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Local I-Team: Shortage Of Housing In Memphis Due To Abundance Of Investors

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) - If you're house hunting in Memphis, you already know why experts say this is the hottest market we've seen in decades. You're competing with investors from all over the globe who see Memphis as one of the best cities in the country to buy a house.

It's all about supply and demand, and inventory is lower than it's been in years. In fact, 1500 fewer homes are on the market in Memphis now than just 2 years ago.

“We're seeing things in this market, we have never seen before,” said investor Michael Stansbury. Stansbury buys, renovates, and then sells homes in Memphis. He is also mentoring people on how to flip homes. The end result puts additional inventory of homes into the market.

“There are realtors out there with buyers and there's no houses to sell to them,” said Stansbury.

Alaina Vanaman is one of Stansbury's students. She's renovating a house in Bartlett. Vanaman wants to “fix and flip.” She stays busy being a mom and house flipper.

“Gotta get things done. When my kids are at school, try to knock out my big projects,” said Vanaman.

Realtors say a lot of investors in Memphis want to “buy and hold,” which is only adding to the shortage. 

Investors buy homes, then rent them out.

“There is more people coming into the market, that want to buy from other markets into Memphis because they want to buy and hold properties here,” said Stansbury.

Memphis is a ripe place for these “buy and hold” investors. The city has a lot of homes for the right price and a high percentage of people who are renters.

The Local I-Team has found out-of-town investors are coming from all over. County property records show California investors have bought the most properties here, but investors from the East Coast and down to Florida also are snatching up properties.

Even foreign investors are in on it: from Asia, Australia and Europe. One real estate investment firm from the Virgin Islands owns 700 single-family homes in Memphis and rents them.

“Investors are buying homes, paying cash, and closing in a couple of weeks," said realtor Lee McWaters. McWaters is the incoming president of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors.

“The houses that are fixed up and marketed right are selling in a matter of hours or days,” said   McWaters.

Some say all the “buy and hold” investors are squeezing out the average home shopper.

One couple we interviewed put in one of 11 offers on a house in Cordova, but ultimately lost out to one of three investors who had full-cash bids. It was on the market just two days. It showed up on a popular website a short time later as available for rent.

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