Understanding the real estate industry is always a challenge, but the recovery that we have been talking about recently has not been kind to homeowners. Instead, what we are seeing is the market finding it’s base through the investor class.
The share of Americans who own their homes was 65 percent in the first quarter, down from 65.4 percent a year earlier and the lowest level since the third quarter of 1995, the Census Bureau reported today. The vacancy rate for rented homes dropped to 8.6 percent from 8.8 percent a year earlier, while vacancies for owner-occupied houses fell to 2.1 percent from 2.2 percent.
Investors are buying single-family homes and renting them out to capitalize on demand among families unable to qualify for a mortgage. Their purchases, many made with cash, are helping to support the housing recovery and pushing up prices. Home values in 20 cities increased 9.3 percent in February from a year earlier, the most since May 2006, according to the S&P/Case- Shiller (SPCS20Y%) index released today.
Tight credit has been a huge part of the real estate industry these days. The home owner class has been beaten up financially by the downturn and still has not recovered from it. Instead of being homeowners, they are renting the homes they used to own… Ouch.
Investors are finding the low prices and even lower interest rates as the chance to increase their holdings. Add to this large investment pools buying up real estate in certain cities, the market volume has been increasing. But the “American Dream” buyers are still recovering and sitting on the sidelines. They will be back, but this recovery is investor driven so we must be patient for the past homeowners to come back.