By John Hielscher via Herald Tribune. com
Cash on the table remains the preferred method of payment for homebuyers in Southwest Florida.
Buyers paid cash for 54 percent of all residential real estate purchased in Sarasota and Manatee counties in May, real estate Researcher RealtyTrac said Wednesday.
The two-county region ranked second among major U.S. metropolitan areas for the highest share of cash buyers of single-family homes and condominiums.
Cash buyers have dominated the Sarasota-Manatee real estate market for several years, even leading the nation for the top share in April.
But no-loan buying has actually slowed down, as 58.1 percent of home sales were closed with cash in May 2014.
Nationwide, all-cash buying dropped to 24.6 percent in May, its lowest level since November 2009, RealtyTrac reported.
Locally, Realtors say smaller investors have become key players in home sales while large institutional investors — who commanded the market during its early rebound — have stepped back.
Retiring baby boomers who have sold homes up North also are paying cash for homes here.
“As housing transitions from an investor-driven, cash-is-king market to one more dependent on traditional buyers, sales volume has been increasing over the last few months and is on track in 2015 to hit the highest level we’ve seen since 2006,” said RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist.
Institutional investors — those that buy at least 10 properties a year — accounted for just 1.7 percent of home and condo sales in Sarasota-Manatee in May, down from 4.8 percent one year earlier.