Cash Buyers Still Key in US Home Market

Cash Buyers Still Key in US Home Market

Residential News » North America Residential News Edition | By WPJ Staff | September 26, 2013 8:36 AM ET

All cash purchases accounted for 45 percent of all home sales in the U.S. in August, suggesting uncertainty in the mortgage industry is still impacting the market.

The percentage of cash purchase rose from 39 percent in July and 30 percent in August 2012, Realty Trac reports. Institutional investors - buyers who bought 10 or more properties in the last year - accounted for 10 percent of sales, up from 9 percent in August 2012.

Miami recorded the highest percentage of all-cash deals - 68 percent - followed by Las Vegas (66 percent), Jacksonville, Fla., (65 percent), and Tampa, Fla., (64 percent), the research firm reports. The list was much different for institutional investors, which focused on Memphis, Tenn. (31 percent), Jacksonville, Fla. (29 percent), Atlanta (22 percent), St. Louis (17 percent) and Detroit (17 percent).

Overall, the U.S. housing market continued to show improvement in August, the firm found. The national median sales price in August was $175,000, up 3 percent from the previous month and 6 percent from a year earlier. It was the 17th consecutive month where median home prices have increased annually nationwide.

The volume of sales rose to an estimated annualized pace of 5.6 million in August, up 2 percent from the 5.5 million pace in July and 12 percent from August 2012.

"Seven years after the housing bubble burst, U.S. home prices are clearly on the rise again, up 23 percent from the bottom in March 2012 although still 26 below the peak of the housing price bubble in August 2006," Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac, said in the report. "This recovery in home prices and sale volume continues to be driven in large part by cash buyers and institutional investors, as evidenced by the increasing share of sales represented by those two categories in August."

More from the report:

  • Short sales accounted for 15 percent of all U.S. residential sales in August, up from 14 percent in July and 8 percent in August 2012. States with the biggest percentage of short sales were Nevada (34 percent), Florida (29 percent), Ohio (23 percent), Maryland (21 percent), Tennessee (20 percent), and Michigan (20 percent).
  • Sales of bank-owned homes accounted for 10 percent of all U.S. residential sales in August, up from 9 percent in July and 9 percent in August 2012. States with the biggest percentage of REO were Nevada (22 percent), Ohio (17 percent), Arizona (17 percent), Michigan (16 percent), Illinois (14 percent) and California (14 percent).
  • Sales volume increased from the previous month in 39 out of the 42 states tracked in the report and was up from a year ago in 37 states, including Texas, (up 31 percent), Illinois (up 29 percent), Pennsylvania (up 28 percent), Virginia (up 26 percent), and Florida (up 22 percent). Notable exceptions where sales volume decreased from a year ago included California (down 17 percent), Arizona (down 12 percent), Nevada (down 6 percent)
  • States with biggest annual increases in median prices include California (up 32 percent), Nevada (up 26 percent), Georgia (up 21 percent), Arizona (up 20 percent) and New York (up 19 percent).
  • Among metro areas with a population of 1 million or more, those with the biggest annual increases in median prices included San Francisco (up 35 percent), Sacramento (up 35 percent), Riverside-San Bernardino in Southern California (up 28 percent), Atlanta (up 28 percent), Los Angeles (up 26 percent), Las Vegas (up 26 percent), and Phoenix (up 25 percent).

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