by Steve

We're Seeing Numbers We Haven't Seen In Almost A Year!

For the first time since June, 2007 the sales numbers for single family detached homes in Maricopa County were above 4,000.  To be exact, for the previous 30 day period (4/25/08 - 5/25/08) there were 4,056 homes sold through the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS). 

Keep in mind that this may not include every home that sold, only those that sold with the services of a Realtor® and through the ARMLS.  These are the numbers that I analyze every week, therefore in an effort to spot trends the data is sufficient.  I'm not necessarily looking for the exact numbers, just the comparisons from previous periods.

The abosrption rate is now approximately 9.42 months.  Once again we haven't been that low since June, 2007.

The pending numbers are still continuing to increase very week, now at 5,466 units currently in escrow.  And the inventory level has been inching its way downward for the past 6 consecutive weeks, now at 38,210.

On the flip side of all this seemingly good news is price.  Price has been steadily declining since about December of last year.  At the beginning of December the average price per square foot of the sold single family detached homes in Maricopa County was about $165/square foot.  Today we are at $138/square foot.  That's about a 16% decrease in six months.  While we have the good news on the sales and pending numbers side, we are also dealing with a decrease in the average price per square foot.  Short sales and foreclosures, primarily the latter, are what is driving the prices currently.  Banks are pricing properties very agressively in an effort to minimize the time they sit on their books.  It used to be that you could manage to exclude a foreclosure sale from a CMA or appraisal.  The reason for this is that in most cases they were in terrible condition, and there just wasn't that many of them.  There were plenty of other properties to justify an increased value over the foreclosed property.  However, in today's market that's not necessarily the case.  Many of the foreclosure properties are in fairly decent condition; nothing that a couple thousand dollars won't fix anyway.  And with more and more foreclosure properties selling in today's market, we just can't ignore them anymore.  Bottom line, they are affecting the value of your home!!

Keep in mind that it's impossible to take these very broad Maricopa County numbers and accurately depict the current market in your specific neighborhood or subdivision.  Some areas are feeling the brunt of what I'm talking about much worse than others.  If you're curious about the current status of a specific area in Maricopa County drop me a note, I'd be happy to take a look at let you know what I'm seeing.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] maricopa county real estate, market analysis [/tags]

Phoenix Predictions

With all of the so-called experts making predictions about the Phoenix real estate market, I try to refrain from making definitive predictions myself about when the market will rebound, when the bottom of the market will hit, and so on.  There are just so many variables that contribute to how the Phoenix real estate market reacts that it's just impossible to predict what it will do with any certainty.  Instead I try to provide you with statistics from our market, and based on those statistics,  attempt to explain to you what is currently happening and try to make some assumptions as to what might happen next.

However, with the Phoenix weather, I though I was pretty safe when I wrote this post last week.  I didn't think it was too much of a stretch to say that we wouldn't be seeing another cool rainy day for a few months at least.  Apparently I was wrong.  It's 60 degrees and drizzling today, and it's May 23rd!!  That's right, you heard me correctly, it's Memorial Day weekend and we're experiencing January weather.  This is normally the first big get-out-of-town-and-go-up-north-to-get-out-of-the-heat weekend of the year.  If you're going up north this weekend, you better pack some warm clothes.  It's gonna be cold!!

Call me crazy, but I'm going to go out on another limb and say that these will be last cool rainy days for quite some time.  As much as I enjoy them, I just don't see this kind of weather happening again before October-ish, maybe even later than that.  Don't get me wrong, I'll take 'em whenever they come, but I'm not going to be holding my breath.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] phoenix real estate market, weather preditctions [/tags]

Not Going To See These For A While

As I was driving around this afternoon taking care of a few errands, I noticed a couple of things that I don't expect to see for a while. I figured I'd take a couple of pictures to savor the moment.

I promise I was stopped when I took that picture. Albeit in the middle of a street, a residential one at least, but I was stopped; unlike my crazy, camera wielding colleague Chris with his Moving Stills posts. J It wouldn't take me long before I'd run into somebody while trying to take a picture and drive at the same time.

