In the tight U.S. housing market, nearly half of recent deals have been paid fully in cash, reflecting strict lending standards and shortages of available homes for sale, a realty-data company reported Thursday.
RealtyTrac said a record 43 percent of home sales in the first quarter of 2014 were all-cash deals, up from 19 percent a year earlier and the highest level reported since the company started tracking such deals in early 2011.
The jump was due to two main factors—strict lending standards that make it difficult to obtain a mortgage loan and intense buyer competition due to a tight supply of homes for sale, the company said.
Even buyers who would normally finance their home purchases are making all-cash offers to appear more attractive to sellers, said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist. “If they have the ability to, homebuyers will put up cash bids just to jump to the front of the line,” he said.
Cash deals have better chances of closing on time. Buyers dependent on financing may run into problems due to the strict mortgage-underwriting standards adopted by lenders since the housing market crashed in 2006.