Many real estate investors are not having a very good year, according to new data released by Redfin (NASDAQ:RDFN).
Last month, nearly one in seven (13.5%) U.S. homes sold by an investor went for less than the investor’s original purchase price. That is something of an improvement from the 14.5% rate recorded in February – the highest rate since 2016 – although it is still far above the record low rate was 2.8% set in May 2022. By comparison, 4.8% of overall U.S. homes that sold in March were sold at a loss.
Roughly one in five (20.8%) homes sold by flippers in March sold at a loss, higher than the 13.5% share for investors overall – Redfin defined a flipper as an investor that bought a home and resold it within nine months.
Redfin determined that the typical investor who sold a home in March sold it for 45.9% more ($145,714) than the price they paid, down from 55.3% ($173,458) a year earlier and a pandemic peak of 67.9% ($199,274) in June 2022. Redfin noted that slowdown in home sales in response to high mortgage rates has created this problem for investors.
“You might wonder why investors don’t just wait to sell until the housing market bounces back. Many long-term investors who rent their properties out are doing that, but many flippers—especially those who bought recently—can’t afford to,” said Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari. “Holding onto homes that aren’t producing income can be expensive because the owner is on the hook for property taxes, along with operating costs and monthly mortgage payments in some cases. Many short-term investors are also opting to sell because they know prices may have more room to fall and want to cut their losses.”
Still, investors are not going away. Redfin observed that investors owned 10.1% of new listings on the market as of December, the most recent month for which listing data is available. And while that is down from a peak of 12.4% a year earlier, it remains above the pre-pandemic levels.