First-time homebuyers who struggled to snag a property this past spring might have been competing with deep-pocketed investors.
While the share of investor purchases has fallen from its February peak of 9.7%, investors still scooped up 9.5% of homes in April, up 64% from the same time in 2019 and just about double the share of homes they purchased at the same point in 2015, according to a new analysis from Realtor.com.
Many paid in cash.
“In the shorter term, everyday home shoppers should be prepared to face tough competition from a group that has deep pockets, often filled with cash,” Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale said in a statement. “But sellers may benefit from investors making strong offers, at a time when overall demand is cooling.”
The trend was particularly acute in the South, according to Realtor.com. In the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia metropolitan area, which falls in both North Carolina and South Carolina, 20% of homes sold in the year ending in April went to investors. The share of investors purchasing homes in Branson, Missouri, was close behind at 19.5%.
What’s more, in eight of the top 10 metropolitan areas for investor purchases in April 2022, investors paid a median purchase price lower than the area’s overall median purchase price, according to Realtor.com. The two exceptions — Branson and Summit Park, Utah — are vacation destinations.
(Realtor.com is operated by News Corp NWSA, +0.29% subsidiary Move Inc., and MarketWatch is a unit of Dow Jones, which is also a subsidiary of News Corp.)
In its analysis, Realtor.com defined investors as a buyer or seller that was or is an absentee-owner, and has a name identifying it as a company or corporation. As a result, cash buyers are overrepresented in the data, since smaller investors tend to buy under an individual name, Realtor.com said.
Nonetheless, the data could draw further scrutiny to real-estate investors, who have already been under a microscope for their buying practices since the 2008 financial crisis. Democratic legislators have been particularly concerned about massive institutional investors swooping into majority non-white neighborhoods.