Home sales reach five-year high in March

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PHOENIX - Home sales reached a five-year high when almost 10,000 homes sold in March.

That's the fifth highest sales month since 2001. Does that mean the market is finally turning around?

Sage sits just off just off Chaparral and Scottsdale roads. The project sat unfinished and empty for years. A few months ago we did a story on the condo complex. The people behind the project were very optimistic, telling 3TV the market is in an upswing and this was the perfect time to finally start selling.

Brian and Linda Levy were one of the first people to buy one of the Sage condos when they hit the market in February. Linda Levy smiles, "We checked out a few other places and here. And when we came here, we were just blown away!"

So far eight of the 50 condos have sold. That’s almost one a week.

"I think there is excitement in the marketplace," said Doug Crisan, Sage sales manager with the Solvere Group LLC.

Summit Properties started construction in 2007. The condos were supposed to go for $700,000 to $1.3 million each, but the bubble burst.

The project sat in limbo until iSTAR picked it up. A couple million dollars in upgrades later and Sage was back on the market. This time at a starting price of $300,000.

"We sold our least expensive home, we opened at $299,000," Crisan said. "We sold our most expensive two bedroom at $599,000. They paid cash and moved in within a week."

Although the number of home sales is high right now, industry experts point out that foreclosure sales are a major factor and that’s affecting prices.

A recent study by CoreLogic HPI showed Arizona home prices were down 12 percent from last year. That put Arizona at the second worst state in the country.

Crisan feels that the price fluctuation is just a natural part of cleaning up the books.

"They have to clean up some inventory," he said. "People have to take advantage of that opportunity. People are buying homes for cheaper than what it cost builders to build it for today."

The Levys agree and said they wouldn’t have bought if the market wasn’t in an upswing.

"That’s what did it and seeing the prices what they were three or four years ago and where they are today, it was time to jump in and do it."