First time home buyers in the Bay Area are getting aced out by wealthy investors

Most investors not flipping homes

TAMPA - Even at the Tampa Home Show, visitors like Mark Comerford and his family who hope to relocate to Tampa can't find a home to buy.

"All the houses are being bought up as fast as they come on the market" complained Comerford.    

Katherine Chakour and her fiance, Chris are facing the same problem.

"Since August we've really actively been looking for a house. We've put about four or five offers in and haven't got any of them.  

Katherine and Chris  have top credit scores and enough money for a down payment for a house, but in this market that's not always enough.

"Cash offers beat us out every time. It seems like they're paying full cash for the asking price which is something we're just not  able to do" said Chakour.

Katherine and Chris are up against wealthy investment groups including The Blackstone Group  -the largest private equity firm in the world which is now buying up an estimated $100 million dollars worth of US homes every week.

"It's local groups, it's national groups and they come in with cash and their offers are just better" said real estate broker Ryan Schulze of Tampa.

Schulze says a Carrollwood home got a single offer from an investor that was chosen over nine viable offers from conventional buyers who wanted to move in.

"It was so strong- cash, no inspection, $50,000 dollar non refundable escrow. The seller looked at that and says why wouldn't I take this?.

Most investors are not flipping the houses they buy. Instead, they're renting them out until prices rebound. That in turn reduces the inventory of available homes.

Still with prices and interest rates so low, Shulze thinks it's worth the fight.

"Deals are too good to ignore. Absolutely."
Shulze finally did find Katherine and Chris a home in Citrus park. They hope to close on this month.

"The advice I would give is keep trying, keep looking. We were fortunate enough to find one. I know there's a house out there for everyone. I know it sounds like a romance story,  but it's true" said Chakour.

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