(WKBN) – Real estate brokerage company Redfin reported a 48.6% drop in home purchases by investors in the first quarter of 2023 compared to last year.

Elevated interest rates with declining rents and housing values played a big role, Redfin said.

It’s the largest annual decline dating back to the first quarter of 2000, the company said.

Redfin came up with the numbers from county records across 40 of the most populous U.S. metropolitan areas.

Investors led the charge in buying up homes during the pandemic when interest rates were slashed and demand was high. Now, they are pulling back.

Cash buyers like investors still rely on interest rates to take out loans for renovations and other expenses.

According to Redfin, the biggest reductions were in the Sunbelt with outliers Philadephia and New York.

The decline could also be down, especially in those markets, because they were popular among iBuyer investors, which included Redfin and others who have slowed operations, the company said.

In other housing market news, the average long-term U.S. mortgage rate eased from a seven-month high this week to 6.71%, according to the Associated Press. A year ago, the rate was 5.23%. The highest recently was 7.08% in November 2022.