Aug 30, 2022 - News

Out-of-state small real estate investors eye Atlanta

Illustration of a hand about to pick up the last house surrounded by leftover imprints of other long gone houses. 
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Out of state, small investors — or "laptop landlords" — accounted for 5.26% of home sales in Atlanta during the first half of 2022, according to a new Wall Street Journal analysis.

Why it matters: Most of the frustration over the rental crisis in Southern cities like Atlanta has been directed at big corporations buying up hundreds of homes and renting them out for profit.

  • But smaller investors, defined as those who own between 2 and 10 homes, are also contributing to rising prices.

Details: The Journal story describes these landlords as mostly "well-paid professionals who view owning a rental as a core investment, alongside stock or bond funds." They take advantage of technology that enables them to buy a home quickly online, without even visiting the city where the home is located.

  • Data services help them “pick neighborhoods with precision,” the Journal found. The landlords can instantly see crime rates and school rankings, then use online real-estate marketplaces to connect with financing and local property managers.

The big picture: Investors bought up 28% of all single-family homes nationwide in February of this year, according to the data firm CoreLogic, the Journal reports.

  • People who own 10 or fewer homes accounted for about half of the overall investor haul.
  • Southern metros that have lots of low- and middle-income renters are particularly appealing to coastal investors, the Journal notes.
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