The past year closed out with the lowest level of all-cash sales since the first days of the housing crisis. CoreLogic said on Thursday that 33.4 percent of all homes purchased in December were for cash and those sales made up 33.9 percent of all sales over the course of the entire year. That was the lowest full year share since 2008.
December's cash share was down 2.8 percentage points from the share in November, a change CoreLogic said was larger than usual for a December. This probably indicated, the company said, that the elevated cash share in November, 36.4 percent, which was attributed to the new TRID disclosure rules, was temporary. Before the November blip, the percentage of cash sales in 2015 had declined an average of 2.7 points a month.
The December 2015 percentage of cash sales was 3.3 percentage points below the share in December 2014. The peak of cash sales occurred in January 2011 at 46.6 percent. Prior to the housing crisis the share averaged about 25 percent and CoreLogic said if the cash share continues to fall at the same rate it did in December it would return to those normal levels by the middle of next year.
The largest percentage of cash sales was for real estate owned (REO) properties at 59.2 percent but REO sales accounted for less than 7 percent of all sales so had little impact on the overall share. A fraction more than a third of resales were all cash, 30.9 percent of short sales, and 15.4 percent of newly constructed homes.
Delaware had the largest share of cash sales among states at 57 percent followed by Alabama (50.1 percent), New York (46.5 percent), Florida (46.3 percent) and Mississippi (45 percent).
Of the nation's largest 100 Core Based Statistical Areas (CBSAs) measured by population, Detroit, Mich. had the highest cash sales share at 62.7 percent. The remainder of the top five CBSAs were all in Florida, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Sarasota Bradenton. The cash sale shares in those areas were all in the 51-54 percent range.