Cathy Carter

Professional REALTOR
ABR, CRS, CDPE
RE/MAX Alliance Group 
725 W. Elliot Rd., Suite 111 
Gilbert, AZ.  85233

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Call: 480-459-8488
Toll-Free: 800-519-5578


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How's The Market?

Are you trying to understand how the real estate market is doing in your area but don’t know where to begin?

If you are like most people then you are probably hearing mixed information reported from a variety of media outlets, real estate institutions and companies, and various other economic think tanks. This unfortunately creates confusion and causes most people interested in real estate (as a buyer, seller, or investor) to make inaccurate judgments and conclusions about the market.

Think about it, with all this mixed information on whether we are in a good, bad, or flat market, who’s information is the “correct” answer? Also, who is the information you are reading in reference to? A great market for a buyer may be a bad one for a seller while a bad market for a seller may be a great one for a investor/buyer.

The point is, depending on what kind of real estate consumer you are (buyer, seller, investor) then the information you take in needs to be interpreted in light of your objectives. At any given time the market is always “Good”, “Bad”, “Flat”, or “Great”…but that depends on what you are looking to specifically do with real estate.

We can provide you with the proper information to accurately answer “How’s the market?” for you, based entirely on what you are looking to do with real estate.

Latest market stats for Chandler.

 

Phoenix Real Estate Market Report

 

September 17 - After 2 weeks of September we see that the closed listing count is 3,008 for Greater Phoenix. This is higher than 2,930 that we measured in 2018, but only by 2.7%. During the first week the difference was 6.7% so it appears that the 2019 advantage is fading a little.

New listings totalled 4,108 which is 4% below the 2019 count of 4,275. New supply is still below last year but at this time of year we see lower rates of listings going under contract, so supply tends to increase anyway. What we do not see is a sudden increase in new listings. This is what signals a turn in the market - just as it did in the second quarter of 2005.

September 16 - I am seeing a few media articles referring to the housing crash as taking place in 2009-2011. This is incorrect. The first signs of the crash (though noted by very few) were visible in 2Q 2005. The market was deteriorating quickly from that point and started to turn very nasty by 3Q 2006. 2007 and 2008 were the most dreadful years for housing. By 2Q 2009 the market was in recovery mode, although clearing the backlog of foreclosed homes took a long time and prices did not start to take off again until the latter part of 2011.

September 15 - When the market changes direction, the sequence of events is as follows:

  1. The Cromford® Market Index changes direction
  2. The average $/SF for active listings changes direction
  3. The average $/SF for listings under contract changes direction
  4. The short term (e.g. monthly) average $/SF for closed listings changes direction
  5. The long term (e.g. annual) average $/SF for closed listings changes direction

This generally happens over a period of 9 to 15 months in total.

We have seen a big example of number 1 in the list above over the past 7 months. We are now witnessing item 2 coming into effect.

Normally the average $/SF for active listings slumps during the third quarter. The fact that it did not do this in 2019 is a striking indicator of strength. The last 2 weeks have seen a distinct move upward. Coupled with the normal seasonal trend we expect to see strong upward movement in this measure over the rest of 2019.

Buyers may be encouraged that the active listing count has started to rise at last, as it usually does in September every year. However they will be dismayed to see the prices on the new listings being added. Homes are now getting more expensive at a faster rate.

September 13 - Comparing supply and demand with this time last year we see the following changes for the single-family markets:

City Active Listings excluding UCB & CCBS Sales per Month Listings Under Contract
Phoenix -25.7% +5.5% +11.2%
Mesa -29.3% +6.1% +12.5%
Scottsdale -17.6% +8.2% +6.9%
Chandler -18.4% +3.2% -4.7%
Glendale -26.5% +25.0% +8.0%
Gilbert -21.7% -4.5% +12.7%
Surprise -18.3% +27.4% +19.8%
Peoria -31.9% +27.5% +8.4%
Queen Creek -6.2% +36.3% +47.7%
Avondale -43.2% +19.8% +18.8%
Tempe -34.6% +0.0% -10.7%
Goodyear -6.8% +40.1% -1.3%

Supply is down everywhere, most obviously in Avondale, Tempe and Peoria. Goodyear and Queen Creek are least affected by this trend.

The monthly sales rate is up everywhere except Gilbert and Tempe. It is up most dramatically in Goodyear and Queen Creek. This is no doubt because these 2 cities have supply that has stayed relatively good.

Listings under contract are mostly higher, but not in Tempe, Chandler or Goodyear. The most dramatic increases are in Queen Creek, Surprise and Avondale.

We can see now why Avondale has been top of our weekly CMI chart for many months - supply is appallingly low and demand high. Most other cities have strong demand but the main factor is very low supply. The exceptions are Goodyear and Queen Creek where supply is well below normal but more freely available than the other cities. Here it is a sharp increase in demand that has been powering their CMI higher.

September 12 - The Cromford® Market Index values for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities are shown in the table below:

Although broadly positive for sellers this is not as strong a picture as we saw last week. For one thing we have the first red circle for several weeks - shame on you Cave Creek - it was you last time too.

The average monthly change in CMI is an increase of 7.7%. This is down from 9.9% last week.

We only have 4 cities increasing by 10% or more - Tempe, Gilbert, Scottsdale and Maricopa.

Several cities in our list have actually seen their CMI decline over the last week as inventories start to rise (as they usually do in September). These include Avondale, Buckeye, Cave Creek, Chandler, Glendale and Peoria.

Among the secondary cities Anthem, Arizona City, Gold Canyon, Laveen and Sun City West all saw their CMI decline since September 5.

The market remains heavily out of balance in favor of sellers, but there is now little to no increase in the imbalance. It would be entirely normal to see a gentle fall in the CMI over the next 2 months because supply always strengthens between September and the end of November before falling again in December.

September 10 - At this point we are seeing a sudden change in the Cromford® Market Index. It has reached a plateau just above 200 and is now seeking a new direction.

Demand has stabilized at some 7% above normal. Normally we expect to see supply increase between early September and Thanksgiving and although new listings remain weaker than last year we expect a slight upward trend in the number of active listings. However supply is currently about 47% below normal, so a slight increase will not change things very much. We would need roughly 29,000 active listings to get back to normal, rather than the 15,000 we actually have.

