Investors are scouring real estate markets looking for low-priced homes, and they’re increasingly stepping on the toes of first-time home buyers, who are hunting in the same price range. “The investor is starting to gobble up pretty much anything under $200,000,” Dennis Cisterna, chief revenue officer for Investability Real Estate, which markets rental homes, told The Dallas Morning News. “We are not adding any new supply to the market to serve that first-time home buyer.”
Housing inventories are at the lowest level in 30 years, and the shortages are most pronounced in the low and middle price ranges. “We are losing inventory at a record pace and in the segment of the market with the most demand,” says Javier Vivas, a realtor.com® analyst.
Investors comprised 33 percent of all single-family and condo sales in 2016, the highest percentage ever recorded by real estate data firm ATTOM Data Solutions. “This is setting the stage for a boom in single-family rentals,” says Daren Blomquist, an economist at ATTOM.
But while institutional investors dominated the rental housing market after the housing crash, they’re increasingly being priced out of markets such as Denver and Dallas. Smaller mom-and-pop investors are now stepping in to take their place. “The investors are competing for those starter homes,” Blomquist says, adding that 61 percent of investor purchases are for homes between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet.
Investors also tend to pay cash, which is making it difficult for first-time buyers who need financing to compete. About 19 million single-family homes in the U.S. are now owned by investors, according to ATTOM Data Solutions.