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The number of cash home-sales declines
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The number of cash home-sales declines

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The number of buyers paying cash on Forsyth County home purchases dipped again during the third quarter, according to a report by RealtyTrac timed for release today.

Cash buyers represented 38.1 percent of purchases, down from 42.5 percent in the second quarter and 44 percent a year ago.

The percentage of institutional investors as Forsyth home buyers also decreased, although they have not been as big a factor here as other urban areas in the state. Institutional investors represented 8.4 percent, compared with 12.4 percent in the second quarter and 18.3 percent a year ago.

RealtyTrac lists two sales categories for quarterly reports. It adds bank-owned, foreclosure auction and short sale categories in monthly reports.

Spokeswoman Ginny Walker said some categories are not “mutually exclusive,” such as there is overlap between cash and institutional investor purchases. “Many of the institutional investors are paying cash,” Walker said.

RealtyTrac reviews quarterly the housing markets of the Top 100 MSAs.

The Winston-Salem MSA, ranked 105th, is excluded from the report. However, once the March 2013 grafting of Davidson County is factored in by RealtyTrac, the Winston-Salem MSA will be ranked 81st.

For the Greensboro-High Point MSA, ranked 71st, cash buyers represented 41 percent of purchases, down from 42.1 percent in the second quarter and 42.4 percent a year ago. Institutional investors were 3.6 percent, up from 2.8 percent in the second quarter, but down from 9.7 percent a year ago.

The Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord MSA, ranked 33rd, had 36.8 percent cash purchases, down from 36.9 percent in the second quarter and 36.9 percent a year ago. Institutional investors accounted for 14.2 percent, up from 11.6 percent in the second quarter and 13.4 percent a year ago.

The Charlotte area ranks second in the country in percentage of homes bought by institutional investors, trailing only Memphis, Tenn., at 16.4 percent.

The Raleigh-Cary MSA, ranked 48th, had 29.8 percent cash purchases, down from 31.6 percent in the second quarter and 33.8 percent a year ago. Institutional investors accounted for 5.3 percent, up 4.5 percent in the second quarter and 9.9 percent a year ago.

On a national level, 33.9 percent of home sales in the third quarter were cash, down from 36.9 percent in the second quarter and unchanged from a year ago. Institutional investors accounted for 4.3 percent, compared with 5 percent in the second quarter and 5.3 percent a year ago.

“Cash sales continue to be an important piece of the real-estate puzzle right now, representing one in every three home sales nationwide in the third quarter and helping to drive up U.S. median home prices 38 percent over the last 2½ years,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

Blomquist said some cash buyers are taking advantage of distressed sales offering bargain-hunting opportunities, or “a booming job market engendering a competitive bidding environment where cash is king.”

“As institutional investors and other cash buyers slow down their purchasing in many markets across the country, more traditional buyers — including first-time homebuyers and move-up buyers — will need to increasingly fill in the missing puzzle pieces to maintain the momentum of the housing recovery.”

rcraver@wsjournal.com

(336) 727-7376

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