Investors Drive Rise in U.S. Housing Prices; Should We Be Wary?

The nationwide rebound in housing prices has been treated as welcome news. But should we be celebrating the growing presence of large investment firms in our communities, often at the expense of the ordinary buyer?

"The last time the housing market was this hot in Phoenix and Las Vegas, the buyers pushing up prices were mostly small time. Nowadays, they are big time — Wall Street big," reports Nathaniel Popper. "Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation’s most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out. Some are already wondering if prices will slump anew if the big money stops flowing."

"Some see the emergence of Wall Street buyers as a market-driven answer to the nation’s housing ills. Investment companies are buying up rundown homes at a time when ordinary people can’t or won’t."

"Yet some investment companies are already pulling back in the markets that have had the fastest growth," he cautions. "In Phoenix, the percentage of all house purchases involving investors fell to about 25 percent in March from a high of 36 percent last summer, according to the Campbell HousingPulse Survey. The same survey shows that investors have been increasing their presence in new areas like Florida and California."

Full Story: Behind the Rise in House Prices, Wall Street Buyers

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