September 17, 2015

July surprise: Phoenix home sales remain strong

In a month traditionally marked with lower home sales, July remained strong. Although lower than June’s figures by 11 percent, sales in July were the second highest this year and 19 percent higher than July 2014, according to the latest housing market report released by from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. Townhouse and condo sales were even more impressive, increasing 32 percent from one year ago.

“We’re accustomed to July being a weaker month for pricing, but the strong sales figures are an unexpected, pleasant surprise,” said Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice and author of the report.

Appreciation for single-family homes remained stable during July, hovering around five percent. In a consistent seasonal pattern, home prices usually wobble sideways or even lower each summer, but compared with 12 months earlier in July 2014 there was substantial progress especially against a backdrop of near zero overall inflation.

“Although five percent usually brings a yawn from people these days, it’s a notable appreciation rate when we have no inflation elsewhere,” said Orr.

The median sales price was up 5.7 percent from $210,000 to $222,000, and the average price per square foot gained 4.3 percent from $125.65 to $131.04. Townhouse and condo properties remain similarly stable in pricing with sales prices up 4.6 percent to $136,000 and an average price per square foot up 5.6 percent to $130.94.

Additional highlights from the July 2015 report:

  • Single-family homes sales increased year over year in six sectors including normal re-sales (23 percent), new homes (9 percent), short sales and pre-foreclosures (6 percent); investor flips (29 percent), third-party purchases at trustee sale (11 percent), HUD sales (41 percent - but from a very small base)
  • Single-family home sales decreased year over year across just two sectors: bank-owned homes (22 percent) and GSE-owned homes (52 percent)
  • Active listing counts (excluding homes under contract) continued to fall during July, but only by 0.6 percent. As of August 1, 2015 we had 20 percent fewer active listings than on August 1, 2014. Distressed supply was down 48 percent from a year earlier but unchanged over the last month.
  • Foreclosure starts on single family and condo homes rose 9 percent between June and July, but were down 24 percent from July 2014. Completed foreclosures) on single family and condo homes were up 6% from the prior month but down 18 percent from a year earlier. The numbers are a tiny fraction of those we saw a few years ago and, although volatile from month to month, continue to reflect a low level of distress.

Listen to Orr’s insights on the July report on a podcast.

Additional information on demand, supply, pricing, foreclosure starts and completions, home sales, permits, purchasers, and the rental market can be found on the complete report at The premium site includes statistics, charts, graphs and the ability to focus in on specific aspects of the market. For more about Orr’s work, see