Investors scaling back home purchases

September 24, 2014
Author: Paul Owers. Sun Sentinel

Investors pulling back on home buying is one of the biggest issues facing South Florida's housing market, an analyst said Friday.

"There's still a lot of investor activity, but it is declining," said Brad O'Connor, a research economist for the Florida Realtors trade group. "As they exit the market, will demand from traditional homebuyers still push prices up?"

So far, the answer is yes, but some industry experts wonder whether that will change. They say investors have played too large of a role in the housing rebound by artificially inflating prices.

O'Connor was one of the featured speakers during a housing forum sponsored by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.

In July, 523 Broward buyers paid cash for single-family homes, down 10 percent from the prior year, according to data from the Realtor board. Cash sales countywide dropped 8 percent in June from June 2013.

Richard Barkett, chief executive of Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors, said he isn't worried about fewer investors. They've been squeezing out traditional buyers, who now will have more of an "opportunity to be active in the marketplace," he said.

Also Friday, Ned Murray, associate director of the Metropolitan Center at Florida International University, presented a report showing a lack of workforce housing in Broward.

"We need to make it a priority," he said.

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