Cash sales drop significantly in Miami

by Joe Ward

Despite a slight rebound in February 2017, cash sales of homes in Miami have declined significantly, a sign that international and big-money investors are cooling on the market, according to a recent market study.

There were 289 homes paid for in cash in February, a number that makes up nearly 33 percent of all homes sold that month, according to a study by the Miami Association of Realtors. That’s a slight bump from January 2017’s 232 homes sold for cash, but it represents a 20 percent dip in year-over-year totals.

In fact, cash sales in Miami-Dade have been on a steady decline since the spring of 2016. A long-term view of cash sales in the area shows numbers peaked in June 2014 with nearly 600 homes paid for in cash. The numbers have been trending down since then, the Miami Association of Realtors reports. (The number of cash sales as a percentage of all sales was highest in early 2013 at 50 percent.)

Why cash sales matter

Market analysts pay attention to the number of cash sales because it is an indicator of investor activity, the association said. The numbers therefore confirm what many already know about Miami: that international investment is cooling as the dollar makes gains against other currency and as home prices continue to rise.

“Investors are far more likely to have the funds to purchase a home available up front, whereas the typical homebuyer requires a mortgage or some other form of financing,” the report states.

Cash sales figures actually mirror the Miami condo sale slowdown. After reaching a post-crash high in summer 2013, condo sales have trended downward since, and have dropped 25 percent from spring 2014, according to Business Insider.

With inventory building up amid a decline in investor activity, Miami’s developers must consider how to fill more than six months of unsold housing units. Already some are offering creative incentives, while others are putting new developments on hold.

Here is a look at homes bought for cash by month in 2016:

Month Cash sales Year-over-year change
Feb-17 289 -20.80%
Jan-17 232 -24.20%
Dec-16 290 -22%
Nov-16 302 -16.30%
Oct-16 296 -28.30%
Sep-16 304 -24.80%
Aug-16 319 -16.90%
Jul-16 319 -28.50%
Jun-16 383 -21.50%
May-16 385 -8.30%
Apr-16 388 -12.40%
Mar-16 367 -23.20%
Feb-16 365 -15.30%
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