07/14/2015 | by
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Starwood Waypoint Single-Family REIT Seeing Higher Leasing Activity

Doug Brien, CEO of Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust (NYSE: SWAY), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview during REITWeek 2015: NAREIT’s Investor Forum, held in New York.

Based in Oakland, Calif., Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust acquires, renovates, leases, maintains and manages single-family homes. Brien said rental demand is at its highest level in more than six years due in part to construction remaining in check.

“We’re in a place now where we’re seeing a lot of velocity in our leasing. Our leasing statistics have done as well or better than we’ve ever seen.  In general, we’re seeing a high level of demand,” Brien said.

Brien noted that while home prices have recovered from where they were at the trough of the market, there is still a “very compelling opportunity” to make acquisitions. He noted that a recent internal company survey revealed the availability of more than 120,000 homes that fit Starwood’s market profile.

“We think there’s a great buying opportunity out there, and we’re being very selective and taking very much a sharpshooter approach to picking the right neighborhood,” Brien said.

Meanwhile, Brien described the company’s balance sheet as “in line with what you would expect from a growth company.”

Starwood Waypoint’s leverage ratio is around 61 percent, “but the debt that’s out there is really attractive, and we think it’s a compelling source of capital,” Brien noted.

He underscored that the company owns about $2.5 billion of single-family rental homes and non-performing loans that have experienced solid price appreciation. “These are highly liquid assets, so we’re going to be looking at selectively selling certain cohorts of homes and loans,” he said.