Other key findings from C.A.R.’s “2013 Annual Housing Market Survey” include:
• The share of all cash buyers decreased for the first time after seven years of continuous increase. More than a quarter of all home buyers paid with all cash in 2013, triple what it was in 2001, when the share was 8.8 percent. The share of all cash buyers continued to stay well above the long-run average of 15.1 percent since 1998.
• Overseas buyers were increasingly interested in owning property in California. The share of international buyers rose for the third year in a row, up from 5.8 percent of total sales in 2012 and 5.7 percent in 2011 to 8 percent in 2013. More than half (57 percent) of all international buyers bought the property as a primary residence, while almost one-third (31 percent) of them purchased the property as an investment. Buyers from China, Mexico, and Canada made up the vast majority of international buyers at 34 percent, 15 percent, and 10 percent, respectively.
• Investors were very active in California’s housing market, creating high demand for investment properties during the first half of 2013. Nineteen percent of total sales went to investors in 2013 compared to 16 percent in 2012. The demand for investment properties has grown significantly since 2000 as many bargain properties became available during the housing downturn. At the beginning of the past decade, the share of sales pertaining to investment home buyers was only 7 percent, but has nearly tripled since then.
• As investors and first-time buyers competed intensely for lower-priced properties, the share of first-time buyers fell again in 2013 to 28 percent, after inching up slightly to 36 percent in 2012 and was well below the long-run average of 38 percent. It was the third decline in the last four years since the share of first-time buyers peaked at 47 percent in 2009, when home buyer tax credits fueled the demand for entry-level homes.
• Bargain hunting investors competed directly with first-time buyers looking for more affordable homes in the distressed market. More than a third of all properties (34 percent) purchased by investors were either short sales or REO/foreclosures.
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