Investors play outsized role in metro Atlanta's housing market

In this Feb. 2016 photo, town homes stand under construction as a pedestrian walks along the BeltLine in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Recent real estate reports have shown how investors are playing a bigger role in housing in the Atlanta area than in any other metro area.

As this investor influence in the market grows, industry representatives see both benefits and costs.        

In two separate analyses, Atlanta’s share of homes purchases by institutions or businesses put the region at the top.

In the last quarter of 2021, Redfin found investors with signifiers like “LLC” or “Corp” in their name accounted for more than 30% of homes sold in metro Atlanta. Looking at the previous quarter, in a study also including buyers with more than three properties, Corelogic put the number even higher, at over 40%.

At the National Rental Home Council, David Howard represents investors buying single-family homes to rent, most of which are individuals and small businesses, he said.

Still, Howard said Georgia is a significant market for corporate investors. Institutional landlords own about 40,000 properties in Georgia, he said, out of a national portfolio of roughly 300,000 units.

As these large companies buy into housing around Atlanta, Howard said, they’re only following people.

“Atlanta has had tremendous in-migration over the past two, four or five years,” he said. “Tremendous job growth. It’s an expanding market.”

This has created a great demand for housing in metro Atlanta, Howard said. Investors buying single family homes, he said, are providing residents with more options.

“We’re going to make homes accessible in those neighborhoods where people want to live,” he said.

But in a tight housing market, Atlanta Realtors Association President Karen Hatcher said she worries investors could reduce options for some Atlanta residents.

“It’s tough if you’re on the lower-income side of the bracket,” she said.

Throughout the pandemic, few homes have been for sale. Just in the last year, prices rose 20%, according to the association’s latest market report.

Hatcher, who is also a broker with Sovereign Realty, said buyers have to compete with investors who can make cash offers and wave inspections.

“We just want to make sure that we are ensuring that there is a healthy housing environment where everyone can participate,” Hatcher said.

For more on how market conditions impact Atlanta housing, view the Atlanta Regional Housing Forum on June 1. Info on how to attend or view: