Paying Cash

Looking at the transactions in recent months, Cabot said there’s more balance between buyers and sellers. About six months ago, it appeared to be more of a buyers’ market, and included a higher portion of cash sales dominated by investors, he said.

According to Dataquick, in Southern California, March’s distressed sales, including foreclosures and short sales, made up about half of the overall resales. Cash purchases in the region accounted for nearly 32 percent of the total transactions, down from a record 33.7 percent in February, but up from 31 percent in March 2011, the report said.

Sales of higher priced homes, those above $500,000, rose to the highest level since last September, and made up 19 percent of the total, the Dataquick report said.

The higher end of the market is still dominated by cash buyers, Cabot said.

“When you’re looking at homes that are more than $2 million in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Santa Barbara, more than half of these are all cash,” Cabot said.

Another respected report on the national housing market, the Standard & Poor’s/ Case-Shiller index, released April 24 showed a decline in prices year over year through February for 15 out of a 20 city composite. The five cities showing gains were Denver, Detroit, Miami, Minneapolis and Phoenix. San Diego’s index dropped 3.9 percent over the 12 months. However, the local index increased from January, putting San Diego among only three cities (others being Miami and Phoenix) that showed a rise.