This means we should expect the CMI chart to drift lower over the next couple of months. Does this mean the market is weak? Not at all. Remember that 100 represents a balanced market where prices should rise at the same rate as general inflation. At 203 the CMI is more than double its normal value. Sellers remain in charge but their advantage is no longer increasing. This is the point where pricing is expected to start reacting to the rise in CMI that we have seen over the past 6 months.

September 9 - Based on affidavits of value filed during August we have collected the following counts of iBuyer activity:

  Opendoor OfferPad Zillow Knock All iBuyers Combined
Homes Purchased in August 2019 370 110 72 8 560
Homes Purchased in August 2018 289 118 44 0 461
Annual Change in purchases +28% -7% +64%   +24%
Homes Sold in August 2019 373 105 141 2 535
Homes Sold in August 2018 291 109 15 0 355
Annual Change in Sales +28% -4% +840%   +50%
Median Purchase Price in August 2019 $243,150 $259,581 $270,700 $388,500 $253,635
Median Purchase Price in August 2018 $235,100 $227,568 $324,150   $236,311
Median Sale Price in August 2019 $250,000 $239,900 $299,900 $479,998 $255,000
Median Sale Price in August 2018 $246,000 $234,900 $315.000   $245,000
Homes in Inventory at the End of August 1,001 440 282   1,723

Note that we have included Knock for the first time this month. They have been active since April and have purchased 25 homes over 5 months, selling 7 of these on.

Zillow sold almost twice as many homes as it purchased. Although the sales number is its highest yet, its purchase count of 72 is the lowest since September 2018. It is clearly trying to focus on the lower price points these days and supply is very tight and competition for homes is intense from all kinds of buyers. Zillow's inventory is now rather low - only 2 months worth at the current sales rate and the lowest it has been since December 2018.

Opendoor is managing to achieve a 28% annual growth rate on both sales and purchases. They hold 2.8 months of inventory. OfferPad is struggling to maintain the volumes they achieved in 2018. Annual growth is slightly negative. They hold about 4 months of inventory           

September 5 - Our regular weekly feature - the CMI table for the 17 largest cities and their single-family markets - is shows below:

The housing market is still getting better for sellers and worse for buyers in all 17 cities. The only silver lining for buyers is that the average CMI increase was 9.9%, down from 11.9% last week.

A handful of cities have seen cooling over the last week. These include Cave Creek and Glendale, the weakest last week, but the handful also includes the mighty Avondale which has had an unexpected surge in active listings from 72 to 92. Peoria and Chandler can also be added to the list of cities whose CMI fell over the past 7 days. In contrast Tempe and Scottsdale have shown additional upward momentum.

The overall picture remains that of a very strong seller's market with demand above average and supply far below normal.

September 4 - The market is suffering a severe shortage of inventory, so let us take a look at which price ranges are most affected. To do this we are using the Tableau chart which can be found here. This shows the Months of Supply excluding any UCB or CCBS listings. Months of Supply is a very seasonal measure but if we compare the number for August 31, 2019 with that for September 1, 2018 we eliminate any seasonal effect. We have included all dwelling types within Greater Phoenix.

Here is the result:

Price Range Months of Supply 2019 Months of Supply 2018 Change
Under $200K 0.9 0.9 none
$200K-$250K 0.7 1.2 down 42%
$250K-$300K 0.8 1.6 down 50%
$300K-$400K 1.2 2.1 down 43%
$400K-$600K 1.8 2.5 down 28%
$600K-$1M 3.2 4.1 down 22%
Over $1M 8.9 8.7 up 2%

The supply shortage extends up to $1 million but the price ranges that are most affected are those between $200K and $400K, with that between $250K and $300K (around the median sales price) down the most.

A normal figure for months of supply would be between 4 and 5, so 2018 was already quite tight. Supply remains relatively plentiful above $1 million, depending more on how picky the buyer is willing to be.

September 3 - Another chart illustrating the sudden surge in average price per square foot for pending listings:

Closed $/SF has been falling for several months in accordance with the usual seasonal weakness of the third quarter. However the chart above suggest the bounce back in the fourth quarter could have some vigor.

September 2 - We are starting to see some perkiness in the average $/SF for listings under contact, especially those in pending status.

This could be a sign of the move in home pricing that is likely to follow the big upward move in the Cromford® Market Index over the past 4 months.

You can check it out for yourself here.

August 31 - Is anyone still interested in foreclosures? Ten years ago it was the number one topic as the state reeled from the after effects of the real estate bubble bursting. Almost everyone believed in "shadow inventory", a concept introduced by analysts who did not do their research accurately and because it sounded so ominous, lapped up by the media. The so called shadow inventory was a hoax, though not a deliberate one. It shows how easy it can be to jump to wrong conclusions if you base research on bad data or incorrect assumptions about how foreclosures work.

We still have no shadow inventory but foreclosures are happening. In Maricopa County during August 2019 there were 450 Notices of Trustee Sale (NOTS) and 110 Trustee Deeds (TD) recorded. These are low numbers, particularly for a month like August which contained the maximum number of working days (23). Trustees do not work on weekends, so the number of working days is what counts, not the number of calendar days. These numbers are for all property types, including commercial and vacant land.

110 trustee deeds can be compared with the highest monthly total of 5,449, recorded in March 2010.

450 NOTS can be compared with the highest monthly total of 10,712, recorded in March 2009.

So we see that foreclosures still take place but they are now a tiny part of the market, representing less than 1% of the transactions that occur in Maricopa County.

August 29 - The table below shows the Cromford Market Index for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities;

Another week with all 17 cities showing improvement from a seller's perspective compared with a month ago.

The average change in CMI was +11.8%, down from +12.3%, so we see the slightest hint that the market is no longer accelerating. It is however still moving very fast in favor of sellers (and consequently higher pricing).

So many areas stand out - Avondale, Tempe, Scottsdale, Maricopa, Buckeye, Gilbert - all improved by 15% or more.

The slowest movers in the last week were Glendale and Cave Creek. A couple of months back Tempe was the slowest mover but it has now got with the program and is heating up quickly.

August 28 - Phoenix appears in the headlines regarding the S&P / Case-Shiller® Home Price Index® this month.

