Two Harbors (TWO) made heavy purchases on single-family rental properties during the second quarter, targeting areas that may be scraping along the bottom of the housing bust.
The real estate investment trust bought $71.7 million in rental homes, up from just $6.1 million in the previous three months, according to its 2Q financial filing.
The REIT continued buying into the summer. By the end of July, Two Harbors amassed a $120 million portfolio of properties.
"We are purchasing in cities where deals are attractive," said Two Harbors CEO Tom Seiering in a call with investors this week.
He said Two Harbors is buying homes in eight markets located in states hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, including Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada and Georgia.
A study from Fannie Mae this week showed Americans still prefer owning to renting. Roughly 85% who took part in the survey said making a purchase makes more financial sense.
"Surprisingly, we also found that exposure to default, perceived home value appreciation/depreciation, and self-reported underwater status make minimal incremental contributions to predicting the own-rent intention in the models," Fannie said in its study.
While many may still want to own, it has grown increasingly more difficult to purchase a house. Credit has tightened to only those with the highest credit scores. And the millions of borrowers in negative equity or already foreclosed on may have to wait years before their credit histories are repaired and home values rise.
Until then, many investment firms are buying up properties to rent them out.
"(Rentals) represent an attractive asset class given long duration, current yield and potential home price appreciation," Two Harbors said in its financial statement.