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Investor activity may not be sole driver of recovery

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Investor activity has been attributed to much of the housing turnaround so far this year, but a recent study suggests first-time and existing homebuyers may in fact be key components in the marketplace this year.

The latest Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey revealed that non-investor homebuyers are contributing significantly to a strong market for traditional sales, indicating a strong spring-summer buying season is ahead. 

According to the survey, current homebuyers continue to dominate the overall market with a 42.2% market share, based on a three-month moving average. Although this percentage is down from last fall, it was still an improvement on a year-over-year basis. 

First-time homebuyers seem to be more active as well, with an eight-month market share high of 36.1% in March, the survey noted. 

Despite the buzz that they are driving homebuying activity, investors only held 21.8% share of the housing market in March. Data from Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance showed investors' market share remaining around 19% to 23% the past year. 

The non-distressed market is posing some very impressive numbers, the survey notes, pointing towards a robust market. 

"We are seeing a very strong market for non-distressed properties and that is important because the metrics for this segment are not affected by policy decisions at mortgage servicers to release or not release distressed properties onto the market," noted Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys. 

He added, "It bodes well for the spring-summer buying season." 

When looking at just non-distressed properties, the investor share was only 13.3% in March, while current homeowners and first-time buyers were 50% and 36.8%, respectively.

 

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