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REITs have been around for more than 50 years, so it’s rare to see a whole new REIT category arise virtually overnight. But that’s what’s happening now with single-family home REITs.

Real estate operators and private investment pools responded to the mortgage crisis by buying large numbers of single-family homes in distress or foreclosure. In recent months, they then began offering public participation in these properties through equity REITs. The first two U.S.-listed REIT offerings in the single-family home rental market were made by Silver Bay Realty Trust (SBY, 5,000 homes) in December 2012 and American Residential Properties (ARPI, 3,100 homes) in May of this year. The third REIT in the category, and biggest yet with 18,000 homes, was launched on July 31 with the IPO of American Homes 4 Rent (AMH).

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