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  /  World News   /  Investors are buying a record share of affordable homes

Investors are buying a record share of affordable homes

(NewsNation) — Everyday Americans are struggling to find affordable homes, and competition from investors has made it even harder.

Investors bought a record 26.1% of low-priced homes sold in the first quarter, according to a new Redfin analysis.

“Any home that is entry-level is immediately pounced on,” Brian Connelly, a Boston-based Redfin agent, said in the report. “There’s a mix of first-time homebuyers, investors and second-home buyers all fighting for homes.”


Investors buying more homes; are they fueling rising prices?

Overall, investors bought $31.7 billion worth of homes in the first quarter, accounting for 18.7% of U.S. homes sold — the highest share in nearly two years.

In cities like Miami (30.6%), Cleveland (24.6%) and Jacksonville (24.5%), the share of investor purchases was even higher.

To put that in context, according to Redfin data: 20 years ago, investors accounted for less than 10% of home purchases.

The recent uptick in investor activity has been driven by single-family properties, which have become more attractive due to rising rents.

“I’m not seeing a lot of home flippers in our market, but there are a lot of investors looking for single-family homes to rent out, which are in short supply,” Dallas-based Redfin agent Connie Durnal said.

Elevated mortgage rates have also favored investors over regular buyers since most, nearly 70%, pay in cash, Redfin said.

Lately, investors have been seeing higher profits, which has enticed more to come off the sidelines. The typical home sold by an investor in March went for 55% more than they bought it for, up from 46% a year ago, the report found.

The latest findings highlight the ongoing frustration many Americans are feeling about the housing market. Today, just 21% of people think it’s a good time to buy, tying the lowest level ever, according to Gallup.

For its analysis, Redfin defined investors as any institutions or businesses that purchase residential real estate. These were identified on county sale records through keywords like “LLC,” “Inc,” “Trust,” “Corp,” and “Homes.”

Will the investor buying spree continue?

Federal and state lawmakers have proposed legislation that would limit institutional investors in the housing market.

Congressional Democrats introduced a bill in December that would ban hedge funds from buying and owning single-family homes in the U.S. It would also require them to sell off all the single-family homes they currently own over ten years.

Lawmakers in Nebraska, Minnesota, North Carolina and other states have launched similar efforts aimed at curtailing corporations buying up homes.

Although nothing significant has been signed into law yet, some think the balance of power is already starting to shift away from investors.

“When there’s a bidding war for a home, it has become more common for the winner to be the person who actually plans to live in the home,” Amira Elgoneimy, a Redfin agent in New Jersey, said in the report.

Part of that is because regular buyers are willing to pay more since they aren’t as focused on margins as investors, Elgoneimy pointed out.

As for the actual number of homes investors are buying, last quarter’s 44,000 total was much lower than the levels seen during the pandemic, when investors bought almost 90,000 homes in a quarter.

A 2022 analysis by Freddie Mac found that large corporate investors make up a relatively small share, just 2.5%, of home purchases. Other investor segments, like individuals, account for 24% of the market.