Last year at this time, nearly 13 percent of all residential purchases in the Sacramento area were made by institutional investors -- companies that buy at least 10 properties in a calendar year and typically turn them into rentals. This year, it's down to 7.4 percent.
"That's a 42 percernt drop in the share of the market represented by these institutional investors," says Daren Blomquist, with RealtyTrac, the research firm that released the data.
Blomquist says those investors have become victims of their own success. Property appreciation is skyrocketing because of the strong demand they've created.
"It no longer makes as much sense for them to purchase properties because they have to make them pencil out and the rents that they can get for these homes have to generate a positive cash flow and a good yield based on the purchase price and the purchase prices have just gotten so high in many parts of California," he says.
In fact, property values in the Sacramento area are up by 25 percent from last year.
Meanwhile, bank-owned properties still make up a big chunk of the homes and condominiums for sale in California.
RealtyTrac says 14 percent of all residential sales in January were bank owned…the national average is 10 percent. Blomquist says 14 percent is about the same as a year ago…
“But it is the seventh highest in the country," Blomquist says. "And what that tells me is even though we’re seeing a lot less foreclosure activity in California, there’s this kind of backlog of foreclosed homes that is still getting sold in California leftover from the foreclosure crisis.”
The RealtyTrac data also show the percentage of short-sales is going down in California. That’s when a property owner sells a home for less than it’s worth. Short sales in California were at 5.4 percent in January, down from nearly 11% a year ago. Blomquist says it’s because home prices are going up and not as many people need to do short sales.