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Are investors to blame for low housing inventory?

by Lindsey Wells

Investors across the country are looking to cash in on skyrocketing house prices and rents, putting them in competition with new buyers trying to work their way to homeownership. Real estate investors bought a record 18% of the homes sold in the third quarter, according to a new Redfin report.

Investors purchased a record $64 billion in homes as growing housing and rental prices boosted prospects for returns. They seem to have their sights set on single-family homes, which made up nearly three-quarters of investor purchases — an all-time high.

“Investors looking to buy homes will confront people who want to live in them,” said Daryl Fairweather, chief economist at Redfin.

Low-priced properties represented 36% of investor purchases, the smallest share on record, according to the report. Investors had the largest market share in Atlanta, Phoenix, Charlotte, Jacksonville and Miami, meaning many homes they bought face high flood and heat risk. 

“Increasing home prices fueled by an intense housing shortage have created opportunities for investors to reap big profits,” said Sheharyar Bokhari, senior economist at Redfin. “Those same factors have pushed more Americans to rent, which also creates opportunities for investors because investors typically turn the homes they purchase into rentals and can now charge higher rents.”

Average monthly rents rose 10.7% year over year in September, the fastest growth in at least two years, while the median home sale price increased 13.9%, according to the report. 

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