Wednesday November 25th, 2015 3:24PM

Metro Atlanta a hub for investor owned real estate

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA (AP) -- Real estate experts say investment companies are taking advantage of low home prices in the metro Atlanta region and have purchased nearly 40,000 of them in the past 18 months.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ( ) reported Sunday that figures from real estate data website RealtyTrac shows 13 of the top 25 counties nationally where institutional investors have made the greatest impact on real estate markets are in Georgia. The top six counties are all in the metro Atlanta region.

The newspaper reports investor owners are capitalizing on a large supply of cheap homes that were left throughout the region after the economic downturn.

RealtyTrac Vice President, Daren Blomquist, says the spike in investor owners is concerning.

"I think it's dangerous," he said. "It has some of the same characteristics that got us into the housing bubble in the first place."

Blomquist added that some who buy shares of investment homes - and some institutional buyers themselves - have never seen the properties they're purchasing, and aren't sure of what they're investing in.

"I'd rather have somebody here that owns the house," Otheree Bienville, of Snellville told the newspaper. "They're going to value their property more." About 20 homes in her Snellville subdivision have been purchased by institutional owners.

Investment firms bought 6,754 homes in the metro Atlanta region between April and June, which eclipses the country's second highest figure of 3,870 recorded in Dallas - which is a more populous area than Atlanta is.

Chief Executive of Colony American Homes, Justin Chang, says suburban Atlanta is a hot spot for investor owners because of job creation, deflated housing prices and an increasing population.

Investor owners buying properties in the metro Atlanta area has factored into the area's rising home prices. In April, home prices increased by 20.8 percent from a year ago according to the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index. The rise in cost was the highest ever recorded on the index.

Lee Budden, who once worked to find and purchase properties for two firms, said he thinks home prices may be increasing too quickly.

Sarah Edelman, a policy analyst with the Center for American Progress, said investor owners may lose incentive to maintain their properties if the prices begin to drop again. Investor owners are also avoiding some of the areas that were hardest hit by the economic downturn and could gain the most from outside intervention, Edelman said.

"Investors are part of the housing recovery, but they are not a housing recovery in and of themselves," she said. "We want to see a solid, stable recovery, not another boom and bust."
© Copyright 2015
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
The Latest: UN Security Council strongly condemns 'horrifying' attack in Mali, urges probe
BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — The latest on the attack on a hotel in the Malian capital of Bamako. (All times local):___4:55 a.m.The U.N. Security Council is condemning "the horrifying terrorist attack" at the...
10:58PM ( 4 days ago )
World leaders vow vigorous response to Paris terror spree, but little indication of next steps
ANTALYA, Turkey (AP) — World leaders vowed a vigorous response to the Islamic State group's terror spree in Paris as they opened a two-day meeting in Turkey on Sunday, with President Barack Obama call...
2:14PM ( 1 week ago )
Rash of E. coli cases in Pacific Northwest highlights problem of foodborne illnesses
SEATTLE (AP) — As Chipotle prepares to reopen its restaurants in the Pacific Northwest this week after an E. coli outbreak that sickened about 45 people, health experts say foodborne illnesses are mor...
1:40AM ( 2 weeks ago )
Biden says he will not run for president in 2016, finalizing field of Democratic candidates
Vice President Joe Biden will not run for president in 2016, he said Wednesday, ending a months-long flirtation with a third White House campaign and setting him on a glide path toward the end of his decades-long political career.
1:34PM ( 1 month ago )
UN is next stop for Obama after success with Iran, pope; top issues are IS, Syria, Russia
NEW YORK (AP) — Fresh from successes on Iran and with the pope, President Barack Obama still carried heavy burdens into critical meetings this week at the U.N. General Assembly.They include the threat...
3:31PM ( 1 month ago )