Phoenix-area foreclosure sales dip, but is it a turnaround?
Foreclosures accounted for just under 38% of the existing-home transactions in the Phoenix area in March, down from 43% in January and February. But it's unclear whether the slight downturn in March is just a blip or whether the troubled Phoenix housing market has turned the corner, according to a new report from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. It's possible that the higher rate of foreclosure sales in January and February "represented a short-term foreclosure boost as the pipeline unclogged after banks’ recent mortgage moratoriums" but it is uncertain whether the foreclosure-dominated market will continue, said Associate Professor of Real Estate Jay Butler, who authored the report. The Phoenix-area housing market had more than 11,000 existing-home transactions in March. More than 4,100 of those were foreclosures. In March of last year, the market saw almost 4,400 foreclosures sold. The median price for existing-home resales in March was $125,000, down significantly from last March’s median of $142,500. The annual drop in price is partly because of the glut of foreclosed homes on the market. For the last year, about 40% of the traditional home resales were foreclosed homes sold again with a median price markdown of 14% from the foreclosed price. Overall, activity is picking up in the market, which is typical during the spring and summer months. While only about 8,600 homes changed hands in February, the number went up to more than 11,000 in March. In the townhome/condo market, 580 foreclosures sold in March, the same as February. That’s down from March 2010's 660 foreclosure sales. The median price in the traditional townhome/condo market in March was $80,000, down from $94,000 last March. Arizona is one of several key states that has been plagued by bank repossessions, which spiked 26% in Arizona in March, according to RealtyTrac. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.