Hardships caused by the coronavirus pandemic are likely to force a lot of sales and create new renters

Americans with mortgages have accumulated nearly $10 trillion in home equity thanks to a decade of rising home prices. Yet millions of them have fallen behind on mortgage payments and risk losing their houses.
It is a potential bonanza for rental-home investors. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, big single-family landlords have raised billions of dollars for homebuying sprees.
Even if there isnt a surge in repossessed homes to buy cheaply off the courthouse stepswhich led to the emergence of Wall Streets landlords during the foreclosure crisis a decade agothere is likely to be a lot of forced sales and new renters.
A lot of people are house-rich but cash-poor, said Ivy Zelman, chief executive of real-estate consultant Zelman & Associates. If they bought in the last two or three years, even if they bought five months ago, they have equity.
Having plenty of home equity but reduced means to keep making payments could prompt many to sell while prices are high and exit homeownership with a cash cushion, Ms. Zelman said.