Picture this: You find the perfect house, forgo the bank and the associated mortgage paperwork, and break out your checkbook to purchase a home outright. While paying cash for a home is a still a far-fetched dream for many people, it’s actually becoming more common in the real estate market. The National Association of Realtors reports that the number of homes bought with cash has increased to 32% in January of 2011 versus 26% in 2010.
The statistics are even more striking in some of the real estate markets hardest hit by the recession. In Southern California, for example, approximately 30% of home sales made in January were paid for in cash, while in cities like Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada that number is topping 50%.