The latest numbers are based on sales that closed during the 3 months April to June 2019, so they are a bit dated by the time they are published. The month to month changes for the 20 focus cities are as follows:

  1. Detroit +1.24%
  2. Minneapolis +1.13%
  3. Boston +1.07%
  4. Phoenix +0.88%
  5. Cleveland +0.83%
  6. Chicago +0.74%
  7. San Diego +0.68%
  8. Portland +0.66%
  9. Charlotte +0.61%
  10. Seattle +0.56%
  11. Atlanta +0.52%
  12. Las Vegas +0.50%
  13. Washington +0.48%
  14. Dallas +0.44%
  15. Denver +0.42%
  16. San Francisco +0.22%
  17. Tampa +0.20%
  18. Los Angeles +0.16%
  19. Miami +0.09%
  20. New York -0.33%

Phoenix ranks 4th in this list, up from 11th last month. The national average change was +0.58%

The year over year numbers are as follows:

  1. Phoenix +5.8%
  2. Las Vegas +5.5%
  3. Tampa +4.7%
  4. Charlotte +4.5%
  5. Atlanta +4.5%
  6. Detroit +4.2%
  7. Boston +3.9%
  8. Minneapolis +3.9%
  9. Cleveland +3.4%
  10. Denver +3.4%
  11. Washington +2.9%
  12. Miami +2.8%
  13. Dallas +2.7%
  14. Portland +2.4%
  15. Los Angeles +1.6%
  16. Chicago +1.5%
  17. San Diego +1.3%
  18. New York +1.1%
  19. San Francisco +0.7%
  20. Seattle -1.3%

The national average was +3.1%.

Now we see why Phoenix hit the headlines. It took over the number one spot from Las Vegas in the year over year table.

August 26 - Year-to-date single-family permits hit 14,321 for Maricopa and Pinal counties as of the end of July. This is up from 2018, but only just. The annual growth of 3% is hardly going to have much impact on the dire shortage of homes for sale. Now if by some magic we could get to 21,777, the figure for 1998, then we could expect some relief for sellers. However home builders face huge obstacles in getting back to the heyday of 1998-2006 even though demand is certainly there.

If you have added a subscription to Cromford® Public, then you can see 10 charts on permit counts here.

August 24 - There were 5,152 closed listings across Greater Phoenix (all dwelling types) during the first 3 weeks of August. This is up from 4,705 in the same period last year, a rise of almost 10%.

It is not the highest number of closings we have ever seen for this period. That was in 2005 when we counted 5,557. However it is the second highest total we have ever recorded. Demand remains unusually strong in Phoenix this summer.

August 23 - Measuring the number of new listings for the first 3 weeks of August gives us a total of 5,935 across Greater Phoenix (all types). The equivalent measurement in 2018 was 6,356, so we are down almost 7%.

This is not the lowest number of new listings we have seen for the period - there were only 5,623 in 2014 - but it is the second lowest since we started measurements in 2001.

August 22 - It is time to publish the weekly table showing the Cromford® Market Index for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities:

Sellers can celebrate:

  • all 17 cities became more favorable for sellers over the past month
  • we have almost half the 17 cities over 200
  • no city is under 150
  • the smallest percentage improvement was 3% (Cave Creek) - still pretty good
  • 11 cities improved by 12% or more

There is almost no good news for buyers that I can find, except perhaps that the average change in CMI was +12.3%, down very slightly from +12.6% last week. Even 12.3% is an enormous number by normal standards.

I must stress again that this tremendous imbalance between supply and demand is very likely to result in faster increases in sales prices in due course. However we must expect a time delay with the effect likely to be noticeable during the fourth quarter and becoming more significant during the first half of 2020. Once prices have increased sufficiently then we can expect a cooling of demand will follow and the market will start to move towards balance again. No market can stay unbalanced indefinitely.

August 19 - Although the shortage of active listings is pretty widespread, it does not affect everywhere. Probably the most obvious example of a location with a strong supply of homes for sale is Casa Grande. Here is the chart:

Here we see far more homes available than last year and a flat trend for active counts since last December. With a population of around 56,000, Casa Grande is far smaller than Avondale with about 86,000 inhabitants. Yet Casa Grande has 279 single-family homes available for purchase on ARMLS, whereas poor Avondale only has 71.

August 17 - The active listings chart for Scottsdale looks quite different from Phoenix:

The general shape in 2019 is very similar to 2018. However it has stayed lower than last year at all stages, with the gap reaching its largest amount in the last 3 weeks. The chart for Fountain Hills has the same basic shape.

Paradise Valley is similar, except that 2019 and 2018 have been running neck and neck until 2 weeks ago.

Cave Creek is fairly similar to Scottsdale, although levels have been significantly below last year at all times and the gap is starting to narrow.

August 16 - I cannot stress enough how unusual the active listing counts look this year, collapsing after hitting a peak at the beginning of March. In February it looked like we would have far more supply than last year but the situation has changed dramatically since then. I would like to take a look at the single-family charts for various cities to illustrate what I mean. These charts all exclude UCB and CCBS listings from the counts.

Here is Phoenix:

We note how listing counts were rising last year from April through top November. The opposite trend is taking place in 2019.

Many cities show similar patterns to the Phoenix chart, including Mesa, Peoria and Glendale. However other cities have their own messages and we will look at those in subsequent posts.

August 15 - The Cromford® Market Index table for this week shows a full house:

August 12 - There were 1,527 closed listings during the first week of August, measured for all types ac

All 17 cities swung in favor of sellers over the last month. We have no city below 150 and 7 above 200. This is extraordinary.

3 cities improved by more than 20% and another 9 improved by more than 10%.

Buyers may be liking the interest rates, but the lack of available inventory is a nightmare for them. No doubt many will turn to the new home market which has seen surprisingly stable pricing under these circumstances.

The average change in CMI was +12.6%, up slightly from 12.5% last week.

At some point this trend in favor of sellers has to change direction, but there is scant evidence of that at the moment.

ross Greater Phoenix. This is a strong reading once again, up from 1,435 last year. We have to go back to the bubble year of 2005 to find a higher number (1,597).

With new listings at a low ebb and closings at a high, this is the most unbalanced market we have seen in favor of sellers since 2005. However pricing has yet to respond, perfectly illustrating the time delay inherent in price movements in reaction to big changes in supply and demand. In 2Q 2005 it took 15 months between the CMI falling from its peak and pricing following suit (in 3Q 2006).

