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Discounts Drive Cash Buyers to Market: Survey

More homebuyers are scooping up properties with cash only, even in an environment for record-low mortgage rates, according to a recent survey.

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""Campbell Surveys"":http://www.campbellsurveys.com/ and ""_Inside Mortgage Finance_"":http://www.insidemortgagefinance.com/ jointly released the ""HousingPulse Tracking Survey"":http://campbellsurveys.com/housingreport/press_022712.htm Monday, offering responses from about 2,500 real estate agents around the industry.

""Both mortgage rates and certificate of deposit rates have been very low for some time now,"" Thomas Popik, research director for Campbell Surveys, said in a statement, adding that it came about as a result of the Fed's decision to pursue historically low interest rates until 2014.

""I think a lot of affluent homebuyers just threw in the towel and decided to use all cash,"" he added.

Cash buyers remain important to the market, with all-cash transactions taking up 30.8 percent to 34.1 percent of the homebuyer market for nine months last year, according to the

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survey.

It said that cash buyers will account for roughly half of all homebuyers in 2012 if current trends continue.

The survey also attributed the rise in all-cash transactions in part to discounts worth approximately 10 percent, a helpful way to reduce distressed properties, including foreclosures and short sales.

Respondents reportedly credited the rise in all-cash purchases with late appraisals and a sluggish underwriting process, with a non-troubled ""Federal Housing Administration"":http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/fhahistory loan taking about two months to close on average, compared with 45 days or more for mortgages backed by ""Fannie Mae"":http://www.fanniemae.com/portal/index.html and ""Freddie Mac"":http://www.freddiemac.com/.

""Appraisals are holding things up,"" the survey quoted an anonymous agent from Florida as saying. ""Even a [rush] order takes over two weeks.""

Appraisers remain controversial to home sales, with some faulting the appraisal process for a hold-up in the housing recovery.

Spokespeople with the ""National Association of Realtors"":http://www.realtor.org/ have said in past interviews with _MReport_ that existing-home sales would rise 15 percent to 20 percent if not for low-balling appraisals.

The heightened scrutiny over appraisals prompted the ""Appraisal Institute"":http://www.appraisalinstitute.org/ to release a statement defending their members in January.

""The fact is that appraisers are undertaking the same thorough research and thoughtful analysis that they always have in order to continue producing reliable, credible opinions of value,"" ""Sara Stephens"":http://www.appraisalinstitute.org/about/officers_bio_page.aspx, president of the trade group, said in the statement, adding: ""Don't shoot the messenger.""

About Author: Ryan Schuette

Ryan Schuette is a journalist, cartoonist, and social entrepreneur with several years of experience in real-estate news, international reporting, and business management. He currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area, where he freelances for DS News and MReport.
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