Leadership

Capital, Tech Stars Align In $750 Million Pathway Homes Push

New Resilabs initiative out of Regis Group engages capital, technology, and policy clout to expand attainable access to homeownership.

Leadership

Capital, Tech Stars Align In $750 Million Pathway Homes Push

New Resilabs initiative out of Regis Group engages capital, technology, and policy clout to expand attainable access to homeownership.

February 7th, 2022
Capital, Tech Stars Align In $750 Million Pathway Homes Push
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Can the impossible and the inevitable collide? How about the miraculously beneficial and the calamitous? The essential and the profligate?

Why, of course they can; we're in housing, after all! The business rules that apply mean opposites don't only attract. They smash powerfully up against one another by nature, practically as laws of physics.

Part of that owes to the data, the evidence, the actuality that goes, literally, with the turf of property ownership, its value, its attainability, its use, and its control. What someone, or some entity has, another, or others don't. That's the way property and its ripple effects into neighborhoods, communities, jurisdictions, and confederations behave.

And part of it – because it's here, in our localities and communities, and our states, and in our nation, and in our time of exponential technology and data, and algorithmic finance and investment, and mathematical policy and regulation – owes to a force field that has nothing to do with the crude data inputs of actuality.

Stories.

Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist and author, stated this in 1974:

No one ever made a decision because of a number,” Kahneman said afterward. “They need a story.”
He went on to demonstrate this phenomenon in multiple experiments. In case after case, he showed that people disregard even obvious facts and figures in favor of more vivid descriptions.
In essence, the easier people can picture something in their heads, the more they believe it.
“The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little,” Kahneman later wrote in his best-selling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

There are six sentences in italics above. One of them bears repeating.

In case after case, he showed that people disregard even obvious facts and figures in favor of more vivid descriptions.

The big collisions mentioned earlier – in housing – are the pounding crash stories, one against another. Big government. Big money. Big tech. Big data. Big law.

Clearly, people driving these "big" force factors in the economy, culture, society, and community these days are classic cases-in-point of Kahneman's framing of motivation and outcomes.

Why classic? Well starting in Shakespeare's "As You Like It," in 1600, the proverbial phrase hit print:

ROSALIND: Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?
Come, sister, you shall be the priest and marry us.
Give me your hand, Orlando. What do you say, sister?

The "big" forces all have a story in why America's 332.5 million people stream into so many different groupings that describe their access to fair, decent, healthy homes and communities – including, for too many, no access at all.

Heroes versus villains. Goliaths versus Davids. Good people versus bad people. Greedy versus generous. Pro affordability versus pro sustainability.

They're now thrashing and crashing and smashing one another, each seeking an upper hand to sway advantage around the trading value of a piece of dirt with boundaries and some form of vertical structure on it.

Into that crucible, where policymakers and shapers look to influence the switches and levers of money, rule of law, processes for authorization, approval, and timing, comes a big story that notably blends big money and big tech, in the face of growing push back, control, and challenge from big government – at the national and local level.

The News

A group of investors that built a single-family rental company inside Blackstone Inc. during the U.S. foreclosure crisis is back with a new venture -- one they say can help young families buy homes at a time when rising prices are pushing ownership increasingly out of reach.
Rent-to-own startup Pathway Homes plans to spend an initial $750 million acquiring houses on behalf of its customers, who will lease the properties with the option to purchase them. The company is backed by venture capital firm Fifth Wall, U.K.-based Regis Group and Invitation Homes Inc., the single-family landlord that Blackstone took public in 2017. – Bloomberg correspondent Patrick Clark

Launched by Regis Group's Resilabs affordable housing solutions incubator, key people involved in strategic leadership of Pathway Homes include FifthWall partner K.C. Cleary, Pathway Homes Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, and FifthWall advisory partner Kyle Ruane, a co-founder and Investments officer at Pathway.

As Bloomberg's Patrick Clark notes:

Texas-based Invitation Homes, the largest single-family landlord in the U.S. with more than 80,000 properties, is investing $225 million in Pathway’s first fund. The startup is in advanced talks with additional investors and could add an additional $1.5 billion in buying power, a representative said.

The operational model – similar to that of Blackstone's $6 billion deal to acquire Home Partners of America and its portfolio of 17,000 homes it rents to people who may want to buy them – proposes a supported rent-to-own value proposition to "the little guy" prospective owner-operator, often getting crowded or priced out of today's scarce-supply-heavy-demand existing home marketplace.

As the Pathway press statement notes:

Pathway helps potential buyers identify their ideal home, purchases it on their behalf, and then provides  them with options to purchase the home in the future. At purchase, Pathway establishes rent and home  purchase option prices with fixed, below market annual increases, typically over a five-year term.  Pathway's offering is grounded in five main benefits for their customers:

  • Access: Pathway provides potential ownership options for those with decent jobs and incomes, but who would not otherwise be able to buy a home due to credit or savings.
  • Fairness: Pathway works with our customers to ensure they will have the financial capacity to buy, provides financial counseling and support, offers transparent terms and doesn't impose financial penalties if the customer wants to leave the home.
  • Flexibility: Customers can move into a home of their choice without a commitment that leaves them financially stretched and provides them options to purchase in the future.
  • Stability: Fixed, agreed rental payments and purchase option prices provide customers with the ability to plan for the future.
  • Quality: Each Pathway home will undergo an upfront investment, ensuring the home is in good condition and updated with energy-efficient smart home technologies, and all homes will benefit from Invitation Homes industry leading property management services

That is the story. The benefits map to expanded attainable access to a path to homeownership as the promise, and the muscle of both deep real estate insight and capital to back it up.

Now comes the hard part. Making that story mean what it's intended to mean amidst the clash and clamor of rival stories that would attempt to dilute, or distract, or derail these efforts in favor of equally potent counter forces.

All of that big money, big tech, big data, and big sway gets activated at a moment the cross-fire of local home rule, big government regulatory initiatives over private equity finance, a hangover of pandemic era supply chain after-effects, and business as usual competitive and real world dynamics all seem to be tracking to peak intensity.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John McManus

John McManus

President and Founder

John McManus, founder and president of The Builder’s Daily, is an award-winning editorial, programming, and digital content strategist. TBD's purpose is a community capable of constant improvement.

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