The proportion of homes in Great Britain bought without a mortgage fell to 28% in H1 2019, the lowest level since records began in 2007, Land Registry data shows.
This is significantly lower than the peak of 36% recorded in 2009.
Over the last two years the proportion of homes purchased across Great Britain with cash has fallen by a further 5%.
Aneisha Beveridge, head of research at Hamptons International, said: “The fall in cash purchases not only reflects tighter affordability, but also a decrease in activity amongst downsizers, the group of people most likely to have built up enough equity to purchase property with cash.
“It also reflects a drop off in the number of homes bought by investors, many of whom used cash to purchase their properties.”
The South West is the region with the highest proportion of cash sales; 34% of homes were purchased with cash in H1 2019.
Meanwhile London had the lowest proportion of cash sales – just 19%, which is 8% lower than 2009 when cash buyers in the capital peaked.
Every region in Great Britain recorded a fall in cash sales over the last two years.
The West Midlands recorded the biggest decrease in the proportion of homes bought with cash since H1 2017 (-9%), followed by London (-7%).
Scotland recorded the smallest fall, with the proportion of homes bought mortgage free decreasing 1% since 2017.