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investment_property_conceptThough experts predict investors will be buying fewer residential properties in 2014, they ended 2013 on a roll.

The latest survey of REALTORS® by the research staff at the National Association of REALTORS® found that the investor market share topped 21 percent in December, about the same level as during the glory days of the Foreclosure Era. In March last year, as prices soared, investors pulled back and their market share dropped to 16 percent in the NAR survey.

The Campbell/Inside Mortgage Finance HousingPulse Tracking Survey, also a survey of real estate brokers and agents, found the same surge in investor activity. December was the third month in a row investors have increased their share of the home purchase market.

While the 18.8 percent share of all home purchase transactions that investors held in November (based on a three-month moving average) was below the near-record 23.0 percent level recorded early this year, it nevertheless represented a three-month high. Back in August, the investor share of the housing market dipped to a two-and-a-half year low of 16.6 percent.

Current homeowners accounted for 47.1 percent of home purchase transactions in November, while first-time homebuyers made up 34.1 percent, the HousingPulse data showed. The shares of both buyer groups have slipped slightly over the past two months.

“There has been a clear rebound in investor participation in the housing market,” says Thomas Popik, research director for the HousingPulse survey. “The statistics for the housing market, particularly the non-distressed segment, remain generally strong, but investors still are increasing their activity.”

The new HousingPulse results reveal that investors posted their biggest market share gains in the non-distressed property sector, a sign that investors are increasingly creating demand for full price homes listed on MLSs rather than distress sales. In November, investors accounted for a healthy 13.2 percent of purchases of non-distressed properties based on a three-month moving average. This was up from 10.5 percent as recently as August and it represented a seven-month market share high for investors.

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