More Chicago area houses purchased with cash

In perhaps another sign of the bifurcated housing market, more and more buyers are purchasing Chicago area homes with cash:

Some people actually pay cash to buy a house. In fact, it happens more than you’d probably expect—in the first half of 2013, cash paid for 34 percent of all homes bought in the Chicago area, according to data that RealtyTrac released exclusively to Chicago. For the month of June, cash bought 30 percent of local homes, which was even with the national average in data the company released last week.

Many of those cash buyers were investors, either the big corporate type or the smaller individual type. But real estate agents and others say the number of end-users buying homes for their own use and paying cash has risen steeply this year. (I could not find data that breaks down which cash buyers are end users and which are investors.)

And the reasons this is happening more?

-They want to be the sharpest competitor in a multiple-bid situation. A cash offer is “the cleanest offer,” Whelan says. It assures the seller that the deal won’t fall through for lack of financing, and it typically offers a faster closing because it eliminates the wait for the mortgage process.

-They know that sellers sometimes will accept a lower-priced cash offer over a higher-priced offer that will be financed, to avoid the hassle.

-They may believe that the value of the home they want is above what an appraiser would calculate based on comps from the recent past. Paying cash instead of getting a mortgage leaps over a mortgage lender’s requirement of an appraisal, Kawabata points out.

-Although it’s been easing recently, jumbo loans—mortgages for more than $417,000 in the Chicago area—were difficult to get for the past few years so buyers of higher-priced homes had been lining up cash for the home purchases they wanted to make this year.

In other words, if you have the cash on hand, it can give you a leg up on big real estate purchases. But, this option isn’t available to most people. So, it seems like this helps those with wealth to continue to rack up the wealth through larger and/or more valuable real estate portfolios.

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