Tag Archives: homes


Phoenix Housing Market Affected by Government Shutdown

The government shutdown may have dampened interest in buying Phoenix-area homes this fall. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows the latest data for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of September:

* The median single-family-home price was up about 33 percent from last September, to $199,000.
* However, demand is waning, and that may be at least partly due to the recent government shutdown creating economic uncertainty.
* Meantime, housing supply continues to rise, with more people willing to put their homes on the market as prices go up.

Phoenix-area home prices have been rising since hitting a low point in September 2011. The median single-family-home price rose 32.7 percent — from $150,000 to $199,000 –from last September to this September. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up 22 percent. The median townhouse/condo price went up 30 percent, to $117,000. However, the price gains are expected to slow down.

“Since the beginning of July, the Phoenix-area housing market has cooled dramatically,” 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 main change is a steep fall in demand, which we can see in the 12-percent drop in single-family-home sales activity just between August and September alone. Going forward, we anticipate a much slower rate of price appreciation than the furious pace we have witnessed over the last two years.”

Orr says the recent government shutdown may be at least partly to blame for the hard brakes on the housing market.

“The sudden weakness in owner-occupier demand since July is unusual and unexpected,” says Orr. “Poor consumer sentiment and concern over the government shutdown seem to have accelerated the decline. We also have no government information available yet on new-construction permits because of the shutdown.”

On the positive side, the number of available homes for sale continues to rise, after the area experienced a very tight supply for months. Active listings, not including those already under contract, went up 32 percent from Oct. 1 of last year to Oct. 1 of this year. More people appear willing to put their homes up for sale as prices rise.

“If the current trend continues, supply will exceed demand by the end of the year,” says Orr. “We now expect a balanced market to prevail during November. This is great news for buyers since they will experience less competition and be in a strong position to negotiate.”

The luxury market continues to perform well, thanks to the rising stock market and a big increase in the availability of jumbo loans. Sales of $500,000-plus, single-family homes grew an incredible 51 percent from September 2012 to September 2013.

However, cheap homes are tough to find, with fewer foreclosures coming onto the market. Foreclosure starts – owners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – dropped 61 percent from last September to this September. Completed foreclosures declined 63 percent. Orr expects foreclosures to keep falling over the next several years, thanks to tight underwriting standards.

Institutional investors and out-of-state buyers continue to lose interest in the Phoenix area, since better bargains can now be found elsewhere. The percentage of homes and condos bought by investors in September was down to 22.7 percent, from the peak of 39.7 percent in July 2012. Also, the percentage of Maricopa County residences sold to owners from outside Arizona was only 16.4 percent, the lowest percentage since January 2009.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.

Fulton Home building

Fulton Homes increases building

The first day of spring brought news for homebuilders that in cities across the nation potential home buyers suddenly find themselves with a low inventory of available homes to choose from. On Wednesday, The New York Times reported that many homebuilders are scrambling to find construction workers and obtain permits to keep up with the spike in demand.

While many homebuilders may have been caught by surprise, Tempe-based Fulton Homes was not.

“We started construction of nearly 100 homes months ago in anticipation of this housing shortage,” Doug Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes, said. “Fulton Homes currently has the most move-in-ready homes of any builder in the Phoenix market.”

According to the Times story, the National Association of Realtors reports that the raw number of homes for sale across the nation is at its lowest level since 1999.

In January, Fulton Homes sold 52 homes; in February that number jumped to 87. These numbers compare to 43 and 72 respectfully, a year ago. Closings for January were 57 and 61 in February, compared to 41 and 31 last year.

“We expect to see a continual rise in the number of new home buyers who are purchasing their first home or upgrading with a new Fulton Home, “said Fulton.

According to the Standard & Poor’s Case-Shiller index earlier this year, sales prices of homes in the Phoenix area surged 23 percent in 2012. Rising prices often parallel the rise in the number of people looking for new homes.


Arizona foreclosure numbers drop

The number of Arizona homes in some stage of the foreclosure process dropped again in October compared with a year ago, and homes actually repossessed by banks also dipped.

Data released Thursday by foreclosure tracking firm RealtyTrac shows lenders actually repossessed nearly 2,821 Arizona homes in October, 600 fewer homes than in September. New foreclosure filings rose slightly to about 3,900 last month.

October saw a 36 percent drop in homes being repossessed or receiving initial foreclosure filings compared to October 2011.

RealtyTrac says one in every 420 Arizona homes was in some stage of the foreclosure process last month.

The state dropped one position to No. 5 for foreclosure activity rate in the nation. Florida is No. 1 and Nevada No. 2.