Report: Majority of August home sales were cash purchases

A new report shows a sustained high level of cash and investment sales in Nevada’s housing market.

California-based research firm Realty­Trac said Wednesday that 62 percent of all August sales in the Silver State were cash purchases. The vast majority of people who buy with cash are investors.

Nationally, 45 percent of all sales were cash buys in the month.

Big institutional investors, such as Wall Street-based private-equity firms, made up 14 percent of purchases, compared with 10 percent nationwide. Short sales were 34 percent of closings, more than twice the national average of 15 percent. Nevada led the nation in share of short sales, besting Florida at 29 percent and Ohio at 23 percent.

Nevada was also tops in foreclosures, at 22 percent of all sales. That was well above the 10 percent share across the United States.

Sales fell statewide in August, dropping off 6 percent year over year. U.S. sales ticked up 12 percent in the same period. Las Vegas in particular has struggled for much of the last year with below-average numbers of listings, with less than two months of for-sale inventory. That’s about a third of the six-month supply a balanced market has.

But that shortage has helped prices bounce back from their recession-era lows. Among cities of 1 million or more, Las Vegas tied with Los Angeles for third-biggest price gain, with an increase of 26 percent year over year. RealtyTrac pegged August’s median local sales price at $155,000. The national median was $175,000.