Investors Pile Into Housing, This Time as Landlords
LAKE FOREST, Calif.—Jeff Pintar had buyer’s remorse as he purchased 12 foreclosed homes in five Southern California counties on a single day. His regret: that he didn’t buy more homes a year earlier.
“Things have turned around faster than anyone anticipated,” said Mr. Pintar, who first began buying properties here four years ago and now owns or manages 1,700 homes, which he rents out for between $1,000 and $3,800 a month. Here in Orange County, nearly every home listed for less than $400,000 “is being pursued by institutional investor capital,” he said.
U.S. housing recoveries almost always have been ignited by rising demand from families and individuals looking for a place to live. This recovery is different. Investors—including some big Wall Street players—are leading the way, say industry executives and analysts. Their role is noteworthy given that flippers and speculators were blamed for helping to inflate the housing bubble of the past decade.
Today’s investors are mostly buying with the intention of holding on to the homes and renting them out. As they pile into the housing market, they have set off a chain reaction that has stabilized prices and changed market psychology, industry executives and analysts say. Fear of buying homes when prices are dropping has been replaced by the fear of missing out on cheap homes.