August 11 - The first 7 days of August saw 2,002 new listings activated across Greater Phoenix. This is down from 2,163 last year and the second lowest total for the first week of August since we started collecting data in 2001. The only year with fewer new listings was 2014. The highest total for this week was in 2006 when we saw a staggering 3,654 new listings, a clear sign of the problems looming over the market prior to the crash.. 

August 9 - The Cromford® Market Index for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities is shown below:

The market is still heating up with the average monthly change in CMI at 12.5%, up from 12.1% last week.

Only Cave Creek cooled, and then only by a very small amount (0.5). The remaining 16 cities improved for sellers. 12 improved by 10% or more.

We have 7 cities over 200 and only one below 150.

The market favors sellers to greatest degree since August 2005.

August 8 - Based on affidavits of value filed during July we have collected the following counts of iBuyer activity:

  Opendoor OfferPad Zillow All iBuyers Combined
Homes Purchased in July 2019 364 86 78 529
Homes Purchased in July 2018 295 98 31 424
Annual Change in purchases +24% -12% +152% +25%
Homes Sold in June 2019 350 71 114 535
Homes Sold in June 2018 245 104 6 355
Annual Change in Sales +43% -32% +1800% +51%
Median Purchase Price in July 2019 $234,950 $244,024 $275,700 $242,350
Median Purchase Price in July 2018 $238,900 $229,412 $320,000 $240,250
Median Sale Price in July 2019 $250,000 $249,900 $298,875 $255,000
Median Sale Price in July 2018 $255,000 $241,500 $259.450 $252,500
Homes in Inventory at the End of July 1,004 445 351 1,800

iBuyers purchased almost as many homes as they sold in July leaving inventory close to the same level as last month.

We can see significant growth in iBuyer activity compared to this time last year, a 25% increase in purchases and a 51% rise in sales. In recent months, Opendoor has consolidated its position as the dominant player while OfferPad and Zillow have experienced little change in volumes since the beginning of 2019.

August 6 - Multi-family permits had been in a declining trend between October and March, but came back with a bang during the second quarter. We now see 5,653 permits at the half-way mark of 2019, the highest total since 2007 and up from 4,481 last year.

The second quarter of 2019 was by far the strongest quarter for multi-family permits since we started recording them in 2002.

Those subscribers with access to Cromford® Public can see the details here.

August 5 - At the half-way mark, 2019 has produced 12,028 single-family permits across Maricopa and Pinal counties, according to the US Census Bureau. This is slightly ahead of 2018 when they reported 11,753. In fact it exceeds all years since 2007, but is nowhere near the quantities seen between 1996 and 2007. It is no wonder we are experiencing a shortage of housing supply. There was no sign of acceleration during the second quarter with 6,438 permits, down from 6,604 last year.

It seems likely that permit counts will start growing again during the second half of 2019 given the surge in demand. With resale homes in very short supply, more buyers are turning their attention to new homes. At least you don't have a bidding war to contend with when you buy new, though unless you are prepared to take a spec, you may have a relatively long wait for completion.

August 4 - There is now doubt that the market is a lot hotter than it was this time last year. If we use the Contract Ratio to compare the various price ranges we get the following numbers for the single-family market within Greater Phoenix:

Price Range Contract Ratio Aug 1, 2019 Contract Ratio Aug 1, 2018 Change
Under $100K 44.8 66.7 -33%
$100K - $125K 114.3 65.7 +74%
$125K - $150K 134.7 173.6 -22%
$150K - $175K 128.4 237.9 -46%
$175K - $200K 147.9 133.7 +11%
$200K - $225K 182.5 110.8 +65%
$225K - $250K 171.1 95.0 +80%
$250K - $275K 145.6 83.9 +74%
$275K - $300K 129.6 73.6 +76%
$300K - $350K 98.5 65.7 +50%
$350K - $400K 80.9 58.3 +39%
$400K - $500K 70.5 50.4 +40%
$500K - $600K 53.1 43.3 +23%
$600K - $800K 43.9 41.2 +7%
$800K - $1M 37.6 27.4 +37%
$1M - $1.5M 24.7 26.0 -5%
$1.5M - $2M 15.3 15.0 +2%
$2M - $3M 13.8 16.4 -16%
Over $3M 9.5 7.0 +36%

The market between $200K and $500K is the most dramatically affected with fewer active listings and more listing under contract. This price range accounts for 65% of the market by dollar volume and 78% by unit counts.

The luxury market is more patchy, but the ranges between $600K and $1M and over $3M are significantly improved for sellers compared with last year.

August 1 - The Cromford® Market Index values for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities by dollar volume are as follows:

This is an astonishing situation. CMI values were already very high last month but they have increased by an average of 12.1% since July 1. Only Cave Creek showed slight cooling and Glendale increased by just 2%. The other 15 cities jumped by 8% or more.

We have 7 cities over 200 and the 6 cities at the bottom of the table all increased their CMI by at least 10%. We note that the least expensive cities (Maricopa, Buckeye, Queen Creek, Avondale, Surprise) rose by very large percentages reflecting the strength of the market under $300,000. However the 3 most expensive cities (Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Fountain Hills) posted gains of 13% to 15% too.

Given that July is usually a month where the market is coasting, this is a remarkable shift in favor of sellers.

The issue underlying these changes is lack of supply. Demand has not changed very much over the last month, but supply has crashed. The reason is not hard to find. There are simply too few listings coming onto the market. July 2019 gave us the lowest count of new listings across Greater Phoenix that we have ever recorded for any July since we began keeping records in 2001. Because this followed a June with very weak new listing counts, we are seeing a failure to replace the homes that have been sold. Agents are hunting for new listings, iBuyers are trying hard to attract sellers and investors are campaigning intensely for everyone to sell them their homes. Despite these effort, home owners are unmoved. Given the massive increase in the housing stock since 2001 it is amazing that we have fewer new listings in 2019 than in 2001.

Pricing has not yet responded to this imbalance in the market, but upward pressure is building. Pricing is a lagging indicator while the CMI is a leading indicator. The table above suggests that appreciation rates will increase over the next 12 months unless we see a massive increase in new supply..

July 31 - The S&P / Case-Shiller® Home Price Index® numbers were published yesterday. These cover sales for the months of March through May 2019.

