New study highlights large real estate investor activity in Forsyth County

New study highlights large real estate investor activity in Forsyth County

8:50am May 31, 2022
A three-bedroom and two-bath home for sale in East Winston on South Graham Avenue. DAVID FORD/WFDD

A new study looks at the role large investors have in the Winston-Salem housing market, and where they’re buying.

The analysis begins with a question: Are hedge funds, private equity firms and other large investors buying properties in Forsyth County at higher rates than ever before driving up prices in a shrinking pool of available homes? The answer they found is no.

Over the past two decades, that activity has actually fallen from its peak in 2013 — when large investors made up nearly a quarter of the market — to roughly 5% in 2020.

Sabiha Zainulbhai is a senior policy analyst with New America, an organization based in Washington, D.C., which is working with Winston-Salem State University. She says without the ability to track and evaluate the impact of large investors, it’s hard to say whether concern over the practice is overblown.

"Especially because the advantages that these large investors have are incredibly profound, and they’re very difficult to compete with," says Zainulbhai. "And so, given all of our other housing challenges like the lack of supply and affordability, any competitor in the market could have very outsized impacts."

Zainulbhai says in Forsyth County, the majority of large investor activity continues to take place in East Winston, making up 17% of all home purchases there. She adds these investors typically target areas where rental prices are most likely to increase.

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