Sales of existing houses and condos in the Phoenix area rose to the highest level for a November in seven years, while the median price paid for all homes sold in the region was the highest in more than four years, a real estate information service reported.
Buyers paid a median $167,500 for all new and resale houses and condos sold during November in the combined Maricopa-Pinal counties metro area – the highest level since the median was $175,000 in October 2008. The November median rose 4.7 percent from October and rose 31.9 percent from November 2011. It was the median's 12th consecutive month with a year-over-year gain, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
The November median was 39.4 percent below the Phoenix area's all-time peak of $264,100 in June 2006, but it was 41.5 percent higher than the median’s post-peak trough of $118,347 in August 2011.
The relatively large year-over-year gains in the region's median sale price since March – ranging from 13.8 percent to 32.2 percent – reflect several trends. Prices have risen as greater demand has met a relatively low supply of homes for sale. But the median has also been pushed higher by a big shift in the types of homes selling this year compared with last. More homes selling today are higher-cost move-up homes and fewer are lower-cost foreclosed properties.
If lenders eventually move more aggressively to clear backlogs of distressed properties, then the inventory of homes on the market would rise, putting downward pressure on home prices. Regardless, if demand remains high and prices continue to rise, the market will eventually respond with a larger supply of homes for sale, which would tame price appreciation. More would-be sellers who've been reluctant to put their homes on the market will try to sell. Fewer people will owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, enabling them to sell. There will be more sales of newly built homes, which in November rose 25.9 percent from a year earlier, to the highest level for a November since 2009.
The continuing decline in the number of lender-repossessed properties on the market this year helps explain the smaller inventory of homes for sale. Foreclosure resales, defined as homes that were foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, fell to 17.2 percent of all the homes that resold in November. That was the lowest level for any month since December 2007, when foreclosure resales were 15.3 percent of the resale market. November’s foreclosure resale level was down from 19.0 percent the month before and 43.0 percent a year earlier. At their peak in March 2009, foreclosure resales represented 66.2 percent of all the homes sold in the Phoenix area.
Last month a total of 8,525 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the two-county Phoenix region, down 3.8 percent from the month before and up 9.8 percent from a year earlier. The last time total sales for the month of November were higher was in 2009, when 8,544 new and resale houses and condos sold. However, the number of houses and condos that resold (excludes new homes) this November was the highest for any November since 2005.
On average, the number of homes sold in the month of November has been 7.0 percent lower than in the month of October since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Phoenix region statistics begin.
Last month's total sales were 1.3 percent below average for the month of November since 1994. Resales of houses and condos combined were 15.2 percent above the historical average for November. Sales of newly built homes were 50.5 percent below average for a November.
Sales continued to fall off in the Phoenix-area’s lowest price ranges during November, while the middle and upper-price categories posted big gains again. The number of new and resale homes sold in November for less than $100,000 dropped 40.9 percent from a year earlier, while sub-$150,000 sales fell 20.1 percent. Deals between $200,000 and $400,000 rose 79.3 percent year-over-year, while $300,000-plus transactions shot up 78.5 percent year-over-year and sales above $500,000 rose 12.8 percent. The number of homes selling for $800,000 or more rose 35.3 percent from the same month last year.
Other Phoenix region November highlights:
- During the first 11 months of 2012 the Phoenix region was on pace to log the highest annual home sales in six years. Sales of all new and resale houses and condos totaled 97,816 in the January-through-November period, up 0.5 percent from the same period last year and the highest since 2006, when the January-through-November tally was 136,014. Resale activity in the 11-month period this year was down 2.5 percent from the same period in 2011, but new-home sales were up 37.0 percent, which tugged this year's overall sales total up slightly compared with 2011.
- A key price gauge analysts watch, the median price paid per square foot for existing single-family detached houses, rose to $93 in November, up from $90 in October and up 34.8 percent from a year earlier. The November figure was the highest since it was $99 in September 2008. The median paid per square foot has risen year-over-year for 12 consecutive months, but in November it remained 45.6 percent below the $171 peak in May and June of 2006.
- At the county level in November, the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses in Maricopa County was $96, up 33.3 percent from a year earlier. It was the 12th consecutive month with a year-over-year gain. The Pinal County median paid per square foot was $69 last month, up 38.0 percent from a year earlier, marking the 14th consecutive month with a year-over-year gain.
- Lenders foreclosed on 1,884 Phoenix-area houses and condo units last month, down 20.4 percent from the month before and down 43.1 percent from a year earlier. The number of homes lost to foreclosure between January and November this year totaled 26,362, down 52.8 percent from the same period last year.
- Absentee buyers, who are mainly investors and vacation-home buyers, bought 36.2 percent of all Phoenix-area homes sold last month, down from 37.1 percent the month before and down from 43.4 percent a year earlier. The peak was 47.1 percent in March 2011. November’s absentee buyers paid a median $130,500, up from $125,000 the month before and up 26.7 percent from $103,000 a year earlier.
- In November, 522 Phoenix-area buyers purchased two or more homes on the open market (excludes foreclosure auctions). That was up about 175 percent from the same month last year, based on an analysis of buyer names in the public record. (Note: In some cases individuals and partnerships buy under different names). This November these multi-home buyers purchased 1,415 homes, which amounts to nearly 17 percent of all homes sold and represents a 155 percent increase from the number of properties that multi-home buyers purchased in the same month last year. The largest buyer identified in November, appearing in public records as "THR Phoenix LP" and "THR Phoenix LLC," purchased 173 homes, or about one-third of all homes purchased by multi-home buyers in November. There were 73 buyers in November that each purchased three or more homes, but only six of them bought 10 or more. Combined, the buyers who purchased 10 or more in November acquired 250 homes, or about 48 percent of all homes bought by multi-home buyers.
- Buyers paying cash bought 42.5 percent of all Phoenix-area homes sold last month. That was up from 38.2 percent the prior month and up from 40.8 percent a year earlier. The record for cash buying was 48.0 percent in February 2011. November’s cash buyers paid a median $140,000, up from $128,500 the month before and up 45.8 percent from $96,000 a year earlier.
- Home flipping has trended higher this year, though it subsided a bit in November. Homes that had sold twice on the open market within a six-month period represented 6.4 percent of all sales in November. That was down from a flipping rate of 7.2 percent the month before and up from 6.0 percent a year earlier.
- The market share for government-insured FHA home loans, a popular choice among first-time buyers, was 27.2 percent of all home purchase loans in November. That was down from an FHA share of 27.8 percent in October and down from 34.4 percent a year earlier. In the current housing cycle the FHA share peaked at 55.3 percent of the purchase loan market in September 2008.
Number of sales Nov-11 Oct-12 Nov-12 YOY % Change Resale houses 5,979 6,680 6,446 7.80% Resale condos 933 990 1004 7.60% New homes 854 1191 1075 25.90% All homes 7,766 8,861 8,525 9.80% Median sale price Nov-11 Oct-12 Nov-12 YOY % Change Resale houses $124,900 $158,125 $165,000 32.10% Resale condos $81,500 $100,000 $110,000 35.00% New homes $203,306 $225,083 $236,740 16.40% All homes $127,000 $160,000 $167,500 31.90%
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