estate-owned properties, announced its own spin-off -- and Altisource Residential was born. Altisource Portfolio is itself a child of Ocwen Financial Corporation (NYSE:OCN). , a mover and shaker in the mortgage servicing arena. Both Altisource Residential and Silver Bay have seen their stock values rise by almost 13% since their IPOs.
One Fool's take There isn't a lot of information out there concerning Altisource Residential just yet, but Silver Bay has been pretty active in acquiring properties over the past few months -- spending around $40 million to $50 million on a monthly basis. Analysts predict that the REIT's portfolio will expand to more than 8,000 single-family houses by the end of this year, up from its current 3,100 or so.