California firm using Alaska pension dollars to buy Cincinnati real estate

American Homes 4 Rent acquiring homes to rent

CINCINNATI - A California-based firm is using millions of Alaskan pension fund dollars to buy hundreds of homes in the Greater Cincinnati area to use for corporate rentals.

Property records show that American Homes 4 Rent has bought at least 63 houses the past few months and is using a dozen local firms to find, close and manage properties.

George Goforth, Vice-President of Acquisitions for the firm's office in Kenwood, said the company should be the largest single-family home owner by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, the $40 billion Alaska Permanent Fund decided to invest $400 million in American Homes 4 Rent.

How much of that money is being used in the Tri-State isn't known. A figure of $30 million has been floating around real estate circles.

However, when asked Goforth laughed at that number, saying it's much higher. He declined to be more specific.

Sibcy Cline real estate agent Cathy Fields, who works in the Eastgate office, just sold one of her listings in Clermont County's Union Township to American Homes 4 Rent.  

The asking price was $160,000 for the two-story on North Yorkshire Court, but it went for $155,000 cash.
The deal closed in 21-days and the home inspection took less than 30-minutes.

"Normal closing is any where from 30-45 days. Inspections last two to three hours. It's typically not a cash transaction," She said. "It moved very smoothly and quick."

Fields said the company is very selective in the properties purchased.  Homes have to be build in the last 20 years, have no major structural problems and have three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths plus a two-car garage.

"The listing I had was four years old," she said. "It met all their criteria."

A high volume of deals could continue to give strength to the real estate market. Sales of existing homes were up 19 percent in October, compared to a year ago.

Kellie Barter, Office Manager of the Eastgate Sibcy Cline location, said the transaction she's seen from American Homes 4 Rent are unusual.

"I've been licensed for 12-years and I haven't seen anything like that where they're coming in and doing it in a quick fashion," she said. "They've got the cash. They're doing more than one transaction at a time. They're ready to close them fast and the inspections are quick."

Overall, Barter said the deals are great for the market, which has proven over time to be quite stable.

"We haven't seen the big swings that they've seen on the east and the west coast, so why not put money into a market that's more stable?" she said.

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