Paying for the home with cash
People paying entirely in cash accounted for 25 percent of U.S. home sales in May, as the National Association of Realtors noted this week. That's more than the Baltimore region, as it happens -- but less than Baltimore alone, where investors congregate.
Investors aren't the only ones paying in cash, of course, nor are they always cash buyers. But local agents say cash deals are often struck by people who don't intend to live in the homes they're acquiring.
Thirty percent of the sales in the city were all-cash in May, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems. That's actually down considerably from the dead of winter, when most folks aren't spending time at the settlement table: In January, 42 percent of sales were all-cash.
I've got to figure that buyers rushing to beat the June 30 closing deadline for the home buyer tax credit -- which can't be used for investment purchases -- helped push up the number of mortgaged purchases in May.
For curiosity's sake, I checked out the city's stats in January 2000, before all the boom-and-bust craziness set in. Twenty percent of deals were all-cash that month. In May 2000, it was 23 percent.
So: Just how much cash are we talking about? I can't say, since the stats don't offer average prices by financing type, but I'm sure it ranges quite a bit. Fun fact: 55 city homes sold for less than $30,000 last month. (By contrast, 12 sold for more than $500,000.)
Most of the "good time to buy or not" debate has focused on purchases for primary residences. Do you see this as a good time to buy a home -- or homes -- for an investment? Or do you think any time is good, depending on the individual deal?