Property purchases by residential investors up for first time in almost two years

Investor purchases of single-family homes rise on strong SFR rent growth

Real estate investors purchased 44,000 homes in the first quarter, an increase of 0.5% year over year, according to Redfin.

The increase is a modest one, but it’s the first upward movement since the second quarter of 2022, per Redfin’s data. Investor activity appears to be stabilizing after a rubber-band period during and after the pandemic; investor buys of residential properties more than doubled during the COVID-era housing boom, only to plummet by almost 50% last year.

Investor buys bottomed out in the first quarter of 2023, but with home prices and rents back on the upswing, the housing market is once again growing more appealing to home investors.

“Investor activity is steady,” said Connie Durnal a Redfin agent based in Dallas. “When home prices got crazy high during the pandemic, investors sold out. But several months ago, they started to ramp back up. I’m not seeing a lot of home flippers in our market, but there are a lot of investors looking for single-family homes to rent out, which are in short supply.”

Indeed, investor purchases of single-family homes were up 3.9% annually in the opening quarter of 2024, the first increase in almost two years. Strong rent growth and low tenant turnover in the single-family rental market has investors increasingly moving toward single-family purchasing. Investor buys of townhouses, condos and multifamily properties, on the other hand, were down 8.6%, 6.4% and 2.5% in the first three months of the year.

Interestingly, while the increase in investor activity is putting investors in bidding wars with primary home buyers, the dynamic between the two buyer groups is shifting.

“The balance of power between investors and regular buyers is changing,” said Amira Elgoneimy, a Redfin agent in New Jersey. “When there’s a bidding war for a home, it has become more common for the winner to be the person who actually plans to live in the home. Individual buyers are sitting on a lot of cash from the sale of their previous house and pandemic savings, so they’re willing to pay a little more upfront than investors, who have to be mindful of margins.”

While investors are buying fewer homes than they were during the pandemic era (and are facing hardier competition from non-investors), they’re still buying a sizeable share of homes on the market. Of all homes sold during the first quarter, 18.7% were bought by investors, up 17.9% annually to reach the highest level in almost two years.


More Headlines