Investors Bought a Quarter of Homes Sold Last Year, Driving Up Rents
Investors bought nearly a quarter of U.S. single-family homes that sold last year, often driving up rents for suburban families in the process.
The issue is especially acute in some Sun Belt states amid evidence that investors often can outbid other buyers, keeping starter homes out of the hands of would-be owners, especially suburban Black and Hispanic families. Some local officials in those states are pushing for increased regulation of investor purchases, but many Republican lawmakers oppose such controls.
Investors bought 24% of all single-family houses sold nationwide last year, up from 15% to 16% annually going back to 2012, according to a Stateline analysis of data provided by CoreLogic, a California-based data analytics firm. That share dipped only slightly in the first five months of 2022 to 22%.
Investor purchases doubled or more in Florida, Nevada, Vermont and Washington state from 2020 to 2021. In Vermont, they grew from 7% of sales in 2020 to 17% last year and in Nevada from 18% to 30%.
Five states saw the highest share of investor purchases. Investors bought a third of single-family homes sold in Georgia (33%) last year, with Arizona (31%), Nevada (30%), California and Texas (both 29%) not far behind.
Investor ownership began to grow after the Great Recession of 2008-2009, when large swaths of overbuilt Sun Belt homes went into foreclosure, and investors snapped them up. Investor ownership grew again last year as pandemic-related demand for suburban housing rose, and investors saw a chance to win bidding wars with cash offers.