December Cash Home Sales Highest in New York, New Jersey, Alabama

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In December of 2016, cash sales comprised 33.1% of all home sales, down from 34.4% in December of 2015, marking the 47th consecutive year-over-year monthly decline. Cash sales rose by 0.7 percentage points month over month.

Cash home sales reached a peak in January of 2011 when 46.6% of all home sales in the U.S. were cash transactions. That peak was nearly double the pre−housing crisis average of around 25%. If cash sales continue to fall at the November rate, the 25% rate should be achieved by mid-2019.

December data were reported Wednesday by CoreLogic. For all of 2016, cash sales accounted for 32.1% of home sales, down 2.2 percentage points compared with the 2015 total. That’s the lowest annual cash sales percentage since 2007.

Cash sales for real-estate owned (REO) properties accounted for 61.1% of all cash sales, while cash sales for resales and short sales accounted for about 33% and 34.2%, respectively. All-cash sales of new homes came in at 16.7% of all new home sales in December. New York had the largest December cash sales share of any state at 47.9%, followed by New Jersey (47.6%), Alabama (46.1%), Michigan (44.3%) and Florida (42.1%).

Sales of distressed properties accounted for 7.8% of all December home sales, the lowest total since October 2007. The five states posting the largest share of distressed sales in November were:

  • Maryland: 17.9%
  • Connecticut: 17.6%
  • Michigan: 15.8%
  • New Jersey: 15.5%
  • Illinois: 13.6%

As a percentage of all sales, REOs accounted for 5.8% of total December real-estate sales. In January 2011 REO sales accounted for nearly 24% of all sales. At their peak in January 2009, distressed sales accounted for 32.4% of all REO sales. Prior to the housing crisis, the share of distressed sales traditionally held at around 2%.

The state with the lowest percentage of distressed sales was North Dakota, with 1.3%. Just three states are near their pre-crisis levels of total distressed sales: North Dakota, Utah and the District of Columbia.