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Cash Purchases Report 2023 | More than 1 in 4 properties in Australia purchased with cash

Posted on 8 July 2024

Source: PEXA

More than one quarter of all residential properties purchased across Australia’s three largest states were funded entirely with cash in 2023, with buyers immune to recent interest rate hikes, according to a new report released by PEXA today.

PEXA’s 2023 Cash Purchases Report found the total value of cash-funded residential sale settlements (that is, properties purchased without a mortgage attached) increased by 1.5% in 2023 across the nation’s eastern states of Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland, with cash funding now accounting for 28.5% of all residential property sales in 2023 (up from 25.6% in 2022).

PEXA’s Chief Economist, Julie Toth, said: “Cash-buyers are changing the dynamics of the residential property market and exerting a greater influence on overall property demand. The relatively large size of this group helps to explain the property market’s resilience in 2023, despite rapid rises in interest rates.

“While rising interest rates have contributed to cost-of-living impacts across most types of households, the growth of this cash-buyer cohort – at over a quarter of all residential property buyers across the eastern states – suggests the rate rises of the past year have not affected the ability of these buyers to purchase property to the same extent as buyers who require a mortgage.

“This could be exacerbating the existing intergenerational wealth divide when it comes to housing affordability. Our research found the demographic profile of cash buyers is different to mortgage buyers – cash buyers tend to be older and more likely to be retired. They tend to have lower household incomes, but they also have fewer dependents and are more likely to be ‘asset-rich’, with accumulated property, savings and superannuation to fund their next purchase. If they have interest-earning savings, then they may even have benefited from rising interest rates,” she said.

NSW recorded the highest aggregate value of cash purchases in 2023, accounting for 27.7% of total residential purchases. QLD followed, with cash-purchases (29.6% of total residential purchases).

PEXA’s report found that the growing cash-buyer market is dominated by two groups; regional buyers – who contributed to the largest proportion of residential cash-buyers; and inner city-urban buyers – who made up the largest share of cash purchases by value and volume, due to greater transaction volumes and higher priced properties in inner city locations.

“Regional cash property purchases are likely being driven by retirees and downsizers looking for a ‘tree change’ or ‘sea change’ which has become a popular trend in recent years. In contrast, the inner-urban cash buyers are likely a combination of affluent owner-occupiers who are relocating, plus domestic and international investors buying rental properties."

Regional areas across Queensland saw the highest proportions of cash purchases in 2023, with a total of 33,055 residential properties purchased without a mortgage in these locations. Properties were also more affordable in these regional areas. These popular residential postcodes commanded higher prices, with postcode 4217 (Surfers Paradise) topping the eastern states.

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