I see a lot of stuff reported on the Internet that I take with a whole shaker of salt, but I've seen the following in too many places over the past week to just dismiss it. I'm looking for some of you involved in real estate to shed some light on this and let me know if it's for real. Because if it is, it could signal a comeback in real estate prices for certain markets.
What I'm referring to is the supposed housing shortage being experienced in much of California, as well as several other areas around the country. I've seen this reported from a number of reputable sources recently. Apparently the number of available starter homes in much of California has dried up, due in large part to institutional investors scooping them up before individual buyers can even view them. And it's not just in California.
The median price in Phoenix is up over 30 percent year over year. You read correctly, the year over year median price is up by 30 percent. Did incomes go up by this much? Of course not. For years you have nearly half of all properties being bought in this market going to investors. Rent prices have surged while banks leisurely leak out inventory while shelling out the best deals to other financial institutions with deep wallets. In other words all the bailouts were to create another bubble and crowd out the typical buyer and also, squeeze the wallets of many renters who probably are not able to buy.
I'm of two minds on this. Yes, it sucks if no one but investors have access to these "pocket listings" and true home buyers are being iced out of the market. On the other hand, a rising tide lifts all ships, so if housing prices are making a comeback on the backs of investors, is that necessarily a bad thing?
Maybe it comes down to the religion of home ownership in America. That's the original American dream, and it's deeply ingrained. But I would think that the crash would have illustrated that not everyone gets to own a home. Is that so bitter a pill to swallow?
I guess what I'm really wondering is whether it's a bad thing to have a real estate market dominated by investors. It occurs to me that the greater number of properties owned by investors, the cheaper the rents will be (supply outstripping demand). As long as we don't go back to sub-prime lending things can't really get out of hand, right? Or am I missing something?
Really looking for some input from real estate folks here, because it's an area where I've made a lot of money in the past and I wouldn't mind getting back into it if the time is right.