And this shot made me think of the time I spent living in Northern Idaho. I grew up here in Phoenix. Lived in the same house all my life. Until my wife and I got married and we decided to move up to her home town, Sandpoint, ID. After about a year, we decided that we preferred city life as opposed to the rural lifestyle. We're young and just aren't ready to turn off the lights at 8:00 pm. So we moved back to Phoenix, and when I left I was sure that if I never saw another gray cloudy day it would be too soon. Well, the grass is always greener, right? Sometimes I find myself wishing for a cold, gray, rainy day every now and then. With our 300 and some odd days of bright, often blistering hot, sunny days here in Phoenix, it's just nice to not have to wear sunglasses, and to not feel too guilty when you go on "rainy day schedule". Granted, today wasn't what I'd call a cold, gray, rainy day, but at least for a little while in my neck of the woods in north Phoenix it looked like it was. I'll take every little bit I can get right now, because I know that for the next (I don't even want to think about it) 4-5 months it's gonna be HOT!!

-Steve Nicks

[tags] north phoenix, cloudy day [/tags]

I Blame The Phoenix Real Estate Market

I went to get my hair cut on Tuesday, like I do every three weeks (I might have a touch of OCD, when it comes to tidiness, my hair included. Just ask my wife, sometimes most times I drive her nuts). I was informed midway through the hair cut that I had a few grey hairs. Boy if that doesn't make you feel old, I don't know what does. I played it off like it didn't bother me. I think I even made the comment, "that's alright, grey hairs are distinguishing on men". Well, I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. And I think I'm going to officially blame the Phoenix real estate market for the onset of my grey hairs.

I want to put the grey hairs on notice…."I've got my eyes on you!!!!"

 P.S.  If the market doesn't get back "normal" here pretty soon, I may look like "Mr. Distinguished" in the photo before I know it!!

-Steve Nicks

[tags] phoenix real estate market, grey hair [/tags]

Open House Home Shoppers

I worked an open house this past weekend for one of my listings. It was fairly typical. We had about 10 people show up in a 4 hour period, most of which were not terribly interested in the house for one reason or another. As I told my clients prior to the open house, the odds of finding the buyer for your home through open houses are not good. Buyers drive by and see a great looking house from the street not knowing anything about it. More than once I got, "We are looking for something more in the mid $200K price range". We're priced at $339,000. Or they're looking for something with more square footage, or more bedrooms, or a formal dining room, or something. It's such an inefficient way of shopping for a new home, but hey, gas is fairly inexpensive these days, so why not drive around aimlessly stopping at every open house sign you see. It's even more fun in July, when it's 110 degrees outside. The best part, nobody takes me up on my offer to help them find something through the MLS system. My opinion's a bit subjective, but I think it's quite a bit more effective to only look at houses that we've determined meet the majority of your criteria, before we even get in the car. But what do I know?

I did have a potential buyer show up that was trying to play the "buyer market" card fairly strongly. He and his wife toured the home for 10-15 minutes, and then asked if the price was negotiable. I informed them that my clients were aware that there is almost always a process of negotiation when a buyer makes an offer. He then asked what the seller's bottom line was, and informed me that he was a real buyer (whatever that means) and if they were real sellers he would be interested in this home. I tried to educate him that regardless of what my client's bottom line was, if the value of the house is 'x', then that's what it should sell for. He then very sternly said, "Have them give me their bottom line. I am a real buyer and might be interested in buying this home." I called and talked with him the following day, and as I suspected, he was looking for a seller who was in dire straits and ready to give their home away for less than what it is worth. This wasn't the home for him. I hope he isn't very particular in the house that he ends up purchasing. It appears that he is going to have to compromise on everything about a home except the fact that the seller's ready to give it away. Good luck!

Disclaimer: That's not me in the picture. I'm a bit younger by just a couple….decades, and I'm not so much of a suit and tie guy!!

