New Senate bill aims to stop hedge funds from squeezing out families trying to buy a home

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Some families around the country who are trying to buy homes are losing out to big corporations.


A new bill was introduced to congress Wednesday aimed at stopping hedge funds from buying individual homes.

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The bill, sponsored by Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley, is intended to stop hedge funds from squeezing everyday Americans out of the home-buying process.

Data from residential real estate brokerage firm Redfin shows investors bought 26-percent of homes in Orlando just in the fall of this year.

As families face rising costs and increased competition from billion-dollar companies, it’s a tough time to be in the market for a new home.

“If you see a home that goes on the market, it pops up on Zillow,” first-time home buyer Shayna Whitman said of the experience. “It’s been on for an hour, you might have already gotten out-bid.”

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Sen. Merkley’s bill is aimed at taking hedge funds out of the business of buying single-family homes.

“These hedge funds are driving up the prices,” Merkley said. “They’re taking so many houses off the market.”

As it’s written, the proposal would limit companies to buying no more than 100 single-family homes. Merkley says he eventually wants to drop that number down to zero.

However, the measure could face opposition. Last year, a financial expert testified before Congress and argued that investors help reduce housing vacancy rates and increase local construction employment.

“If you want an America that’s completely owned by a few people, that’s where we’re headed,” Sen. Merkley said in response to critics of the bill. “I want an America where every family has the opportunity to thrive.”

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The current session of Congress ends in just a few weeks, so Merkley says he will re-introduce the bill again in January.

He says he introduced the bill now to get the conversation started, and so that he can gather feedback for when it goes before the next session of Congress.

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