All-cash home sales reach new high

RealtyTrac: Other buyers will fill the void left by lack of demand from institutional investors

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All-cash home sales reached their highest level in at least three years in the first quarter, though institutional investors accounted for a smaller share of sales, according to the latest report from real estate data aggregator RealtyTrac. Of all home sales in the first three months of the year, 42.7 percent were all-cash purchases, up from 37.8 percent the previous quarter and from 19.1 percent in the first three months of 2013. That's the highest level since RealtyTrac began tracking all-cash purchases in the first quarter of 2011, the company said. Meanwhile, institutional investors -- entities that have purchased at least 10 properties in a calendar year -- accounted for the smallest share of purchases since first-quarter 2012. Such investors made up 5.6 percent of all U.S. home sales in the first quarter, down from 6.8 percent in fourth-quarter 2013 and from 7 percent in first-quarter 2013. “Strict lending standards combined with low inventory continue to give the ad...