Most housing experts have attributed the housing boom to a number of factors—low mortgage rates driving more buying activity, including remote workers buying in completely different locations; millennials hitting peak home-buying age in the last five years; demand that overwhelmed supply… everything but investor involvement.  

In his new article for Fortune, journalist Lance Lambert writes that “even as investors piled into the housing market, many real estate insiders over the past two years hesitated to attribute much, if any, of the boom to investors.” 

But now, after looking at recent data published by Redfin, Freddie Mac, and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Lambert states that it’s time to recognize the part investors played in our current housing environment.

In the first quarter of 2022, investors made up a “record” 28% of single-family home sales, the article said, citing a report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies—up from 19% in the first quarter of 2021 and way up from the 16% number between 2017 and 2019. 

The uptick was most pronounced in the South and West regions, according to Redfin’s analysis, but all markets saw growth in investor activity. 

Meanwhile, Freddie Mac research found investor home purchases climbed from 26.7% to 27.6% between December 2019 and December 2021, and that doesn’t fully capture all-cash investor purchases.

“Investors with large portfolios (at least 100 properties) drove much of this growth, nearly doubling their share of investor purchases from 14% in September 2020 to 26% in September 2021,” the Harvard researchers wrote. “By buying up single-family homes, investors have reduced the already limited supply available to potential owner-occupants, particularly first-time and moderate-income buyers.”

These large investors include companies like Invitation Homes, the nation’s largest owner of single-family rental homes, but  iBuyers—including firms like Opendoor, Offerpad, RedfinNow, and Zillow Offers—were in the market too, buying up homes and putting them back on the market, the article said. 

“When you step back and examine the elevated demand that has come from the investor side of the market, it’s clear they’ve attributed, at least in some degree, to soaring home prices,” Fortune concluded. 

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