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States Where People Are Paying Cash for Condos

Paul Ausick

Just five states accounted for more than half of all condominium cash sales as of January 2014. The five are Florida, Nevada, New York, Alabama and Arizona. Florida alone accounts for 36.7% of the total.

Research firm CoreLogic released the information Thursday, and it includes data from January 2000 to January 2014. Over that 15-year period, the top five states for all-cash condo sales are:

  • Florida: 81.2% of condo sales in the state were all-cash transactions
  • Nevada: 80.5%
  • New York: 79.5%
  • Alabama: 75.7%
  • Arizona: 65.7%

In the pre-recession period from 2000 through 2007, Florida and Nevada posted average all-cash condo sales percentages of 35.4 and 22.9, respectively. Following the recession, Florida's average has risen to 81% and Nevada's to 85%. CoreLogic noted:

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The effect of the recession has pushed condo cash shares much higher than pre-recession levels over the past five years, and it doesn’t look like that is changing in the short term.

CoreLogic's data reinforces other recent reports from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and RealtyTrac, both of which have recently noted an increase in all cash sales. One interesting point of difference may be who the different sources think is doing the buying. CoreLogic says the high rate of all-cash condo sales may be partly the result of investors buying up properties and the overall shrinking of the mortgage market.

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RealtyTrac noted that all-cash transactions in the first quarter of 2014 amounted to 42.7% of all home purchases in the quarter, up from 37.0% in the December quarter and 19.1% in the first quarter of 2013. That includes institutional investors who accounted for just 11% of the all-cash purchases and just 5.6% of all home purchases in the quarter.

The NAR said earlier this month the number of all-cash purchases is declining as sales of distressed properties have declined "notably" in the past two years. The NAR said all-cash purchases accounted for 33% of all real-estate transactions in the first quarter of 2014, up from 31% a year ago and 29% two years ago.

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RealtyTrac and the NAR are looking at total sales and CoreLogic is looking only at condo sales, so the data offer an apples and oranges comparison. But in addition to investors buying more properties, there are other forces at work. The NAR notes especially foreign buyers who pay all cash and aging baby boomers who are selling property they might have owned for decades and are now cashing out of for a less-expensive place in the sun and an increase in their retirement cash.

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