Phoenix Market Shows Signs of Life
Phoenix home sales volume declined from October to November and foreclosure resales continue to hold a majority of transactions in the Arizona metropolitan statistical area (MSA). A total of 8,544 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the combined Maricopa-Pinal counties metropolitan area in November, down 6.7% from October but up 62.0% from a year ago, according to a report by MDA DataQuick. The San Diego-based real estate information service said a dip between the two months was typical for this market and that 2009’s decline was less than the average 8% decrease in volume experienced during the past 15 years. The month’s total was the highest number of November sales since 2006, when 10,482 homes were sold. This was due in part to the November 2009 having 19 business days, as opposed to 17 in November 2008. Gross residential sales volume has improved year-over-year for 11 consecutive months in the Phoenix MSA. The volume of resale transactions, which excludes new home sales, continued a 17-month run of year-over-year increases in November as well. Foreclosure resales accounted for 52.2% of all resale transactions, down slightly from a 53.7% share in October. It’s the lowest share of total transactions since September 2008 when foreclosure resales accounted for 49.8% of all sales. Foreclosure resales peaked at 66.2% in March 2009. The number of single-family homes and condos that went into foreclosure in November totaled 4,292, down 22.8% from October and down 27% from November 2008. The median price paid in November for all new and resale houses and condos was $142,700, up 3.4% from $138,000 in October, but down 12.4% from $162,984 last year, MDA DataQuick said. It’s the seventh straight period of month-over-month increases. Year-over-year, the median price experienced the smallest decline since January 2008, when it decreased 11.8% to $225,000 compared to the prior year. The median has fallen on a year-over-year basis for 34 consecutive months. Federal Housing Administration-backed mortgages accounted for 50.4% of all home purchase loans. Absentee buyers, mainly investors, but include second-home buyers and others who have their property tax bill sent to a different address, accounted for 35.3% of all homes purchased. According to MDA DataQuick’s review of county property records, 31.5% of all November purchases appear to be cash transactions. While not definitive, these transactions have no indication of a purchase loan recorded at the time of sale, but may also include transactions with alternative financing arrangements outside of a typical purchase mortgage. Write to Austin Kilgore.