All Cash Home Buyers

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An Astonishing Share of Homebuyers Are Paying All Cash

Source: NPR

dollarsThere are concerns about the long-term recovery of the housing market due to the high share of buyers paying with all cash. Overall, all-cash purchases accounted for 42.1 percent of all U.S. residential sales in December, according to a new report from RealtyTrac, a company that collects and analyzes housing data. Institutional investors have bought up many homes with cash, and average buyers remain constrained by unusually tight lending standards.

Making sense of the story

  • Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac, commented that the number of all-cash buyers is a “red flag,” stating, “It’s like we put the fate of the housing market in the hands of the wealthy few.”
  • All-cash purchases accounted for 42.1 percent of all U.S. residential sales in December, up from a revised 38.1 percent in November, and up from 18.0 percent in December 2012.
  • States where all-cash sales accounted for more than 50 percent of all residential sales in December included Florida (62.5 percent), Wisconsin (59.8 percent), Alabama (55.7 percent), South Carolina (51.3 percent), and Georgia (51.3 percent).
  • For all of 2013, 29.1 percent of U.S. residential sales were all-cash purchases, but the percentage trended substantially higher in the second half of the year. The 29.1 percent in 2013 was up from 19.4 percent in 2012 and 20.6 percent in 2011.
  • Institutional investor purchases accounted for 7.9 percent of all U.S. residential sales in December, up from 7.2 percent the previous month and up from 7.8 percent in December 2012.
  • For all of 2013, institutional investor purchases accounted for 7.3 percent of all U.S. residential property purchases, up from 5.8 percent in 2012 and 5.1 percent in 2011.

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