February 27, 2015

Sudden Uptick in the Phoenix-area Housing Market

ASU Expert Sees Trend of Renewed Buyer Interest

The sluggish Phoenix-area housing market just got a pleasant surprise. New figures show a sudden uptick in buyer demand, with a significant boost in homes under contract since late January.

“I do NOT think this has anything to do with the crowds that came in for the recent Super Bowl in Arizona, but that is coincidentally when we started to see this rise in demand,” says Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Orr looked at statistics from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) for his W. P. Carey School of Business analysis. In 2014, the Phoenix-area housing market had relatively low demand, and sales activity even dropped 14 percent. However, the new ARMLS numbers show this year has already brought in more than the usual seasonal uptrend in almost every price range.

These numbers are for non-distressed homes under contract in Maricopa and Pinal Counties, on a typical day in late February 2015 versus the same day in 2014:

    • Under $150,000 – Up 7 percent
    • $150,000 to $250,000 – Up 35 percent
    • $250,000 to $400,000 – Up 38 percent
    • $400,000 to $600,000 – Up 33 percent
    • $600,000 to $1.5 million – Up 12 percent
    • More than $1.5 million – Down 10 percent

Overall, non-distressed listings under contract are up 26 percent. Orr says luxury homes aren’t seeing as much impact from recent changes in market conditions, but entry-level and mid-range homes are attracting far more buyer interest.

“The reasons for these increases include: 1.) that lenders have started to relax their previously tight loan-underwriting guidelines and 2.) that more people who went through foreclosure or short sale are now able to return to homeownership,” explains Orr. “These changes largely affect the lower and middle ranges of the market.”

Orr calculates that, in 2014, the median single-family-home price in the Phoenix area went up 5.4 percent. He now expects 2015 to be a much better year for home sellers, if the new trend continues. However, he does have one note of caution.

“The Phoenix area was already dealing with a relatively low supply of available homes for sale before this uptick,” says Orr. “If the higher-demand trend continues for several months, then that tight supply could become a bigger issue.”

Orr’s next regularly-scheduled monthly housing report will be out in mid-March. Meantime, those wanting more Valley housing data can subscribe to Orr’s monthly reports at www.wpcarey.asu.edu/realtyreports. The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. More analysis is also available at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Research and Ideas” website at http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.

W. P. CAREY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS The W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University is one of the top-ranked and largest business schools in the United States. The school is internationally regarded for its research productivity and its distinguished faculty members, including a Nobel Prize winner. Students come from about 100 countries and include about 50 National Merit Scholars. For more information, please visit wpcarey.asu.edu and http://research.wpcarey.asu.edu.