Home buyers face another challenging shopping season to navigate, as Zillow’s latest monthly report reveals record-breaking low inventory and unprecedented price growth, including Phoenix, which saw home values skyrocket 30.7% over the past year.

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In the Phoenix metro:

• Typical Phoenix home values are $434,184, up 30.7% over last year and up 1.3% from December

• Available inventory is down 8.3% since December and stands 22.1% below January 2020

• New inventory is down 4% over the year and down 11.6% since December

• Typical rents are $1,864, up 0.3% since December and 25.6% higher than last year

The Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) rose 1.5% from December to January to $325,677, up 19.9% from a year ago. The annual growth rate represents an all-time high over the last 20 years, and the monthly pace continued to accelerate after reaching a low of 1.2% in November. If monthly price growth were to hold steady at January’s pace, annual growth in 2022 would be 19%. Home values are up 30.9% — nearly $77,000 — since January 2020, on the eve of the pandemic.

“Home buyers today are making bids and closing deals despite some of the most challenging conditions ever: record-few homes for sale to choose from, priced at double-digit gains from last year, financed at sharply rising mortgage rates,” said Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow. “It remains to be seen how long buyers can weather this storm, and how long homeowners will watch values rise before deciding to list. Neither have blinked yet. Expect another sizzling hot spring shopping season.”

The rising heat in the market is widespread. Monthly home value growth accelerated from December to January in 38 of the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. Among these, the fastest monthly growth was in Nashville, San Diego and Las Vegas, all at 2.5%. The slowest growth was in Milwaukee, New York and Washington, D.C., all at 0.7%.

Inventory plunges to record lows

Home shoppers hoping for an injection of options and relief from heightened competition after December’s inventory drought instead saw the biggest decline in at least three years. Active inventory dropped 13% — the second straight double-digit monthly drop. Though inventory typically dips in the winter, active inventory is now 22% lower than a year ago, and 42.4% lower than January 2020.

A sharp cutback in new listings hitting the market — down 19% from December — was the main cause. January’s flow of new listings was lower than any month since at least the beginning of 2019.

Sales of existing homes in January are expected to be somewhat lower than in December and January 2021. But at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, sales are starting the year roughly on par with full-year 2021 levels, which was the best year for existing sales since 2006. New home sales took a breather late last year as builders worked to complete the backlog of orders they booked in 2020, when they sold the most new homes in 14 years.

“If supply chains can untangle, builders should be able to complete and sell more homes this year than last,” Tucker said.

Rent growth slows to a crawl

Monthly rent growth slowed dramatically, falling from 0.9% in November and December to a nearly flat 0.1% in January, the lowest rate seen since October 2020. Year-over-year rent growth was 15.9%, slightly lower than a record-high 16% in December, making typical rent $1,856 per month.