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Real Estate Investors Plan to Purchase More Homes in U.S.

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Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Almost two-thirds of U.S. residential real estate investors plan to buy as many as or more homes in the next 12 months than they have in the past year even as prices rise, according to a survey released today.

About 39 percent of active property investors intend to step up their purchases, while 26 percent expect to buy the same number in the coming year, according to a survey conducted by ORC International, a Princeton, New Jersey-based research firm. About 30 percent of investors plan to reduce their purchases, the study showed.

“Though housing markets are changing across the nation, investors are still seeing great opportunities,” Josh Dorkin, chief executive officer of BiggerPockets.com, a Denver-based real estate social-networking company that commissioned the survey, said in a statement. “They will certainly continue to be major players in the nation’s housing economy for the foreseeable future.”

Rising rents are benefiting the 28.1 million U.S. residential real estate investors -- people who own property as landlords rather than as occupants -- Dorkin said. Demand for rentals has risen as people with damaged credit or lack of money for down payments stay out of the homebuying market.

Low mortgage rates and prices about one-third below their 2006 peak have made buying cheaper than renting in all 100 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a Sept. 13 report by Trulia Inc., a San Francisco-based real estate information service.

Investors purchased 18 percent of houses in August, up from 16 percent in July and down from 22 percent in August 2011, the National Association of Realtors reported yesterday. The median price of an existing home climbed 9.5 percent from a year earlier to $187,400, while the annual sales pace rose to the highest level in two years.

Distressed Properties

Deals for distressed homes -- properties seized properties and short sales, in which properties are purchased for less than their mortgage balances -- accounted for 22 percent of transactions in August, down from 31 percent a year earlier, as the sales volume increased and fewer foreclosures came to market, the Realtors group said.

The telephone survey of 3,036 real estate investors was conducted in August for BiggerPockets.com and Memphis Invest, a single-family home investment-advisory firm based in Memphis, Tennessee.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Gittelsohn in Los Angeles at johngitt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kara Wetzel at kwetzel@bloomberg.net

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