Prices up, new-home sales coming back in Phoenix - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Prices up, new-home sales coming back in Phoenix

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Posted: Saturday, May 5, 2012 2:05 pm | Updated: 9:25 am, Mon May 7, 2012.

Foreclosures are dramatically down in the Phoenix-area housing market. This means fewer cheap homes coming onto the market, prices rising for the sixth month in a row as a result, and many buyers finally starting to turn their attention from bargain resale homes to new-home sales. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals some trends for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of March:

• The number of foreclosures completed this March was down a huge 60 percent from March 2011.

• The median single-family-home price went up more than 20 percent from last March.

• New-home sales rose 35 percent in the same time period.

Mike Orr, the report’s author, says the home-buying season is in full swing and peak activity will last until June. The median single-family-home price in the Phoenix-area was $134,900 in March. That’s up 20.4 percent from a year ago when it was $112,000. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 14.4 percent.

Orr emphasizes there’s been a dramatic change in the types of transactions happening in the market. Normal resales, new-home sales, investor flips and short sales are on the rise, while lender-owned home sales are down 61 percent from the year before.

Overall, the supply of single-family homes on the market (without an existing contract) went down 64 percent from March 2011 to March 2012. Orr estimates there is only a 23-day supply of homes priced under $250,000 available and that the market is very unbalanced, with far more buyers than sellers. The existing supply is heavily weighted toward the higher-priced end of the market.

When it comes to resales, Orr says all-cash buyers are still receiving preference over those with offers that require some form of financing. That’s because lenders need an appraisal, and appraisers are typically looking at months-old home sales for comparison. Those are priced well below the current market value.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/Full-Report-201204.pdf. More analysis is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com.

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