Nationally, cash buyers made up about 1/3 of all 2021 home sales so far, but that percentage rises to 52.6% in West Palm Beach – the top metro for cash sales in the U.S.

SEATTLE – More wealthy consumers are closing with all-cash transactions, which can give them an edge in bidding wars.

Nationally, almost one-third of U.S. home purchases this year have been made to cash buyers – the largest share since 2014, according to a housing report from Redfin that tracked county records across the country from January 2001 through April 2021.

“I’ve never seen more cash in Boise’s housing market than I’ve seen in the past year,” says Shauna Pendleton, a real estate professional with Redfin in Idaho. “I just sold a $700,000 home to a cash buyer last week. The entire $700,000 came from his E*Trade account.”

In many areas of Florida, the percentage of all-cash sales is notably higher than the national average, with seven metro areas listed in the top 10 nationwide for percentage of cash sales. That list includes No. 1 West Palm Beach, where 52.6% of sales used all cash.

U.S. metros with the highest percentage of cash sales

  1. West Palm Beach: 52.6% of home purchases this year were paid for with cash
  2. Naples: 52.5%
  3. Nassau County, N.Y.: 50.2%
  4. North Port: 49.4%
  5. Port St. Lucie: 46.2%
  6. Greenville, S.C.: 45.4%
  7. Palm Bay: 44.1%
  8. Cape Coral: 44.1%
  9. Des Moines: 41%
  10. Jacksonville: 40.1%

One possible reason for the uptick in all-cash sales: Remote work has allowed some homeowners in high-priced locales like San Francisco to sell and then relocate to a less expensive area. The pricey selling price of their San Francisco home then may allow them to pay cash for a new home.

Another factor: Investors are increasing their presence in the housing market. U.S. home purchases to investors or second-homebuyers tend to account for the biggest bulk of cash sales. In May, investor home purchases comprised 17% of existing-home sales, up from 14% a year earlier. All-cash sales accounted for 23% of transactions in May, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

One downside to the rise of all-cash sales: The growth makes it more difficult for first-time homebuyers and lower-income homebuyers to compete. And according to Redfin data, about two-thirds of home offers written over the last month faced a bidding war.

Source: “Share of Homes Bought With All Cash Hits 30% for First Time Since 2014,” Redfin (July 15, 2021)

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Author: marlam