Vacation and investment-home sales slipped to 30% of existing and new home transactions in 2008, according to the National Association of Realtors, but investors and vacation home buyers were paying cash more often than in the past.

NAR’s investment and vacation home buyers survey shows vacation home sales dropped 30.8% to 512,000 last year from 740,000 in 2007, while investment home sales fell 17.2% to 1.12 million in 2008 from 1.35 million in 2007. Primary residence sales declined 13.2% to 3.77 million from 4.34 million in 2007.

NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun, said the findings are understandable given the economic backdrop. “We expected vacation-home sales to fall given the impact of a declining economy on discretionary purchases,” he said. “A steady share of investment-home sales results from buyers taking advantage of deeply discounted prices in many areas, with a smaller portion of new homes in the sales mix.”

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