The month to month changes looked like this:

  1. Minneapolis +1.71%
  2. Cleveland +1.40%
  3. Detroit +1.16%
  4. Portland +1.03%
  5. San Diego +0.99%
  6. Charlotte +0.99%
  7. Seattle +0.98%
  8. Los Angeles +0.84%
  9. Chicago +0.81%
  10. Atlanta + 0.74%
  11. Phoenix +0.74%
  12. Washington +0.69%
  13. Las Vegas +0.62%
  14. Denver +0.56%
  15. Dallas +0.51%
  16. Boston +0.51%
  17. San Francisco +0.27%
  18. Miami +0.18%
  19. Tampa +0.12%
  20. New York +0.05%

The national average was a strong +0.84% and Phoenix was slightly below that in the middle of the table. The national media appears to be very late in figuring out that the housing market is seeing a recovery and because the HPI is published very late compared with the period it is measuring, it may be some time before they catch up.

The year over year numbers are as follows:

  1. Las Vegas +6.4%
  2. Phoenix +5.7%
  3. Tampa +5.1%
  4. Atlanta +4.7%
  5. Charlotte +4.5%
  6. Detroit +4.0%
  7. Cleveland +3.6%
  8. Minneapolis +3.6%
  9. Boston +3.6%
  10. Denver +3.6%
  11. Miami +3.3%
  12. Washington +2.9%
  13. Dallas +2.6%
  14. Portland +2.4%
  15. Los Angeles +1.9%
  16. New York +1.9%
  17. Chicago +1.6%
  18. San Diego +1.3%
  19. San Francisco +1.0%
  20. Seattle -1.2%

The national average was +3.4%. Phoenix was second only to Las Vegas and far out-performed the national average.

July 15 - Mike is on vacation (cruising the Mediterranean) for the next 2 weeks so observations will become much scarcer until his return on July 30. Normal service will be resumed on July 31.

July 11 - The Cromford® Market Index table below covers the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities.

We now have 2 cities showing a move in favor of buyers over the last month and 15 moving in favor of sellers. You might be forgiven for thinking that this makes the table less favorable for sellers than last week. You would be wrong however, as the average change in CMI is 9.4%, up from 9.0% last week.

We have a large number of cities moving a great deal in favor of sellers - Queen Creek, Fountain Hills, Paradise Valley, Goodyear, Avondale, Chandler, Surprise and Peoria are all in double figures. We have 5 cities over 200 and no cities under 130.

This is now an exceptionally strong market with no sign at all of the weakness we were seeing between September and February.

July 10 - Based on affidavits of value filed during June we have collected the following counts of iBuyer activity:

  Opendoor OfferPad Zillow All iBuyers Combined
Homes Purchased in June 2019 309 84 112 505
Homes Purchased in June 2018 297 115 16 411
Annual Change in purchases +4% -27% +600% +18%
Homes Sold in June 2019 280 96 111 487
Homes Sold in June 2018 256 106 0 362
Annual Change in Sales +9% -9% N/A +35%
Median Purchase Price in June 2019 $244,800 $219,174 $305,000 $248,000
Median Purchase Price in June 2018 $240,300 $223,000 $335,000 $235,000
Median Sale Price in June 2019 $250,000 $241,500 $309,900 $259,000
Median Sale Price in June 2018 $245,250 $231,000 N/A $242,000
Homes in Inventory at the End of June 990 420 387 1,797

iBuyers purchased slightly more homes than they sold in May.

We can still see significant growth in iBuyer activity compared to this time last year. However growth since the beginning of 2019 has been very limited. Given that the re-sale market has been very strong in May and June, the iBuyers have lost some market share over the last 2 months. They represented 4.8% of May purchases, lower than the 4.9% they achieved in August 2018 and a lot lower than the peak of 6.9% that they achieved in December 2019. They achieved a 4.9% share of sales in May, equal to their September 2018 share and down from the peak of 6.3% which was hit in March 2019. We cannot give you the percentage of June sales because we do not yet have figures for the total market sales. However we estimate 3% share for Opendoor, around 1% for Zillow and a little below 1% for OfferPad, making just below 5% in all.

Breaking consistently through the 5% market share appears to be proving a little difficult, though whether this is entirely due to the decreasing supply of homes below $300,000 or other factors we cannot say. Certainly the chosen market price range for Opendoor and OfferPad is shrinking fast. Since Zillow tends to target slightly higher price ranges that is slightly less of a constraint for them. Homes below $225,000 are becoming scarce and this scarcity is rapidly spreading up towards $300,000.

iBuyers have a larger share of inventory - 1,797 represents a very significant number, given that we only have 9369 active listings below $500,000 on ARMLS (excluding UCB and CCBS). The iBuyer inventory does include homes that are under contract but have not yet closed. So if we include the listings under contract on ARMLS below $500,000 we get a total of 19,299.

iBuyers thus appear to hold roughly 9% of inventory under $500,000 excluding new homes and the (tiny) distressed market. Their share of inventory below $300,000 is higher still.

July 8 - We saw only 1,831 new listings added during the first week of July across all areas & types. This is down 8% from last year and continues the weak supply trend that started in June. This is unusual and is causing more problems for buyers. The gap between supply and demand is getting wider.

July 6 - For the last 8 weeks, the monthly sales rate has recorded new all-time records for the time of year. The closest rivals were the years 2005 and 2011.

You can see this here:

The current situation is remarkable given that, in mid February, 2019 was running lower than 8 of the earlier years (2005, 2010-2013, 2016-2018).

July 5 - The Cromford® Market Index table below shows the state of play in the single-family markets of the 17 largest cities within Greater Phoenix:

We still have 16 out 17 cities showing conditions becoming more favorable for sellers. The lone exception is Tempe which has slipped down the table to 14th.

Quite remarkably, the average change in CMI over the past month is 9.0%, up from 8.6% last week. Many cities are well over this 9% average, including Goodyear, Fountain Hills, Queen Creek, Paradise Valley, Chandler & Avondale.

We now have 4 cities over 200 and 7 cities over 190.

This is the greatest imbalance in favor of sellers that we have seen in almost 6 years.

July 4 - Active listing counts are still plummeting and they have been low for so long that it can be difficult to place them in proper context. We thought it would be instructive to compare current levels with peak levels and long term averages.

