In a turnaround that may be nothing short of amazing, the price of the average home in Arizona rose more in the last year than anywhere else in the country.
New figures today from the Federal Housing Finance Agency show a year-over-year hike in sales prices of 12.9 percent. By contrast, the national average barely cracked 3 percent.
And prices in just the last quarter are up close to 6 percent.
What makes this particularly noteworthy is the same report issued exactly one year ago found exactly the opposite. The FHFA found prices had dropped almost 15 percent from the same time in 2010.
Part of the reason for the sharp increase could be a simple question of math: With prices having dropped so precipitously, any jump in sales prices seems magnified.
But Michael Orr said that there may be a bit less to the increase than the pure numbers show, at least as it affects the typical Arizonan.
Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, said much of the market is being driven by investors anxious for a bargain. As the inventory of affordable homes dries up, he said, the investors find themselves bidding against each other.
He said, though, that this double-digit price increase recorded by FHFA does not necessarily reflect what all homes in Arizona are bringing.
Orr said the index tends to weigh heavier with the sale of new homes which are being financed with conventional mortgages. At the other extreme, he said the federal agency seeks to filter out ``distressed'' sales forced by foreclosures.
``It depends on what you measure,'' he said.
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