All-cash deals accounted for a record 43 percent of home sales during the first three months of 2014, according to analytics firm RealtyTrac, CNNMoney

reported. 

That's up from 19 percent a year earlier and the highest level reported since RealtyTrac began tracking the deals in early 2011.

 The jump is due to two main factors: strict lending standards that make it difficult to get a mortgage and intense buyer competition.

 Even buyers who would ordinarily finance their purchases are making all-cash offers to appear more attractive to sellers, said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

 The increase in cash sales is occurring despite a downturn in purchases by institutional investors -- firms that have been active in buying foreclosures and short sales with cash.

 In Greater Des Moines, 21 percent of home sales were cash transactions in March, compared with 19 percent in March 2013, according to the Des Moines Area Association of Realtors.