May 13, 2024 - Economy

Over 1 in 3 U.S. homes are bought with cash

A line chart that shows the percentage of U.S. home purchases made with cash from January 2011 to February 2024. The percentage fluctuates between a low of 20.19% in April 2020 and a high of 38.02% in February 2013. The trend shows a general increase in cash purchases since 2020 with 34.5% of home purchases made with cash in February 2024.
Data: Redfin; Note: Includes home purchases with no mortgage loan information on the deed. National data calculated from the 40 of the most populous U.S. metro areas; Chart: Axios Visuals

All-cash home purchases are on the rise, according to new data from Redfin.

Why it matters: Rich people can adapt to this pricey market more easily than typical buyers needing a loan.

What they're saying: Those winning in this economy treat homes like savings accounts, Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather says. It's a relatively safe place to store your cash, and you can always borrow against the home if need to tap into it.

Follow the money: Some of these all-cash purchases are investors, but certainly not all. The South, for instance, is a popular migration destination, Fairweather says.

  • People from high-cost cities like Boston can sell their pricey homes and use the profits to purchase a house in cities like Atlanta with all cash.
  • All-cash offers are attractive to sellers, and there's the financial benefit of not taking on interest in this environment, Fairweather says.

Mortgaged home sales are down year over year, per the report. Lack of affordability has pushed would-be first-time buyers to the sidelines.

  • "You have to be a high-income earner/dual household" to buy in this market, North Carolina agent and first-time buyer specialist Jeff Clay tells Axios.
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