Report: Investor home purchases high in 2011

Research indicates that sales of investment homes surged 64.5 percent in 2011, as 41 percent of those purchasing such properties bought more than one.

Investors acquired a total of about 1.23 million homes last year, according to the National Association of Realtors’ Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey, with high and growing rents motivating them to get involved in, or increase their involvement in, the rental property sector. NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun noted that low home prices only make the opportunity more tempting.

The result is that bank-owned inventory is spending less time on the market and foreclosure volume is lower than it would be otherwise, potentially adding stability to the housing market as a side effect. These investors may be in need of assistance from property management companies, particularly those who purchased multiple properties without extensive experience.

The number of individuals purchasing vacation homes also grew by 7 percent, according to the NAR, with sales reaching 502,000. In total, combined investment and vacation home sales accounted for a higher percentage of single-family transactions than they have since 2005.