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Vulture investors: They’re back – and making a bundle
By Les Christie, staff writerAugust 5, 2010
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — These are the glory days of the residential real estate investor. Low prices, rock-bottom interest rates and stable rental markets have created huge buying opportunities.
“It’s awesome right now. I don’t think we’ll ever see another time like this,” said Tanya Marchiol of Team Investments, which has operations in about 10 states but focuses mostly on the Phoenix market.
These investors are known to many as vultures because they swoop in and buy “distressed properties” — foreclosures and short sales — cheap. Places like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Miami are popular because home prices there have dropped as much as 70%.
But how they’re investing has changed. In the boom years, they would buy a property and flip it for a quick cash out. Today, they are holding and renting for hefty, steady incomes.
Once they analyzed their decisions based on home-price appreciation, which is very speculative. Now they consider potential rental profits, which is far more stable.
Back then, they flipped often and helped to bid up home prices into a froth. Now, the investors say, they can be a part of stabilizing neighborhoods.
Condos for less than the cost of a Corolla
“People are not in it to flip like back in the old economy,” said Matt Martinez, an investor and author whose new book, “How to Make Money in Real Estate in the New Economy” comes out next February. “The new economy dictates that you have to have a long time horizon.”
Marchiol, for example, does not even factor in home price appreciation for at least a year. After that, she calculates only a 3% annual increase — a return that won’t turn heads of investors who only want to buy low and sell high.
Marchiol just purchased four separate four-plexes in North Phoenix. Three years ago, each four-unit building sold for $310,000; she paid just $70,000 per building. She intends to spend about $64,000 rehabbing the properties, making her total investment $344,000.