A picture of a man in a suit holding a house miniature in one hand and a set of keys in the other

© krisanapong detraphiphat - Moment / Getty Images

Real estate investors are buying up homes, and first-time buyers increasingly are finding themselves up against them in bidding wars.

Investors are drawn to real estate to flip single-family homes, townhomes, and condos for a profit and to build their portfolio of properties to convert them to rental units.

The share of investors is at the highest level since 2015, according to realtor.com®’s data. They’re most notably targeting the Midwest and Sun Belt, where rental prices are climbing but home prices still remain relatively affordable compared with some other regions of the U.S., realtor.com® says.

“Investors are particularly attracted to affordably priced homes, the very homes that would normally be appealing to first-time buyers,” says George Ratiu, realtor.com®’s manager of economic research. “Investors who generally come with cash have a significant advantage over first-timers who typically rely on a mortgage. In a market with few homes for sale already, this prices out many buyers.”

Realtor.com®’s research team identified where investors are purchasing the highest share of homes by evaluating thousands of deed records in the nation’s 50 largest metro areas. They looked at single-family homes, condos, and townhomes that were purchased by investor entities. Individual investors—mom and pops purchasing a unit to rent—were not included in the analysis. For geographic diversity, the team also limited its list to one metro per state.

The following areas are where investors are purchasing the highest share of homes, according to realtor.com®.

Memphis, Tenn.

  • Share of investor buyers in July: 17%
  • Median list price in September: $249,000
  • Median rent in September: $1,217

Birmingham, Ala.

  • Share of investor buyers: 16%
  • Median list price: $271,000
  • Median rent: $1,115

St. Louis

  • Share of investor buyers: 14%
  • Median list price: $250,000
  • Median rent: $1,150

Charlotte, N.C.

  • Share of investor buyers: 13%
  • Median list price: $390,000
  • Median rent: $1,543

Jacksonville, Fla.

  • Share of investor buyers: 13%
  • Median list price: $370,000
  • Median rent: $1,446

To view the full top 10 list, visit realtor.com®.

Advertisement