Home sales were up in Phoenix during the month of February, and it was the first time since January 2007 that the overall median price for the market didn’t decline year-over-year, according to MDA DataQuick. There were a total of 6,824 new and resale houses and condos sold in the Maricopa-Pinal counties metropolitan area in February, up 9.6% from January and up 13% from February 2009. A rise in sales between January and February is typical for the market, and since 1994, Phoenix has experienced an average 9.4% increase between the two months. February’s sales total was the highest for the month of February since 2007, when 8,940 homes sold. Existing home sales were the highest for the month of February since 2006. As for new construction, the number of newly built homes sold in February rose 17% compared to January, but was down 14.6% from 2009. New home sales accounted for 9.5% of total sales, compared to 8.9% in January and 12.5% last year, a sign that builders continue to struggle to compete with low-cost foreclosures, DataQuick said. Foreclosure resales accounted for more than half of all Phoenix resales, but the 51.3% shares was down from a 52.1% share in January and down from the February 2009 share of 65.1%. DataQuick said foreclosure resales peaked in March 2009 at 66.2% of all home sales. In addition, new foreclosure activity dipped in February. There were 4,635 single-family house and condo units foreclosed on in the Phoenix market, down 6.2% from January and 18.4% from last year. The median price paid for all new and resales homes and condos was $135,000, up 2.63% from $131,540 in January and even with February 2009. It’s the first time in 36 months that the median did not decline on a year-over-year basis, however, February’s median was down 1.1% from the December 2009 median of $136,500 and 48.9% below the peak median of $264,100 in June 2006. The median price in Phoenix bottomed out in April 2009 at $125,000. The median price for existing home sales was $131,900, up 1.5% from $130,000 in January and up 5.5% from last year, but 50.8% less than the June 2006 peak of $268,000. The median paid for resale condos in February was $91,500, down from $95,000 in January and down 22.9% from a year earlier. It was 50.9% lower than its April 2007 peak of $186,500. DataQuick said 43.7% of all Phoenix-area purchase mortgages were government-insured Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgages. In addition, absentee buyers — typically investors, but anyone who indicated at the time of sale that the tax bill should be mailed to a different address — purchased 41.2% of all homes sold in February, up from 39.1% in January. The median price for absentee buyers was $114,500. Cash deals, those transactions where public property records did not indication of a purchase loan recorded at the time of sale, took a 43.6% share of all sales, up from 40.6% in January. The median price for cash buyers was $105,00. The rate of homes that were sold in February that had previously been sold anywhere from three weeks to six months ago was 3.3%, even with January. A year ago, the flipping rate was 2.1%. Write to Austin Kilgore.

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