The number of homes purchased by major investors in 2017 was about 29,000, up 60 percent from the previous year, according to Amherst Capital Management LLC, a real estate investment firm.
That is also the first time since 2013 that investors purchased more homes on an annual basis.
Investors are increasingly eyeing single-family homes over apartments.
A rising number of apartments in recent years have increased vacancies and driven down rental yields.
That has prompted investors to turn back to single-family homes for rentals.
Investors are reportedly raising billions of dollars to purchase more homes this year, and they are targeting areas like Atlanta, Phoenix, and other metros with fast-growing economies.
Pretium Partners LLC, an investment firm, announced Monday that it had raised more than $1 billion for its Progress Residential to add 26,000 rental homes to its portfolio.
In markets where there is little inventory to buy, some investors are building new.
Transcendent Investment Management LLC , a south Florida firm, has secured more than $250 million to build thousands of rental homes in Southeast Florida. "We're seeing a wider variety of investors coming into this asset class: sovereign-wealth funds, insurance companies, hedge funds, pensions, asset managers," Sandeep Bordia, Amherst's head of Research and Analytics, told The Wall Street Journal.