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Cash Sales Share Falls to Lowest Level Since September 2008

cash-money [1]The cash sales share of total home sales in April 2015 was 33.7 percent, a drop of 3.7 percentage points from the previous April (37.4 percent), making April 2015 the 28th consecutive month in which the cash sales share experienced a decline, according to CoreLogic [2]'s April 2015 Cash Sales Data released Thursday.

The 33.7 percent share is the lowest for cash sales since September 2008, at the beginning of the housing crisis.

The cash sales share has declined year-over-year every month since January 2013. The share declined by 0.9 percentage points month-over-month in April, although year-over-year comparisons provide a more accurate picture for cash sales share due to seasonality in the housing market, according to CoreLogic.

"The cash share of home sales continues to decrease due to declines in investor activity as well as declines in distressed sales," CoreLogic senior economist Molly Boesel said. "The consistent monthly reduction in the number of purchasers using cash to pay for a home is indicative that the housing market continues to move to normal."

At their peak in January 2011, cash sales accounted for 46.5 percent of total home sales nationally. The cash sales share averaged about 25 percent prior to the housing crisis in 2008. Should the cash sales share continue its current rate of decline, it should be back to its pre-crisis level of 25 percent by the middle of 2017, according to CoreLogic.

Sales of REO properties had the largest cash sales share in April 2015 with 56.6 percent, and it was the only sales category in which cash sales share experienced a year-over-year increase. The sales category with the next highest cash sales share was resales with 33.3 percent, followed by short sales (30.4 percent) and new home sales (15.3 percent), according to CoreLogic.

CoreLogic reported that while the share of REO sales that were all-cash transactions remained high, REO sales comprised only 7.4 percent of all home sales in April – down from the peak of 23.9 percent reached in January 2011. The majority of home sales in April 2015 were resales (about 81 percent), meaning resales have the greatest impact on the total share of cash sales.

The states with the largest cash sales share in April 2015 were Florida (51.4 percent), Alabama (48.5 percent), West Virginia (48.3 percent), New York (45.4 percent), and Kentucky (41.4 percent). Of the nation's 100 largest core-based statistical areas, those with the highest cash sales share were West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Delray Beach, Florida (59.1 percent), North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida (58.5 percent), Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida (58.1 percent), Detroit, Michigan (58.0 percent), and Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach-Deerfield Beach, Florida (56.9 percent). The CSBA with the lowest cash sales share was Syracuse, New York (11.0 percent), according to CoreLogic.