By ALEX VEIGA
AP Business Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Soaring home prices and rents are fueling real estate companies’ appetite for houses, adding unwelcome competition for many would-be homebuyers. Residential real estate bought by companies or institutions hit an all-time high of 67,943 properties in the second quarter. That’s according to Redfin, a Seattle-based online brokerage. The number is more than a twofold increase from a year earlier, when the pandemic temporarily stymied the real estate market. And companies’ single-family home sales accounted for 16.1% of all purchases in the second quarter. Ten years ago, it was 8.4%. The trend adds challenges to would-be homebuyers, especially many first-time buyers already facing stiff competition for affordable homes.