Foreclosures low, home building high, prices affordable and buyers are moving to the area.
April just might have been the best month for metro Phoenix’s housing market in a decade.
A look at key indicators and some national rankings show why the Valley’s housing market appears to be stronger than it’s been since the boom and crash.
Foreclosures fell to the lowest level since 2006. Homebuilding continued to rebound. Phoenix kept its spot as one of most affordable big metro areas for homebuyers. And a national moving survey shows the Valley is one of the top 10 U.S. areas where people are moving.
Also, many of the buyers needed for the Valley’s housing market to finally fully recover are here.
An April Street Scout survey of Valley homebuyers and sellers found Millennials and boomerang buyers who lost houses to foreclosure during the crash are buying metro Phoenix homes at a pace the market hasn’t seen before.
- Home sales in metro Phoenix climbed to 9,041 in April, an almost 8 percent jump from last April, according to data compiled for this column by Arizona housing expert Mike Orr of The Cromford Report. Condominium sales reached 1,637 last month, up 1,514 from April 2015.
- The Valley’s median home price rose to $235,000, up from $215,000 a year ago. The median condo price reached $146,500 last month, compared with $142,000 a year ago.
- Banks foreclosed on only 231Phoenix-area houses in April, the lowest level since December 2006, according to The Information Market.
- Homebuilding in the Valley is up 25 percent from last year’s pace, according to RL Brown Housing Reports.
- Despite home-price increases, metro Phoenix is still the eighth most affordable big U.S. metro area to buy a home, according to the latest quarterly ranking from national mortgage firm HSH.com. The Valley has held that spot for the past year.
- And finally, moving company U-Haul’s annual survey for the most one-way rentals in 2015 came out this week. Metro Phoenix ranked 10th nationally for the most popular place for people to move.
Despite the upbeat signs for the housing market, Orr is careful in how he describe its current status.
He told me the Valley’s housing market is a bit “complicated” now.
Orr’s quick take:
- For homes priced below $200,000, there’s an extremely low supply available for sale, fast price appreciation and low sales counts.
- For homes priced between $200,000 and $500,000, the supply of homes for sale is slightly low, there’s strong growth in demand and moderate price appreciation.
- For homes priced between $500,000 and $1 million, there’s a high supply available for sale, good demand and little to no appreciation
- For homes priced higher than $1 million, there’s excessive supply, weakening demand and flat to negative appreciation except for in a few isolated fashionable spots.
Tom Ruff of The Information Market said May’s home sales and prices are likely to be higher than April’s when all are tallied.
Summer’s 100-plus-degree days deter some Valley homebuyers. If home sales and prices continue to climb In June and July, it will be a true testament to the market’s strength.
If not, there’s always the fall.