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Phoenix housing market rises from the ashes

The Phoenix housing market has seen dramatic change over the past year after the sand state reached a low point in September 2011.

In November, DataQuick reported that Phoenix home sales reached the highest level in seven years, while the median price hit a four-year high.

From December 2011 to December 2012, the median single-family home sales price jumped almost 34% from $122,500 to $164,000, according to a report from the Arizona State University.

Click on the table below to see a full breakdown of the median sales price for home-types in the Phoenix market.

Parallel to price appreciation, the inventory of homes available for sale last month dropped 6% from January 2012. Distressed home supplies plummeted 42% during the same time period. 

"2012 was all about low inventory, which has been driving up home prices," explains Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

The number of foreclosures dropped a whopping 51% from December 2011 to December 2012, signaling the end of a housing crisis for the Phoenix-area market.

"Foreclosures and short sales have gone down, eliminating the sources of many cheap homes, so the more expensive types of transactions, like normal resales and new-home sales, went up," added Orr.

As bargains become tougher for the average buyer to find, they turn to new-home construction, creating a stronger demand for developers. 

"Developers are stocking up on vacant lots – having purchased almost 2,300 of them, plus several tracts of undeveloped land, in December alone. However, the number of permits to build on the lots hasn't shot up, so it looks like developers are trying to remain flexible, deciding whether to build or hold the land for the future," said Orr.

Investor interest has continued to wane since peaking in summer months. Because of this, a standard homebuyer faces less competition from the all-cash offers typically given by investors. 

Within the Phoenix metro area, Wickenburg is the only city where the average price per square foot went down from December 2011 to December 2012. To see the full report, click here.

mhopkins@housingwire.com

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