Arizona has experienced some of the U.S. real estate market’s hardest falls, but the new year may have brought a wave of slight relief. DataQuick reports Phoenix-area home sales increased in January to its highest peak seen in that month in the past five years, and other price measures were also experiencing positive trends. New and resale home closings were also up 3.2% for the year in January, although down 17.9% from the previous month in the Maricopa-Pinal county region. While total home sales for the state were down, January sales were up for homes in most price brackets above $100,000. Distressed property sales (short sales and bank-owned properties) were their lowest for the month since 2008 despite strong activity among cash buyers in the lower end of the market. For more on this continue reading the following article from TheStreet.
A total of 7,123 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during January in the combined Maricopa-Pinal counties metro area. That was down 17.9% from the month before but up 3.2% from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
Total January home sales fell 3.1% short of the average number sold in January since 1994, but that was only because new-home sales remained very low. Resale volume in January was 17.5% higher than the January average, and it was the highest for that month since January 2006. January sales of newly built homes rose 31.3% year over year, to the highest level for a January since 2009. But this January’s new-home sales were still 66% below average for the month.
January home sales rose year over year in most price segments above $100,000. The number of new and resale homes that sold for less than $100,000 fell 7.3% from a year earlier, while sales between $100,000 and $200,000 increased 3.3%. Deals in the $200,000 to $600,000 range rose 9% from a year earlier, while above $800,000 sales increased 3.6 %.
The median price paid in January for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Phoenix region was $127,500. That was down 1.2% from the month before but up 7.1% from a year earlier. January marked the second month in a row in which the overall median sale price rose year over year. (In December 2011 the Phoenix area’s median posted a 7.5 annual gain.)
The median price paid for resale single-family detached houses in January rose to $125,900, up 0.7% from the prior month and up 5% from a year earlier, marking the second consecutive month to post a year-over-year gain (the December 2011 resale house median rose 4.2% from a year earlier). The $78,500 median resale price for condos in January dipped slightly month to month but rose 9% from a year earlier — the third consecutive month with a year-over-year gain.
Buyers paying cash represented 45.6% of all January sales, up from 41.0 % the month before and down from 46% a year earlier. January’s cash buyers paid a median $97,700, up from $94,900 the month before and up 10% from $88,854 a year earlier.
Distressed property sales dropped to 52.1% of all January resale activity — the lowest level for any month since the figure was 48.2% in June 2008. Distressed sales are made up of sales of foreclosed properties, as well as "short sales," where the sale price falls short of what was owed on the property.
Foreclosure resales, defined as homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, fell to 36.3% of January resales — the lowest level since May 2008. January’s figure was down from 37.7% the month before and 54.5% a year earlier. The peak level for foreclosure resales was 66.2% in March 2009.
Short sales represented an estimated 15.8% of January’s resale activity, down from 17.2% the prior month but up from an estimated 12.9% a year ago.
This article was republished with permission from TheStreet.