RealtyTrac’s September 2013 U.S. Residential & Foreclosure Sales Report, which includes single-family homes, condominiums and townhomes, found homes sales up 2 percent from August and 14 percent compared to September 2012. It also found a preponderance of purchases by investors and all-cash sales.
The national median sales price of all residential properties — including both distressed and non-distressed — in September was $174,000, up 1 percent from a revised $172,000 median price in August and up 6 percent from a $164,500 median price year-to-year. Distressed sales combined accounted for 25 percent of all sales in September, up from 18 percent of all sales a year ago.
“The housing market continues to skew in favor of investors, particularly deep-pocketed institutional investors, and other buyers paying with cash,” says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.
However, investors appear to be pulling back from higher-priced markets and focusing their money on cities where they see more opportunity, such as Jacksonville. Places like San Francisco, Washington, D.C., New York, Seattle and Sacramento are falling out of favor, according to RealtyTrac. Investors are focusing on markets with median prices still below $200,000 – places like Jacksonville, Atlanta, Charlotte, St. Louis and Dallas.
“Distressed sales remain persistently high, particularly short sales,” Blomquist says. “Markets with the biggest increases in short sales tend to be those where either foreclosure starts or scheduled foreclosure auctions have rebounded in the last 18 months – translating into more motivated short sellers – or those with a still-high percentage of underwater homeowners with negative equity.”
Other report findings
• Institutional investors (those who bought 10 or more properties in the last 12 months) accounted for 14 percent of all sales in September, up from 9 percent in August and also 9 percent in September 2012. September had the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases since RealtyTrac began tracking in January 2011.
• Among metro areas with a population of 1 million or more, those with the highest percentage of institutional investor purchases in September were Atlanta (29 percent), Las Vegas (27 percent), St. Louis (25 percent), Jacksonville, Fla., (23 percent), Charlotte, N.C., (17 percent), Memphis, Tenn. (16 percent), Richmond, Va., (15 percent), Dallas (15 percent), and San Antonio, Texas (15 percent).
• All-cash purchases nationwide represented 49 percent of all residential sales in September, up from a revised 40 percent in August and up 30 percent in September 2012.
• Among metro areas with a population of 1 million or more, those with the highest percentage of all-cash sales were Miami (69 percent), T