Homebuilding in metro Phoenix ticked up slightly in April, but it’s not likely a sign of a long-anticipated market rebound because new-home sales fell.
Last month, 1,087 permits to build new houses were issued in the Valley, compared with 996 in March, according to analyst firm RL Brown Reports.
New-home sales dipped to 730 in April from 856 in March.
The median price of a new house inched up $200 in April from March to reach $291,402.
The stalled recovery of Phoenix’s homebuilding market is also evident in recent job numbers. Construction unexpectedly lost a net 1,100 jobs last month, the first time it has shed workers in April since 2009.
Arizona housing analysts RL Brown and Greg Burger say its difficult to figure out where the new-home market is headed.
“One builder or subcontractor that you talk with tells you his market activity is good,” the publishers of the Phoenix Housing Market Letter wrote in their latest report, “and the next one tells you his market opportunity has yet to recover to any extent.”
In early 2012, it looked as if Valley’s new-home market would begin to rebound with the resale market. But last summer, homebuilders ran out of affordable lots in the most popular subdivisions and many contractors began having problems finding skilled workers.
For the first four months of this year, both home permits and sales are down 18 percent.
Summer is typically a slow time for homebuilding in metro Phoenix because of the region’s triple-digit temperatures.
“In spite of many challenges, we fully expect that the improvements in the economy will continue slowly, and housing in this region will continue to demonstrate improvements,” Brown and Burger wrote in their report.
Nationally, new-home sales climbed 6.5 percent in April from March, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.