January Cash Home Sales Highest in Alabama, New York, Florida

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January cash home sales comprised 36.5% of all home sales, unchanged compared with January 2016, ending a consecutive run of 47 months of year-over-year declines. Cash sales rose by 4.4 percentage points month over month.

Cash home sales reached a peak in January of 2011, when 46.6% of all home sales in the United States were cash transactions. That peak was nearly double the pre–housing crisis average of around 25%.

January data were reported Thursday 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 61.2% of all cash sales, while cash sales for resales and cash sales for newly constructed homes accounted for about 36.5% and 17.7%, respectively. Alabama had the largest January cash sales share of any state at 52%, followed by New York (49.7%), Florida (48.3%), Indiana (46.0%) and Missouri (45.4%).

Sales of distressed properties accounted for 7% of all January home sales, the lowest total since September 2007. The five states posting the largest share of distressed sales in January were:

  • Connecticut: 17.3%
  • Maryland: 16.3%
  • Michigan: 15.1%
  • New Jersey: 15.1%
  • Illinois: 12.8%

As a percentage of all sales, REOs accounted for 5.9% of total January real-estate sales. At their peak in January 2009, distressed sales accounted for 32.3% of all sales, with REO sales chalking up 27.9% of that share. Prior to the housing crisis, the share of distressed sales traditionally held at around 2%. If year-over-year decreases continue at the current rate, the 2% rate should be achieved by early 2018.

The state with the lowest percentage of distressed sales was North Dakota, with 1.2%. Just two states — North Dakota and Utah — and the District of Columbia are near their pre-crisis levels of total distressed sales.