Lower prices, new residents boost home sales - East Valley Tribune: News

Lower prices, new residents boost home sales

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Posted: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 10:25 am | Updated: 11:31 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Valley saw a slight boost in home sales last month even as thousands more homeowners fell into foreclosure and worries about the struggling economy spread.

A total of 1,845 new homes were sold in May, up from 1,832 sales the previous month, according to the latest Phoenix Housing Market Letter by analyst RL Brown. The number of existing home sales jumped nearly 12 percent from April, the report shows.

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Valley home sales and permits in May. Source: RL Brown Housing Reports. Graphic by: Misty Willimas, Gabriel Utasi/ The East Valley Tribune.

It might not be as strong as last year, but “we’ll look back on (2008) as the bottom of the marketplace,” Brown said.

Still, experts say, any recovery is sure to be slow.

Lenders foreclosed on nearly 3,400 Valley homes and issued another roughly 6,370 foreclosure notices last month alone, according to local data firm Information Market.

Builders have finally sold off many of their excess speculative homes, but now they’re competing with foreclosure properties at discounted prices, Brown said.

“We’ve got to clean all of this stuff up before we get totally healthy,” said Karl Stauffer, an agent with Sonoran Properties GMAC Real Estate.

And the trends are steadily heading in the right direction, Stauffer said.

More than 5,000 existing Valley homes were sold in May, the highest monthly total the agent has seen in two years. The number of pending homes sales has also been climbing since the beginning of the year.

The availability of financing has played a significant role in the improving numbers, he said. The use of Federal Housing Administration loans, which have less stringent credit score criteria and require smaller down payments, are surging among local buyers.

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