This real estate report for Gold Canyon and the Phoenix metro area is bought to you by one of the most respected and reliable sources for real estate market information and statistics - The Cromford Report.
Following an August in which we saw supply start to stabilize and demand get a tiny bit weaker, September developed these cooling trends to the next level. Supply has started to grow and demand weakened slightly again. This is not really a major market development like we saw around this time two years ago, but it might be considered mildly disappointing for those rooting for the market to go from strength to strength.
It remains a seller's market overall. The Cromford® Market Index moved from around the 148 mark at the beginning of August to around the 144 mark at the beginning of October, reversing the gains in August. This is not enough change for us to feel a big difference in real life, but the sensitive among us have probably detected some cooling. The market balance moved to give seller's slightly less of an advantage in most areas, and we would all like to know how much momentum there is in that trend.
Sales were up 12% from September last year, better than the difference last month (9%) but not as strong as July (16%). Mind you, September 2014 was an easy comparison as the market was still in the doldrums at that point.
Here are the basic ARMLS numbers for October 1, 2015 relative to October 1, 2014 for all areas & types:
Active Listings (excluding UCB): 20,024 versus 23,514 last year - down 14.8% - but up 4.8% from 19,101 last month
Active Listings (including UCB): 23,238 versus 26,336 last year - down 11.8% - but up 3.7% compared with 22,413 last month
Pending Listings: 5,789 versus 5,481 last year - up 5.6% - but down 7.5% from 6,259 last month
Under Contract Listings (including Pending & UCB): 9,003 versus 8,303 last year - up 8.4% - but down 5.9% from 9,571 last month
Monthly Sales: 6,966 versus 6,230 last year - up 11.8% - but down 0.9% from 7,100 last month
Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $133.24 versus $126.82 last year - up 5.1% - but up 0.7% from $132.26 last month
Monthly Median Sales Price: $211,000 versus $195,000 last year - up 8.2% - but up 1.4% from $208,000 last month
The price trends are probably the most positive aspect, the annual change in both average $/SF and the median sales price being far above the inflation of most other dollar-priced assets, services or commodities.
When we dissect the market by price, it becomes clear that the top end is the one contributing the greatest cooling effect. The monthly change in days of inventory is quite striking:
Over $3 million - 733 to 828 - up 13%
$2 million to $3 million - 475 to 540 - up 14%
$1.5 million to $2 million - 362 to 406 - up 12%
$1 million to $1.5 million - 301 to 322 - up 7%
$800,000 to $1 million - 258 to 271 - up 5%
Between $125,000 and $800,000 there was very little change (90 to 91) in the days of inventory from September 1 to October 1. This part of the market remains in pretty good condition with sales up a healthy 16% year over year.
We have mentioned several times that weakness in the stock market tends to affect only the top end of the housing market, so the poor performance of stocks during the third quarter may take at least some of the blame for the deterioration of the market above $1 million. This is reinforced by the evidence of just 2 closed sales over $3 million during September. In September 2014 there were 9 such sales. The number of closed sales over $1 million suffered less of a decline - from 75 to 68 - but that is still a stark change in a year when we have been reporting strong year over year sales increases almost every month.
The luxury market had a fantastic 2Q in 2015 and could recover its stride quickly if the stock market bounces back, because jumbo loans are still very popular with lenders. However if the stock market does not perform well over the next year, then homes over $1 million are likely to follow suit.
If we look exclusively at homes under $500,000 then the picture looks much more positive. Under $250,000 supply remains unequal to the task of meeting buyers' needs and between $250,000 and $800,000 the market looks buoyant and reasonably well-balanced. Any problems that develop at the top end are unlikely to spread further down market than $500,000.