Bargain Hunting Boosts Prices in depressed cities…Buyers in markets around the U.S. are snapping up homes in all-cash deals, betting that prices are at or near bottom and breathing life into some of the nation’s most battered housing markets.

Nationally, 28% of sales were all-cash transactions last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. The rate was 14% in October 2008, when the trade group began tracking the measure.The jump in real-estate purchases made with cash is another sign of the revival of animal spirits in the U.S. economy.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 69.48 points Monday, or 0.6%, to 12161.63, and the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index rose 8.18 points, or 0.6%, to 1319.05.Monday’s announcements of $13 billion in acquisitions lifted stocks on hopes of more deals, share buybacks and dividends as companies regain momentum in an improving economy.The two stock indexes have soared more than 80% since early March 2009.
By S. Mitra Kalita, Feb. 8, 2011 WSJ

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02/08/11 WSJ