Banning Wall Street from Housing In 2024: A Bold Shift Towards Stability & Affordability

Imagine a world where Wall Street hedge funds are barred from buying homes. Picture them being forced to sell off their entire portfolios.

This could be our reality if the U.S. government passes the proposed “End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act” (PDF). This bill could trigger a seismic shift in the housing market, especially in areas like Las Vegas.

With investor activity at its peak during the pandemic, we’re looking at a potential home price crash of 30-50%. But what does this mean for neighborhoods, homeowners, and the market at large? Let’s unpack this complex issue.

The Investor Effect on Housing

In cities like Las Vegas, hedge funds have significantly influenced the housing market. Buying over 30% of homes in some zip codes, they’ve substantially reduced inventory and inflated prices.

Now, as these investors start selling, we could witness a dramatic price decline. This bill, aiming to dismantle large-scale investor ownership, could transform the market dynamics drastically.

The Current State of the Market

Interestingly, investor purchases in Las Vegas are already decreasing, down by 65% from the pandemic peak. This trend is not isolated; across America, Wall Street investors are gradually exiting the market.

For instance, in Henderson, Nevada, a property bought for $170,000 in 2012 by American Homes for Rent is now on sale for $530,000, already discounted by $30,000. This slow sell-off hints at an emerging shift in investor strategy.

The Bill’s Impact: Limited Yet Significant

While the proposed bill could affect specific cities and neighborhoods, its overall impact on the national housing market might be limited. Hedge fund and private equity investor homeowners own about 574,000 homes, just 0.6% of the total U.S. housing stock.

This means their sell-off would not drastically alter the national inventory. However, in concentrated markets like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Atlanta, the effects could be much more pronounced.

Addressing the Root of Investor Demand

The bill targets only a fraction of investor-owned homes, overlooking the larger picture of the 27 million investor-owned properties in the U.S. To truly tackle investor influence in the housing market, broader measures are needed.

I propose revising tax advantages for real estate investors, which currently incentivize property accumulation and vacancy for tax benefits.

The Real World Example: Las Vegas

In Las Vegas, the impact of investor activity is evident. Invitation Homes, a major player, bought a townhouse for $395,000 in April 2022, which has since depreciated. They’ve had to slash rental prices, reflecting a broader trend of declining rents in the area.

This example illustrates the volatile nature of investor-driven markets.

The Legislation’s Potential Consequences

Though this bill might not cause a widespread housing market crash, its implications could be significant in certain areas.

In investor-heavy cities, a sell-off could substantially increase inventory and depress prices. However, the government seems to be aiming for a gradual sell-off over a decade, potentially mitigating immediate market shocks.

Will It Pass?

The “End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act” could mark a pivotal moment in U.S. housing history. While its impact might be limited nationally, in investor-heavy areas, the consequences could be profound.

As we watch this situation unfold, it’s crucial to understand both its potential and its limitations in reshaping the housing market landscape. Stay tuned for further developments in this intriguing saga.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.