So you want to know who bought that home?
It started with a question on Facebook. Who bought that home?
Where are people coming from who can afford these million-dollar homes? The Seattle market is insane.
The replies to the post included: “double incomes,” “Amazon and Microsoft people,” “corporations are buying up real estate above asking price,” and an emoji expressing disgust. One person observed that some newly sold homes turned immediately into rentals.
Who bought that home?
The wealth transfer
I joined the conversation and mentioned another reason for the insane Seattle real estate market. I learned about it from a July 2nd, 2021 article in The Wall Street Journal. It described the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the United States. From the article:
Older generations will hand down some $70 trillion between 2018 and 2042, according to research and consulting firm Cerulli Associates. Roughly $61 trillion will go to heirs—increasingly millennials and Generation Xers —with the balance going to philanthropy. The transfer will provide another display of the outsize economic power of baby boomers, who came of age during a wave of post-World War II prosperity and drove the economy through many stages of their lives.
I have seen this wealth transfer in my real estate business. Young people pay cash for luxury properties and grandparents use their substantial savings to purchase multi-million dollar homes for their children and grandchildren.
The corporate buyer
As in the Facebook comment, some suspect that the recent Seattle real estate feeding frenzy is being fueled by foreign investors and corporate buyers. I checked into this and here’s what I found.
Of the 32 homes sold over the past 180 days in the area mentioned in the Facebook post, only had been purchased by a corporation. The home came back on the market as a rental property.
Looking at Snohomish county records, the buyer of the investment-rental home was identified as “2017-2 Ih Borrower.” That’s not very illuminating. So I dug deeper.
It turns out that there are several foreign limited liability companies using variations of “2017-2 Ih Borrower,” located in different states. Here is the link to all of them. Hot on the trail, I found the public face of this foreign borrower. The website’s name is Invitation Homes, where you can search for rental homes by area.
Entering the zip code 98028, I found a home located at 12728 52nd Cr SE in Everett.
Subsequently, I searched the public records for that address. I learned that the buyer was THR WASHINGTON II, L.P. located at the same Dallas TX address as the 2017-2-ih-Borrower-lp. The first legal partnership had purchased the home in 2013 as a foreclosure and then transferred ownership to the second in 2017.
Behind the Invitation Homes website is an NYSE corporation with its own website. There, under Social Responsibility, it says: “As the nation’s premier home leasing company, Invitation Homes provides high-quality, professionally managed homes for lease in 16 markets across the country.”
As luck would have it, one of my searches on the Invitation Homes site returned an application error that pointed to the Chinese hosting company.
Find out yourself who bought that home.
The internet can be a dangerous place but it can still be very useful, especially when it comes to real estate. I know because I have contributed to it generously with my monthly newsletter which is republished on this website. In the November 2016 issue of News from the Street, I described in detail how to search for public records in King and Snohomish counties.
In the January 2018 issue, I provided the links to 15 Washington county assessor websites. The assessors’ websites are the best starting point for your online property searches. In the past, you needed to know the parcel number for a property. Now, in most cases, the address is all that’s required.
Want to Zoom your Questions?
Although I do have plenty of followers on Facebook and Instagram, I do not want to leave it up to social media to discover your concerns or questions. One of the best ways to examine real estate issues is via Zoom where I can share my screen. If you are interested in a “show and tell” zoom session just let me know. Don’t forget to invite your friends. Let’s find out together who bought that home.
Published originally as the 134th issue of The View from the Street.