Amateur Real Estate Investors Play the Professionals
By: Kaydee Ambas · January 30, 2023 · Reading Time: 3 minutes
Housing Market Roller Coaster
The housing market was red hot during the pandemic. The work-from-home movement prompted location reshuffles across the country, and low interest rates made for affordable financing. An uptick of investors started buying up properties as investments, often selecting homes sight-unseen using computer algorithms to assess valuations. 24% of all single-family homes sold in the US in 2021 were bought by investors.
Broad-based inflation caught up with housing price increases in 2022 as supply chain disruptions and the impact of the Russo-Ukrainian war flowed through to the general economy. Interest rates rose amid Fed policy tightening, slowing the housing market’s continued growth.
Even so, the Wall Street players continued to buy.
Individual Investor Profits
Pan now to 2023. The Fed has raised interest rates seven times since its first hike of the current series in March 2022. As mortgage rates climbed, peaking above 7% in November of last year, many would-be homebuyers exited the market, eroding support for home prices.
Many of the corporate players have reversed course in the face of declining valuations, now trying to offload investment properties they acquired in recent years.
Amateur investors and first-time buyers are playing the corporate professionals that misjudged the market — and winning.
Buy High, Sell Low
Big institutions were slow to react to the shifting tide of the housing market. For example, Opendoor Technologies (OPEN) continued to make outsized offers and snap up properties even as local investors saw trouble ahead for real estate. Holding large inventories of properties amid the current slump has Opendoor and other institutional investors such as hedge funds looking to unload these holdings. Individual investors are more than happy to buy — at discounted prices.
Amateur real estate investors are making hefty profits as big institutional players exit these buy high, sell low transactions. The influx of homes being sold at a loss is also beneficial for individuals and families looking to purchase a primary residence.
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