KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market
Real Estate

Investors see two-year window before bargains shrink

The big discounts in the housing market are fading, and investors are taking notice that time is ticking.

Blackstone Group LP, the world's largest private-equity firm, says that investors likely have less than two years to buy up foreclosed U.S. homes as prices rise and supplies shrink.

"Prices are starting to move faster," Jonathan Gray, global head of real estate for Blackstone, told Bloomberg. "That's one of the risks that emerge as more people like us get into the space and as individual homeowner confidence grows. Frankly, buying a home today is pretty compelling."

Blackstone has spent about $1.5 billion on 10,000 foreclosed homes this year alone. It is the biggest buyer of single-family homes in the nation. According to Blackstone, the investment firm purchases $100 million in these kinds of properties per week. The strategy is to purchase foreclosed single-family homes at steep discounts and turn them into rentals.

"The recovery in house prices could surprise people," Gray told Bloomberg. "They have just gotten beaten down so much and we're not building enough to keep up with the population growth. Affordability is there. I think as home owners get a little bit of confidence, we will steadily have more people lean toward buying homes, faster home-price appreciation, which will be good for this investment strategy and good for the economy at large."

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