The Wall Street Journal
reports that more than half of all homes sold last year and so far in 2013 have been financed without a mortgage.
A report by economists at Goldman Sachs estimates that around 20 percent of all homes sold before the housing crash were "all-cash" sales. But lately, the all-cash share of sales has more than doubled.
This explains why home sales have jumped over the past two years, despite more muted increases in broad measures of new mortgage activity.
The study doesn't explain who is responsible for all of these cash purchases, but it's possible they include some combination of investors, foreign buyers, and wealthy homeowners who are averse to a mortgage before closing on a sale, especially since mortgage lending standards have been tightened since the housing bubble.
The report estimates that around 44 cents of every dollar of homes sold currently is being financed, compared to 67 cents before the crisis. It also estimates that purchase-loan volumes will rise to around $750 billion next year.