As Congress examines the factors contributing to today’s housing shortage, a new Realtor.com analysis shows that investors are taking a record share of homes for sale during the spring home buying season.
While investor purchases softened in January and February, investor purchases in April increased by 31% over the same period in 2021 and 64% over the same period in 2019, while total sales decreased by 8% compared to last year and increased by only 7%. Until 2019
Investors bought a near-record high in April, adding 9.5% of homes sold in the month, up 2.8 percentage points from the same period last year, but slightly lower than February’s peak of 9.7%. In other words, investor behavior has mirrored non-investor behavior since February when investor enthusiasm outpaced non-investor buyers.
The investor share of home sales has moderated from an all-time high in February 2022, but remains roughly double the level from 2014-2015. After a decline in the first months of the pandemic, investors have regained their share of home purchases over the past two years, outpacing the growth of non-investors and achieving a new high of 9.7% of home sales in February 2022.
However, since February, investor purchases have been somewhat offset by non-investor purchases, bringing their share of total purchases to 9.5 percent. Still, the share of investor buyers today is roughly double what it was at the same point in 2014 and 2015.
Investors appeared to be on track to sell more than buy in the spring as they pulled back buying activity in late 2021 and early 2022, boosting the overall home inventory. Investor buying activity continues, however, and investors continue to buy more homes than they sell, competing with home buyers more than sellers. iBuyers, however, have recently become net sellers of real estate.
Investors took more inventory off the market than they added in April and bought homes for 10% less on average than they sold them. However, investors sold more homes than last year (+24%).
Nationally, investor purchases increased 9.5% of home sales in April, 9.7% in February and more than 64% in 2019.
On average, the 10 fastest-growing investor-buying markets offer more affordable home prices ($372,000) than the U.S. median ($425,000), led by Charlotte, North Carolina. Jacksonville, Florida; and Birmingham, Alabama.
By size, large investors bought 35% of investor homes in 2021, up from 28% in 2019 and 22% in 2015. Large investors’ share of the purchase market took a step back from the fall 2021 peak. Despite a recent retreat, large investors have taken market share from small and medium-sized investors, accounting for approximately one in three investor-purchased homes.
Investor buying activity is highest in the South, which has seen significant growth in investor buying activity over the past 12 months. The Midwest had the second-highest share among regions, while the West saw the second-highest increase in the share of investor purchases. The increase in the South and West was largely driven by increased activity by large investors.
Consistent with regional trends, markets in the South and West include Charlotte, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Florida; And Birmingham, Alabama saw the biggest increase in investor home buying activity over the past 12 months.
In the year Investor home purchases in 2021 are up 64 percent from 2020, a year in which investor activity was negatively impacted by the pandemic. Still, 2021 purchases increased by 39 percent compared to 2019, and investor activity was higher than before the outbreak. This year, investor purchases softened in January and February, but in April, investor purchases increased by 31 percent compared to last year. And at the same time in 2019, 64%, total sales decreased by 8% compared to last year and increased by only 7% compared to 2019.
The share of homes purchased by investors is increasing and remains near historic highs. In April, investors bought 9.5% of homes, down from a peak of 9.7% in February, but up 2.8 percentage points from last year.
This high share was driven by growth in investor purchase counts and a pullback from non-investor buyers, who bought 11% fewer homes in April than a year earlier. However, while the share of the home buying investor remained at double the level of April 2015 (4.8%), the rate of growth in this share finally slowed after 19 consecutive months of growth in February.