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Real estate tech startups are making it easier for people to invest and manage property. But critics argue that these software companies and their business models are gobbling up the limited amount of available housing in the process, driving up costs and pushing out first-time buyers. 

These investing services encourage users to invest in multiple properties, taking away already scarce housing inventory, said Tram Tran-Larson, a community engagement manager for the Housing Justice Project, a Seattle-based legal aid clinic that provides eviction defense for low income tenants and is part of the King County Bar Association. This drives up costs for available housing, she added.

But researchers argue that the lack of affordable housing has more to do with the limited supply, not the proliferation of tech-enabled real estate investing platforms.