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Investor homebuying cools in South Florida

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Investor homebuying cools in South Florida

When home prices hit bottom in 2012, large investment firms targeted South Florida, but a new report shows the bargain-hunting eventually trailed off.

Institutional investors gobbled up 5,404 Broward properties over the past two years, the 11th most in any county nationwide, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a foreclosure listing company in Irvine, Calif.

Palm Beach County ranked 39th, with 2,479 homes sold to investment firms from 2012 through 2014.

Some counties smaller than Broward and Palm Beach saw more homes sold to investors, RealtyTrac said. Mecklenberg County, North Carolina had 8,852 investor sales, ranking third nationwide. Shelby County, Tenn., was ninth with 6,328 sales.

Maricopa County, Ariz., led the nation with 19,133 purchases by large-scale investors, defined as any firm buying 10 or more homes in a calendar year.

"It's certainly true that institutional investors were active in South Florida, but we didn't see as high a concentration there as some of the other markets," said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

"I don't think the market will be as insanely active as it was, but I still think it will be very good"-- David Dweck, founder of the Boca Real Estate Investment Club

When South Florida home prices spiked by 20 percent or more, investors found fewer properties in the "sweet spot" price range of $150,000 and below, Blomquist said.

What's more, lengthy foreclosure delays kept many homes off the market in Florida, where judges were inundated with cases from the housing bust. In states such as Arizona, Georgia and Texas, foreclosures aren't required to go through the court system.

David Dweck, founder of the Boca Real Estate Investment Club, said investors remain bullish on Palm Beach and Broward counties.

© Paul Owers 15.01.2015    United States


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