The figures below are for active single-family detached listings excluding UCB and CCBS listings:

City Active on July 3, 2019 Peak Level Long Term Average Level % Average
Avondale 108 1,116 379 28.5%
Buckeye 372 1,279 512 72.7%
Cave Creek 197 516 273 72.2%
Chandler 455 2,481 1,049 43.4%
Fountain Hills 157 531 264 59.5%
Gilbert 538 2,766 1,192 45.1%
Glendale 439 2,567 976 45.0%
Goodyear 383 1,300 581 65.9%
Maricopa 323 1,092 445 72.6%
Mesa 699 3,657 1,699 41.1%
Paradise Valley 272 579 336 81.0%
Peoria 568 2,073 939 60.5%
Phoenix 2,462 11,416 4,765 51.7%
Queen Creek 598 2,354 1,015 58.9%
Scottsdale 1,506 4,362 2,410 62.5%
Surprise 438 2,273 966 45.3%
Tempe 171 580 311 55.0%

We can see why Avondale so frequently tops the CMI table with an extremely low supply compared with its long term average.

Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Gilbert and Surprise are all below 50% of their long term average,

July 2 - In June, the average monthly rent per sq. ft. was $1.01 for listings closed through ARMLS. This the first time we have recorded a figure over $1.

In June 2006 the average monthly rent was only 71 cents per sq. ft., so rents have increased by 42% since then. In comparison the average purchase price per sq. ft. has moved from $188.53 to $172.02 since June 2006, a fall of 9%.

So average rent has increased 42% while purchase prices have fallen 9% since June 2006 on a cost per sq. ft. basis.

No wonder most investors are feeling pleased with themselves. Tenants are not doing so well. Buying in 2006 or 2007 was obviously a bad idea, but since 2009 purchasing a home in Greater Phoenix has generally proven to be an excellent investment compared with renting.

July 1 - The housing market in Greater Phoenix is not content with just recovering from the slight air pocket in demand that occurred in 4Q 2018 and 1Q 2019. It is now setting up to be the hottest it has been since 2005, As an example we have just 1.9 months of supply across all areas & types as of July 1, 2019. This is the lowest number at the start of any month since October 2005.

1.9 months is a very low reading (4.5 months is normal) and what makes it even more surprising is that this supply includes listings in UCB or CCBS status, since they are theoretically open to new offers. If we exclude those UCB and CCBS listings, then the months of supply number drops to 1.6.

June 30 - For an analyst, the housing market is more interesting now than it has been for at least 5 years. This is because it is doing things it does not usually do. For example, the average list price per sq. ft. for active listings usually declines quite a lot during the summer every year, staring around week 18. In 2019 the average is still increasing as late as week 26.

This is the chart that shows the effect, which is very striking:

To play with and study this chart in more depth please click here.

June 28 - This is the time of year when demand starts to fade and inventory begins to grow. However 2019 does not seem to have read the script and is playing it all wrong. Demand is staying quite high for the time being while inventory is dropping. This gives us the following table of Cromford Market Index scores for the 17 largest cities and their single-family markets:

The average change in CMI is 8.6%, similar to last week. These days the primary reason for the CMI rising is lower inventory levels. The flow of new listings has been unusually weak during June. Demand is little changed from last month but certainly stronger than last year at this time.

Only Tempe is holding out from the party with its 8% decline. Goodyear is having its best month for a very long time while Queen Creek is also accelerating. Paradise Valley, Chandler and Fountain Hills also improved much more than we would normally expect.

June 27 - Across all areas & types, closed listings on ARMLS are currently achieving 98% of final list price. This is the highest we have seen for many years and confirms the strength of sellers' negotiation powers caused by the imbalance between very low supply and stronger than normal demand.

Here are the numbers for June 27 in prior years:

  • 2001 - 97.51%
  • 2002 - 97.26%
  • 2003 - 97.59%
  • 2004 - 98.10%
  • 2005 - 99.44%
  • 2006 - 97.21%
  • 2007 - 96.13%
  • 2008 - 95.28%
  • 2009 - 96.04%
  • 2010 - 96.07%
  • 2011 - 96.06%
  • 2012 - 97.67%
  • 2013 - 97.53%
  • 2014 - 96.93%
  • 2015 - 97.22%
  • 2016 - 97.48%
  • 2017 - 97.61%
  • 2018 - 97.89%
  • 2019 - 98.00%

June 26 - Despite the Greater Phoenix housing market making new record highs for sales volume and pricing, the national media greeted the S&P/Case-Shiller® Home Price Index® release for April 2019 with a surprisingly negative interpretation. I wonder how they would react if prices actually went down. Not much chance of that happening here any time soon, but here are the city rankings:

Month over month change:

  1. Boston +1.86%
  2. Detroit +1.62%
  3. San Francisco +1.59%
  4. Chicago +1.20%
  5. Portland +1.12%
  6. Seattle +1.06%
  7. Charlotte +1.01%
  8. Minneapolis +1.01%
  9. Los Angeles +0.99%
  10. Atlanta +0.98%
  11. Washington +0.90%
  12. Denver +0.80%
  13. Phoenix +0.78%
  14. Tampa +0.70%
  15. Cleveland +0.69%
  16. Dallas +0.63%
  17. Las Vegas +0.58%
  18. San Diego +0.50%
  19. Miami +0.14%
  20. New York 0.00%

These are big increases month to month and the US average was 0.93%. However the media described it as flat lining, preferring to focus on the Case-Shiller seasonally-adjusted numbers (which I consider close to meaningless). The non-seasonally adjusted numbers look strong and Phoenix could only manage 13th place and slightly below the national average.

Year over year change:

  1. Las Vegas +7.1%
  2. Phoenix +6.0%
  3. Tampa +5.6%
  4. Atlanta +4.9%
  5. Charlotte +4.2%
  6. Miami +3.9%
  7. Boston +3.9%
  8. Denver +3.8%
  9. Detroit +3.5%
  10. Cleveland +3.5%
  11. Minneapolis +3.0%
  12. Dallas +2.7%
  13. Washington +2.6%
  14. Portland +2.6%
  15. New York +2.1%
  16. Chicago +1.9%
  17. San Francisco +1.8%
  18. Los Angeles +1.5%
  19. San Diego +0.8%
  20. Seattle +0.0%

Phoenix is second only to Las Vegas in the year over year table and easily beat the national average of 3.5%.

