Fewer homes bought last year as investments
Foreclosures and short-sales notwithstanding, fewer people bought U.S. homes for investment purposes last year.
That's according to a recent National Association of Realtors survey, which suggests that 940,000 homes went to real estate investors in 2009, a 16 percent drop from the previous year. (Primary-residence purchases rose 7 percent and vacation-home purchases were up 8 percent.)
That means 17 percent of all purchases were investments. In boom-year 2005, it was 28 percent.
The Realtors association doesn't have survey information at a state level, but it doesn't take an expert to know that investor activity varies a lot depending on the community. While it's not a perfect stand-in for real estate investment, it's worth noting that 31 percent of Baltimore City buyers last year did their deals entirely with cash, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems. That's up from 20 percent in 2008.
So, investors: What are you buying and why?
Many of the people purchasing Baltimore homes for investment purposes during the boom intended to rehab and quickly resell (or flip without rehabbing, since you didn't have to wait long for prices to rise). That faded as the market turned, and investors -- the ones left -- seemed more likely to buy with landlording in mind. I'm curious what you're seeing out there now, whether you're an investor or a resident watching it happen near you.
I'm especially curious how much investment is going on -- post-purchase -- as opposed to just owning. A lot of homes out there need work.