``Private equity firm Blackstone Group borrowed $2 billion from banks to invest in single-family homes it intends to rent out. Someone thinks the housing rally will continue! The Wall Street Journal reports that "Blackstone's agreement with Deutsche Bank, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, and other lenders more than tripled the size of its previous loan, to $2.08 billion from $600 million, a person familiar with the deal said. Deutsche, which had arranged Blackstone's initial accord, will remain the lead bank on the bigger loan. Private-equity firms such as Colony Capital LLC and real-estate investment firm Waypoint Real Estate Group LLC have snapped up thousands of previously foreclosed homes in recent months to rent out as part of a strategy to take advantage of the recovery of the housing market." It appears that leverage is alive and well. "Blackstone has said it is buying single-family homes at the rate of $100 million a week, a faster pace than any other buyer. The firm now owns around 20,000 homes, say people familiar with the matter. The firm expects to spend more than $4 billion on homes, and could seek additional loans related to fund these purchases, these people said."''

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