Big investment funds have been a major part of Florida's housing market rebound. But as house prices rise again, investors are slacking off. The Tampa Bay Times has this report: ("Blackstone, big investors slow their $800 million Tampa Bay home-buying binge," by Drew Harwell.

"The seven biggest investment groups buying homes here spent half as much cash in August as they did in March or April, when their shopping sprees peaked at about 500 homes a month," the paper reports. "So why are they hitting the brakes now? Sudden jumps in home prices are souring bargains. Competition among institutional and international investors is fierce. And many are moving onto the next step of their operation, running the thousands of renovated rentals they're expecting will net them big returns."

"The investment slowdown locally has been good news for traditional home buyers, who have seized more of the market and now battle fewer all-cash offers from moneyed investors," the Times reports. It's also good news for sellers, some of whom are finally able to get out from under an upside-down situation.

The Sun Sentinel has that story: ("Fewer South Florida homeowners selling for a loss," by Paul Owers). "Fewer homes across Broward County are being sold at a loss — a sign the once-troubled housing market is turning around," the paper reports. "A dramatic decline in homes sold for a loss can be traced to aggressive investors quickly reselling renovated homes to traditional buyers, analysts say. The flurry of activity is rapidly driving up home prices and bringing profit-making back into the real estate vernacular. Throughout the county, only 29 percent of homes sold at a loss in August, compared with 46.8 percent a year ago."

Said Daren Blomquist of RealtyTrac, "Responsible flippers are serving a very useful purpose. They make these properties better and improve the values, and as the homes sell, they become the comps for other homes in the neighborhood."