``All-cash purchases made up a whopping 45 percent of all residential sales in August, up from 30 percent over the same period last year, according to a report released Thursday by RealtyTrac, an online real estate company. Some of these buyers are local flippers, looking to make quick renovations and sell at a markup a few months later. Others are institutional investors backed by Wall Street money, who typically convert homes into rentals.

The influx of cash buyers in cities across the U.S. poses a steep challenge to ordinary people looking to purchase a home for the old-fashioned purpose of simply living in it. That's because cash buyers have a huge advantage: They don't have to go through the lengthy, more uncertain process of seeking mortgage financing.''

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