Home prices in the Phoenix market are on the rise

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Home prices rise By Andrew Michalscheck Home prices rise By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- It's good news for anyone hoping to sell their house.

A new report from ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business shows that home prices in the Phoenix area are on their way up.

For the past four months, the median home price has hovered between $149,000 and $150,000. But last month, that price jumped up to $157,000. That's up more than 34 percent from the same time last year, when the price hovered at just $116,800.

“After four months of limited movement in the median single-family home price, the Phoenix area is again seeing an upward trend,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The summer lull ended, and we had an influx of snowbirds and other buyers. We’re seeing about 5 percent more sales activity this October than last October.”

Some of the increased activity is due to more homes becoming available on the market. As prices go up, more existing homeowners are willing to sell. The overall supply of homes and condos available on the Phoenix-area market went up 31 percent over the past three months.

However, Orr suspects the supply peaked in November and could start declining again as winter begins. Even now, it’s a relatively tight supply, especially at the lower-priced end of the market.

“The overall number of active single-family home listings without an existing contract as of Nov. 1 was fewer than 12,500 in the greater Phoenix area,” says Orr. “Also, 76 percent of that supply is priced above $150,000, so ordinary buyers in the lower range still face rough competition from multiple bidders, including investors and others making preferred all-cash offers.”

Almost half of the homes bought for less than $150,000 in October were the result of all-cash deals. Though investor presence is declining somewhat in the Phoenix area, investors were still involved in almost 30 percent of the housing-market transactions.

The report also showed that the supply of homes available for sale has gone up 31 percent over the last three months, but will likely level off for the winter.

But fewer cheap properties are hitting the market, as foreclosure rates go down. Foreclosure starts – homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – were down 41 percent this October from last October. Completed foreclosures were down 15 percent.

The market is starting to shift toward a much greater percentage of normal resales and new-home sales. Normal resales are up 100 percent from last October, and new-home sales are up an impressive 85 percent.

“New single-family home sales had a strong month in October, topping 1,000 for the first time since 2010,” says Orr. “As a result, developers are clamoring for new vacant lots on which to build. Because of competition, developers are being forced to pay higher prices than in the recent past, so we conclude new-home prices will rise substantially over the next year. That will also likely pull normal resale prices higher as long as there’s a shortage of housing inventory.”

The full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed here.

More analysis is also available from the business school’s online resource and newsletter.