38% of local buyers pay cash for houses

Published 12:33 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

Year-to-date real estate statistics show a good housing market with more than $18 million in sales in Covington County. In 38 percent of this year’s transactions, the buyer paid cash.

Statistics pulled Friday from the Covington County MLS databank show 163 housing units sold year to date in 2014, down from 199 for the same period last year.

But the average sold price, which sits right at $115,000, is approximately $5,000 higher this year than for the same time period as last year, and properties were on the market for fewer days this year than last year.

“We have a small decrease in the number of sales this year,” Tripp Bass, agent and co-owner at The Bass Agency, said. “But 2013 was a really good year. It was the first year in about five years that sales volume increased.”

Covington Association of Realtors President Donna Raines said in 63 of the transactions recorded this year or 38 percent of the total sales, the buyer paid cash. Conventional loans were used in 35 percent of the purchases; FHA/USDA loans in 11 percent; VA loans in 7.9 percent; and owner financing in 2.4 percent.

“I thought it was pretty amazing that we’ve had so many cash transactions,” Raines said.

A little less than half of the units sold to date were on the market less than 120 days.

Local numbers are in concert with national data. On Friday, the U.S. Commerce Department said that sales increased 0.2 percent in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 467,000 units, the highest reading since July 2008.

The national data showed that new home sales were up 17 percent over the same period last year.

New home sales, which account for about 8 percent of the housing market, tend to be volatile month to month and large revisions are not unusual. Compared to September last year, sales were up 17 percent.

Last month, new home sales fell 8.9 percent in the West. But in the populous South, sales rose 2.0 percent, while they increased 12.3 percent in the Midwest. Sales were flat in the Northeast.

At September’s sales pace it would take 5.3 months to clear the supply of houses on the national market, unchanged from August. Six months’ supply is normally considered a healthy balance between supply and demand.