NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Institutional investors who've been snapping up homes in Las Vegas, South Florida and other rebounding housing markets have begun branching out to Columbus, Knoxville and other locales well off the beaten path, market watcher RealtyTrac says.
"Institutional buyers have burned through the available inventory of property in the 'first wave' of distressed markets that they invested in, and now they're turning their eyes to other places," RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist says. "They pretty much have insatiable appetites."
Blackstone Group and other private-equity and hedge-fund firms have been pouring billions of dollars into the housing market in recent years, buying distressed houses by the thousands at low prices and turning properties into rentals.
The big players typically offer all-cash deals at a time some areas still have too few buyers, especially those who can qualify for mortgages.Blomquist says institutional investors initially focused on Miami, Phoenix and some of the other cities hardest hit by the housing bust, but have started to look elsewhere in recent months.