I would also point out that most buyers from China have picked up their toys and headed for home over the past 2 years. This has certainly slowed the markets in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco. It has had hardly any discernible impact on Phoenix (or Las Vegas) because we did not have many Chinese buyers in the first place.

It really is strange how the press picks up a pretty robust set of numbers and turns them into bad news. Yes they are not showing double digit appreciation, but have we not learned that double digit appreciation is unhealthy over the long term?

June 25 - The number of new listings arriving in June is low compared to last year. A 3% drop may not sound like much but it can quickly make homes relatively scare in certain areas. One area that has been affected is Mesa:

With over 1,000 listings available and not under contract in January, Mesa is now approaching the 700 mark, lower than at any point in 2018. In fact it is lower than at any time since 2013.

For a city as large as Mesa (the 36th largest city in the USA by population), 700 active listings is nowhere near sufficient to keep buyers satisfied. 1,500 would be considered a normal number and we have not seen that many since 2014.

June 21 - Not only is demand continuing to strengthen compared with seasonal norms, supply is dropping faster than usual for the time of year. We can see this well in the volatile months of supply charts. Here is an example for single family homes in the city of Phoenix:

Note how we were far higher than 2018 and 2017 in February at 4.1 months, but between March and June supply has dropped sharply and is now lower than 2 months and well below 2018 and 2017. We are at the lowest point since June 2013, but remember that the 2013 market shocked us by deteriorating rapidly in the second half reaching 4.3 months by December. Below 1.9 months in Phoenix is low enough to be considered seriously imbalanced and buyers are facing tough times unless more supply comes along quickly.

June 20 - The market continues to improve for sellers at an astonishing rate, Here is the Cromford® Market Index table for the 17 largest cities:

Now we have only 1 city - Tempe - that is not improving for sellers, and it is still firmly in a seller's market at 147.7.

Maricopa has joined the program (up 1%) and the more expensive locations like Paradise Valley (up 16%), Scottsdale (up 11%) and Fountain Hills (up 12%) are rivaling the rest of the valley for the rate of improvement. This week the stars include Goodyear (up 17%), Avondale (up another 13%) and Surprise (up 12%).

The average CMI increase was 8.5%, up marginally from last week. In normal times an improvement of 7 or 8% would be considered excellent for sellers but at the moment it only gets your city less than half way up the table.

Market sentiment has shifted in a remarkable way since the first quarter.

June 18 - In most respects the market today is stronger than it was 12 months ago. Those measurements that indicate this include:

  • The Cromford® Market Index is 161.5 - up from 160.0
  • The Contract Ratio is 77.6 - up from 71.7
  • Average sales price as a percentage of list is 98.02% - up from 97.82%
  • Active listings excluding UCB & CCBS number 16,003 - down from 16,213
  • Sales per month is 9,626 - up from 9,534
  • Days on market for active listings is 95 - down from 97
  • Market Distress Index is 1.4 - down from 2.0
  • This weeks sales as percentage of long term average is 120.8% - up from 107.3%

There are still a few indicators that have not overtaken last year, but these tend to be the long term non-volatile measurements.

  • Days Inventory 82 versus 79
  • Listing Success Rate - 83.2% versus 83.6%
  • Days on Market for Monthly Sales - 65 versus 61

Prices are higher by 5 to 7% and dollar volume is at record levels.

The recovery is complete, so where do we go from here? We shall have to watch closely to find out.

June 16 - After 2 complete weeks have elapsed we can take a fair reading of how June is doing. It is good news for sellers once again. Closed listings are very strong as can be seen here. Up from 3,540 last year to 4,019 across Greater Phoenix, which is an increase of 13.5%. This is also a long-term record high for the first 2 weeks of June in terms of both unit sales and dollar volume through ARMLS.

Additional good news for sellers appears when we examine the new listing counts here. At the time of writing, we have seen only 4,229 so far in June, down from 4,750 last year. These numbers will change over the coming days as delayed listings are activated, but the difference between June 2018 and June 2019 is substantial.

The slow arrival of new listings and large number of closings will cause the Cromford Market Index to keep climbing over the next few weeks. It is normal for the number of listings under contract to decline during June so things should be a little quieter in July and August.

June 15 - The number of active listings on the market has been falling since mid-February. It has also been falling at a much faster rate than it did in 2018. The decline is not primarily due to a shortage of new listings. As of June 11 we had seen 0.45% more new listings than at the same point last year. The primary reason is the higher rate at which they have been going under contract, with the result that fewer homes are left for other people to buy.

  • Change in active listings without a contract, Feb 16 to Jun 15, 2019 = down 19.5%
  • .Change in active listings without a contract, Feb 16 to Jun 15, 2018 = down 9.5%

This drop in available supply has combined with the increased sales rate to drive the Cromford® Market Index up from 126.1 to 159.9 between Feb 16 and Jun 15. In 2018 it moved from 158.1 to 159.8 over the same period.

We note that the CMI is now slightly higher than last year but with a much steeper trajectory.

June 13 - You start to wonder how long this can continue, but the trend in favor of sellers keeps accelerating:

The average increase in CMI over the past month is 8.3%, eclipsing the 7.4% we saw last week. Tempe and Maricopa are still not cooperating, but the other 15 cities are really going for it.

Avondale is not only top of the table but its CMI rose the most (16%) as its inventory keeps demisang.

Surprise, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, Gilbert, Phoenix, Goodyear and Fountain Hills all rose by more than 10%. Mesa, Buckeye, Chandler and Glendale are not far behind.

Inventory is falling faster now as new listings are arriving at a slower pace. The spring selling season is lasting longer than it did last year. We usually do not see so much demand once temperatures exceed 110 degrees. It seems buyers want to grab those low interest rates while they still can, even though there is a chance they might fall further.

The market is clearly stronger now than it was at this point last year.

June 12 - Based on affidavits of value filed during May we have collected the following counts of iBuyer activity:

  Opendoor OfferPad Zillow All iBuyers Combined
Homes Purchased in May 2019 340 100 101 541
Homes Purchased in May 2018 283 125 3 411
Annual Change in purchases +20% -20% +3267% +32%
Homes Sold in May 2019 322 111 119 552
Homes Sold in May 2018 260 89 0 349
Annual Change in Sales +24% +25% N/A +58%
Median Purchase Price in May 2019 $242,650 $233,356 $290,000 $245,251
Median Purchase Price in May 2018 $212,000 $228,600 $312,000 $231,000
Median Sale Price in May 2019 $249,000 $239,900 $300,000 $255,000
Median Sale Price in May 2018 $242,500 $240,000 N/A $240,000
Homes in Inventory at the End of May 961 432 386 1,779

iBuyers sold slightly more homes than they purchased in May.

