TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — As available and affordable housing remains out of reach for many Americans during ongoing inflation and COVID-19, a fourth of all homes purchased in Tampa are being bought up by corporations, not people.

One in four homes bought in Tampa from July to September 2021, the third fiscal quarter, were bought by investment companies, according to a study of property purchases from Redfin. That’s a higher portion than the rest of the country, where the percentage of investor-bought homes is 18%.

Compared to the same time of year in 2020, the portion of homes bought by companies instead of families almost doubled, even as housing inventory shrank and rental prices continued their fast upward trajectory.

For Tampa’s metro, the real estate market brought in roughly $1.65 billion. The median sale price was $282,100. Almost 5,000 homes were purchased by investors of the more than 20,000 that were sold from July to September.

Home sales to investors were higher than the previous quarter as well. From May to June 2021, 21,889 homes were sold. Of those homes, 4,225 were bought by investors, about 19% for the Tampa market. Nationally, only 16% of home sales were to investor purchases in Q2.

This all comes as more buyers are paying cash up front to secure their homes, real estate studies on the purchasing habits in Q3 showed 45.5% more people in Florida bought their single-family homes in cash, even as the inventory of homes available dropped nearly 30%.

If a quarter of the homes bought in that quarter went to companies instead of families, then available homes for first-time buyers or new Florida residents are even less available. At the same time, the rental and mortgage prices are up 18% from last year in Florida.

Florida Realtors reported prices for homes increased 25.2% in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, and were up 6.5% compared to the previous quarter. In the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton MSA, home prices are up even higher, rising by 25.6% versus last year, and 6.6% from the previous quarter.

Still, the Redfin study has its caveats. Their analysis of home and property purchases was focused on surveying the purchase records and checking if the buyers had certain keywords in their names.

“For this analysis, we looked at county sale records for homes purchased from January 2000 through September 2021. We define an investor as any buyer whose name includes at least one of the following keywords: LLC, Inc, Trust, Corp, Homes,” Redfin reported. “We also define an investor as any buyer whose ownership code on a purchasing deed includes at least one of the following keywords: association, corporate trustee, company, joint venture, corporate trust.”