Cracking down on investors driving up home prices


By Sen. Sherrod Brown

Contributing columnist

In too many communities in Ohio, big outside investors funded by Wall Street are buying up homes that could have gone to first-time homebuyers.

It’s driving up prices and it’s making it even harder for Ohioans to buy a house – especially for young families buying their first home. So many families who have worked for years saving to buy a house end up getting out-bid over and over by outside investors, and they can’t afford to compete.

It’s why we introduced the Stop Predatory Investing Act, to stop investors from being able to collect tax breaks on these properties when they own more than 50 homes.

If you own 60, 100, or 1,000 homes, you’re not a mom-and-pop landlord. And you shouldn’t get the same tax treatment as family homebuyers.

Just two companies, VineBrook and American Homes 4 Rent, together have bought more than 12,000 homes in Ohio. In 2021, 16% of homes in Cleveland were purchased by investors, with one zip code reaching 70%. In Cincinnati, they bought 15% of homes and nearly 50% of homes in some communities. One company bought 29 homes on a single street.

It’s pushing home ownership further out of reach for many working families. And it hurts renters too. These big companies are often pretty bad landlords – they jack up rent, they neglect repairs, and they threaten families with eviction.

Our bill fights back by striking right at the core of what makes this a profitable business venture for deep-pocketed investors: by taking away tax breaks they don’t need, we cut deep into their profit.

Our bill will help prevent corporate landlords from driving up local housing prices, and put power back in the hands of working families, who need a safe, affordable place to live and raise their children.

Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.

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