Good news for home buyers: investors backing off

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by Kristine Harrington

azfamily.com

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 28 at 1:19 PM

 PHOENIX – Good news for folks looking to buy a home in the Phoenix-area market.

While it's still a buyers' market for the most part, that buyer is changing.Valley realtors say investors have pretty much bowed out of the area.

Realtor Jardin Ratzken says the valley market used to be flooded with investors from elsewhere, thanks to low housing prices.

“Everybody from all over the world and the United States was coming here because prices were so cheap,” Ratzken says.

All those investor purchases made it difficult for the ordinary buyer to land a bargain.

But now with prices rising and inventory drying up, investor interest seems to be cooling, as they look elsewhere for deals.

“Right now investors are backing out go to different markets due to the fact prices rose dramatically over the last 12 months,” Ratzken says.

According to ASU's monthly housing market report, prices were up 35 percent from Nov. 2011 to Nov. 2012.

Michael Orr from ASU's WP Carey School of Business says investor activity peaked last August, when they accounted for 36 percent of all sales. And now there's a clear downward trend....with investor activity accounting for just 26 percent of all sales in November.

That opens the door for the traditional buyer to get back in the game..

"The majority of the houses are staying on the market a little longer, and it gives the buyers a  lot more  inventory to look at," Ratzken says.

The real estate market typically slows down during the holidays, but experts anticipate that spring will be a busy time of year. They also predict housing prices will continue their climb.

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