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California home sales reach record high

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The number of homes in California purchased with cash hit a record high last year, undoubtedly a result of high investor interest, a difficult mortgage environment and perceived higher returns on investment, according to real estate data firm DataQuick.

The total number of properties paid for with cash reached 145,797 in 2012, up from the previous record high of 125,812 in 2011.

The significance of these numbers is evident when looking back at 2007, when there were only 39,731 cash sales, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. 

"It's clear that a lot of today's housing market recovery is being fueled by people putting their own money into homes. Some cash buying is part of a normal housing market, but we're at twice that normal rate," said John Walsh, DataQuick president.

Walsh says there are a number of different demographics that are buying with cash. There are the standard wealthy homebuyers, buyers from abroad, retirees and empty nesters.

Of California's overall home sales last year, a record 32.4% were cash purchases. This more than doubles the annual average of 15.6% from 1991 to 2012. 

"Today, a lot of buyers are chasing what they view as the deal of a lifetime," said Walsh.

To see a breakdown of cash purchases throughout California, click here.

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