Investors plan to step up purchases of homes in United States, survey shows

Despite price rises, US investors still see good opportunities, say real estate researchers

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 September, 2012, 1:41am

Almost two-thirds of US property investors plan to buy as many as or more homes in the next 12 months than they have in the past year - even as prices rise - according to a survey.

Some 39 per cent of active property investors intend to step up their purchases, while 26 per cent expect to buy the same number in the coming year, according to the survey conducted by ORC International, a Princeton, New Jersey-based research firm.

About 30 per cent of investors plan to reduce their purchases, the study showed.

"Although housing markets are changing across the nation, investors are still seeing great opportunities," said Josh Dorkin, chief executive officer of a Denver-based real estate social-networking company that commissioned the survey.

"They will certainly continue to be major players in the nation's housing economy for the foreseeable future."

Dorkin said rising rents were benefiting 28.1 million US home investors - people who own property as landlords rather than as occupants.

Demand for rentals has risen as people with damaged credit or who lack money for down payments stay out of the homebuying market.

Low mortgage rates and prices about one-third below their 2006 peak have made buying cheaper than renting in all 100 of the largest US metropolitan areas, according to a September 13 report by Trulia, a San Francisco-based real estate information service.

Investors purchased 18 per cent of houses in August, up from 16 per cent in July and down from 22 per cent in August last year, the National Association of Realtors reported.

The median price of an existing home climbed 9.5 per cent from a year earlier to US$187,400, while the annual sales pace rose to the highest level in two years.