Behind the Rise in House Prices, Wall Street Buyers – NYTimes.com

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/behind-the-rise-in-house-prices-wall-street-buyers/

Large investment firms have spent billions of dollars over the last year buying homes in some of the nation’s most depressed markets. The influx has been so great, and the resulting price gains so big, that ordinary buyers are feeling squeezed out. Some are already wondering if prices will slump anew if the big money stops flowing.

Nationwide, 68 percent of the damaged homes sold in April went to investors, and only 19 percent to first-time home buyers.

The idea of investors’ buying homes and renting them out is nothing new. But in the past, landlords were almost always local. Now big investors are using agents like Mr. Cusumano to stake a claim to entire neighborhoods.

In a sign of the potential peril ahead, some of the investment firms have recently taken the first steps to cash out.

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