Overall growth looks strong relative to 12 months ago, but there has been little change over the past several months Zillow appears to have reached a steady level at just over 100 purchases a month. OfferPad has stayed at roughly that same level for the last 2 years. Opendoor has been at the 250-300 level for most of the last 15 months, although May's total of 340 sets a new record for them. iBuyer purchase activity has been steady over the past 3 months while overall market activity has increased.

Market share of iBuyer purchases is approximately 5% for May, having peaked at almost 7% last December. Sales activity is also around 5% having peaked at just over 6% in March.

That 5% is split 3% to Opendoor, 1% to OfferPad and 1% to Zillow at the moment.

June 8 - June has a major drawback this year for those looking to see high sales counts. It starts and ends with a weekend, when title companies do not close escrows. Despite this disadvantage, the month has got off to a flying start during the first 7 days with 1,932 closed listings on ARMLS across Greater Phoenix. The same period last year gave us only 1,732 closings. So we are up almost 12% so far. This is enough to compensate for the 10% drop in working days compared to June 2018. Will the rest of June be this strong? Watch this space.

Not only does 1,932 closings represent a very large increase from last year, it is a record number for the first week of June.

June 6 - Although June is very likely to deliver lower volume numbers than May, the balance between buyers and sellers is swinging hard in favor of sellers.

Here to illustrate that is the table showing the Cromford® Market Index numbers for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities:

15 of the 17 cities are swinging in favor of sellers and 7 of them by more than 10%. The average change is +7.4%, up from 5.9% last week.

Only 2 cities are refusing to join the party - Tempe & Maricopa. Both of them are seller's markets but they have cooled over the past month.

We note that Scottsdale and Buckeye are now improving strongly for sellers while Avondale, Mesa, Gilbert, Surprise & Phoenix are continuing the strong upward trends that have been in place for some time.

There is no little doubt that 2019 will overtake 2018 for its overall CMI rating very shortly.

June 5 - Dollar volume during May was the highest we have ever seen for ARMLS closings in a single month. The following ZIP codes saw huge increases in single-family dollar volume compared with May 2018:

  1. Glendale 85305 - up 196% ($5M)
  2. Glendale 85307 - up 182% ($5M)
  3. Goodyear 85395 - up 117% ($20M)
  4. Phoenix 85031 - up 95% ($3M)
  5. Phoenix 85019 - up 92% ($3M)
  6. Coolidge 85128 - up 88% ($2M)
  7. Scottsdale 85259 - up 87% ($29M)
  8. Phoenix 85053 - up 77% ($7M)
  9. Phoenix 85040 - up 69% ($5M)
  10. Youngtown 85363 - up 69% ($1M)
  11. Mesa 85215 - up 68% ($7M)
  12. New River 85087 - up 67% ($5M)
  13. Scottsdale 85266 - up 63% ($22M)
  14. Sun City 85351 - up 63% ($7M)
  15. Phoenix 85054 - up 61% ($2M)
  16. Mesa 85204 - up 54% ($7M)
  17. Sun City 85373 - up 56% ($5M)
  18. Mesa 85202 - up 55% ($4M)
  19. Glendale 85302 - up 55% ($5M)
  20. Apache Junction 85119 - up 49% ($3M)

June 4 - We know that the ARMLS numbers in May produced all-time record highs for monthly unit sales and dollar volume. Now let us look at the numbers from Maricopa County's recorded deeds. These include a lot of transactions that took place outside of ARMLS, such as the majority of new home closings, FSBOs and investor purchases.

For single-family homes and condos / townhouses, we saw a total of 12,041 affidavits of value. This is up 3% from May 2018 and it is the highest monthly count since June 2006. Unlike the ARMLS numbers it is not an all-time record. The bubble years of 2005 and 2006 saw a very large number of transactions conducted outside the MLS. New homes exceeded 4,000 a month several times during the bubble years, whereas in May 2019 we see less than half that number at 1,535. This is actually 1% lower than May 2018, so we can conclude re-sales are driving the recovery in demand a little harder than new homes.

The median new home sold at $364,990, which is much higher than the peak median during the bubble - $311,928. The re-sale median stands at $275,000, up less dramatically from the bubble peak of $253,418.

June 1 - The weaker demand that started in 3Q 2018 and ran through 1Q 2019 has caused a slightly slower rate of annual appreciation in recent months. However appreciation rates remain well above inflation and significantly above percentage rises in earnings. They also remain broadly similar to where they stood 12 months ago. Many locations have seen higher rates than a year ago (including Queen Creek, Buckeye, Mesa, Tempe, Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Gilbert and Goodyear).

The lower interest rates we are now seeing have spurred demand that is now higher than 2018 and it is possible that we will see the appreciation trend reverse and turn higher again in the not too distant future.

Here are the appreciation rates for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities measured using the annual average sales price per sq. ft. for closed listings.

  1. Queen Creek 10.7% (8.9%)
  2. Maricopa 9.0% (9.5%)
  3. Buckeye 8.8% (8.1%)
  4. Mesa 8.2% (7.1%)
  5. Tempe 7.8% (5.8%)
  6. Avondale 7.5% (8.6%)
  7. Glendale 7.4% (7.6%)
  8. Paradise Valley 7.2% (3.6%)
  9. Phoenix 7.1% (6.8%)
  10. Gilbert 6.9% (6.7%)
  11. Goodyear 6.6% (5.4%)
  12. Chandler 6.5% (6.7%)
  13. Surprise 6.3% (8.2%)
  14. Peoria 5.7% (6.7%)
  15. Scottsdale 5.0% (6.7%)
  16. Cave Creek 4.3% (5.8%)
  17. Fountain Hills 3.3% (6.7%)

The numbers in parentheses are the appreciation rates 12 months ago. The most affordable areas are looking strong while the Northeast Valley dominates the bottom of the table.

If you would like to study this further the appropriate chart is here.

 

 
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