Property Investors Make Record Bets on Sizzling U.S. Housing

Property investors are riding rapid home price appreciation and fast-rising rents to make record bets on the U.S. housing market.

Investors bought nearly 68,000 homes in the second quarter, the most since at least 2000, according to a new report from brokerage Redfin Corp. Those purchases --including multifamily buildings, condos and single-family houses -- came at a cost of $49 billion, and represented 16% of home sales.

Property Investors Make Record Bets on Sizzling U.S. Housing

The wave of purchases came as investors have turned away from office buildings, shopping centers and other traditional types of commercial real estate. They’re also following demographic shifts accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, which sent families searching for larger living spaces in suburban markets.

Sun Belt cities were especially attractive, with investors accounting for a quarter of home purchases in Phoenix, and more than 20% in Miami, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Charlotte, North Carolina. They accounted for 13% of purchases in New York and just 9% in Seattle.

“Investors see soaring home prices as an opportunity,” Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari wrote in the report. “With housing values consistently on the rise, solid returns are pretty much guaranteed -- especially when you’re an investor who has access to extremely cheap debt.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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