With major investment managers such as the Blackstone Group, Colony Capital and GI Partners buying large numbers of single-family homes, and pension funds such as CalPERS and CalSTRS investing in the assets, single-family residential is steadily gaining recognition as a long-term, institutional-quality, real estate investment. Blackstone has purchased more than 30,000 post-foreclosure houses for more than $5 billion since early 2012 and is buying more. "I think that there is room for a few million houses to be in institutional hands," said Greg Hebner, managing director of Los Angeles-based real estate investment firm Arixa Capital Advisors.

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