Last Updated Sep 13, 2011 12:42 PM EDT
At a time when a top-drawer FICO credit score and 30 percent down might still leave without you a bank loan, more and more home buyers and real estate investors are forgoing the mortgage altogether and turning to the payment everyone accepts: cash.
Smoke and his group have been compiling data which documents a huge increase in the number of cash transactions between the 12 months ending in June 2007, and the same time frame concluding in June 2011. While a number of these cash-flush buyers are overseas investors looking to maximize low prices and a weakened dollar, Smoke also points to the "the big story of the aging Baby Boomers" who are leveraging investment and retirement accounts to make second or vacation home acquisitions.
"A number of these transactions are coded as buyers who are not living in the homes as their primary residence," says Smoke.
Smoke is quick to point out the up and downsides to this emerging pattern: "This trend is both a reflection of opportunity, the chance to purchase a desirable property at a much lower cost, as well as necessity," in the lack of available credit that forces buyers to deplete cash reserves.
We may not know how sustainable the cash trend is, given there are only so many buyers with the means to purchase in this manner. And with a consistently high unemployment rate dogging the nation, coupled with alarming levels of consumer distress, this fad could go the way of the Edsel in short order.
But until we see how the pattern plays out, click through the following slideshow to uncover the Top 10 Markets to Buy a Home with Cash.