-Steve Nicks

[tags] open house [/tags]

Maricopa County Absorption Rate

With the increase in Pending numbers and subsequent increase in Sales numbers since the beginning of the year, we've hit a mark in Absorption Rate that we haven't seen since August 2007. We are back under 12 months of inventory (a.k.a. Absorption Rate) for the first time in 8 months. While the Sales numbers have gone up fairly consistently since about February of this year, the number of available homes (a.k.a. inventory) for sale has stayed relatively flat. Specifically, the Sales numbers since February of this year have increased by just over 47%, while the inventory level has increased only by .25%. Now that's what I like to see. Here is the chart illustrating the Absorption Rate since the March 2007.

As I have been for the past few years, I'll continue to keep an eye on the current trends in our market and share the information that I think you'll find pertinent. If you are curious about something specific, whether that be numbers in your area or an area that you've got your eye on, or just a different set of numbers from the market as a whole, let me know. This is one of the many things that I enjoy doing.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] market analysis, absorption rate [/tags]

Pat’s Run - Results

Okay, so I didn't win the race. And to be quite honest I wasn't really looking at it as a race. I had goals set for myself that, if I met, would provide for a victory in my mind. The run on Saturday (4/19/08) to support former ASU Sun Devil Pat Tillman and the Pat Tillman Foundation was 4.2 miles. My first goal was to run the whole thing. To not have to stop to walk to regain my breathe so that I didn't just pass out on the course. My second goal was to complete the race in under 42 minutes, putting me at a 10 minute mile. Granted a 10 minute mile is rather slow if you ask any true runner. Heck, somebody finished the run in 21:08, a 5:02/mile pace. Now that's a runner!! Needless to say, I wasn't quite that fast.

I did, however, meet both of the goals I had set for myself. I finished the run in 37:48!! Well ahead of my 10 minute mile pace. It was actually about a 9 minute mile. And I was able to run the entire distance without stopping. I was very pleased with myself. Once I was able to compose myself enough to consider what I had just completed! J

It was a great experience, running with the other estimated 15,000+ people. I was able to run with a friend, and we finished the run right next to each other. My wife and her friend ran as well. They weren't able to keep our pace, but did a very respectable job as well. I am quite proud of all of us just for completing it. I am already looking forward to beating myself up again next year.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] pat's run [/tags]

Pending Sales – What’s On The Horizon – Update #2

As I noticed and discussed in my two previous posts regarding Pending Sales, we are continuing to see a steady increase in the number of properties in "Pending" status, and have begun to see an increase in the "Sales" numbers as well. This is great news. Here are the updated charts showing the latest weeks' data. I removed the month of January from these latest charts to provide for an easier to read chart. It was starting to get a bit cramped. So if you want to see January's numbers you can review my previous posts.

Inventory levels still remain high with just under 56,000 units in ARMLS (Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service) as a whole, and just under 40,000 single family detached homes in Maricopa County. For the market to have any kind of stability, these numbers need to come way down. The main indicator that, even though the Pending and Sales numbers are increasing, we are still in an unbalanced market is that the price per square foot of the sold units is still decreasing. Just since January of this year, we've gone from an average price per square foot for single family detached homes sold in Maricopa County of about $160/sq ft to about $150/sq ft this past week.

One contributing factor to the decline in price per square foot is the Foreclosure inventory that's being sold at a huge discount. Just to give you an idea, when I pulled the data on Monday, pulling the previous 30 days worth of solds, 25% of the homes sold during that time period were lender owned (or at least categorized that way in our database). Those homes sold for an average of $108.33/sq ft. Those not categorized as lender owned sold for an average of $163.09/sq ft. How's that for dragging down the averages?!?!?

Keep in mind that these numbers are averages and Maricopa County is a hugely diverse area with some areas seeing better numbers and others that are seeing worse. If you'd like to see some specific numbers in your particular area, just let me know. I'd be happy to show you what the numbers look like.

*All information is provided by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service and believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] market analysis, phoenix real estate market, MLS data, desert ridge real estate [/tags]

If I Were You, I’d Make Sure Your Listings Are Mapped Correctly

I don't know about you, fellow bloggers, but when I'm searching for homes for many of my buyer clients I search by a geographic boundary. It's typically how my clients talk to me about where they want to live. "I want to be north of Bell Rd and East of 7th Ave…" (or whatever the boundaries are). We then talk about what type of house they are interested in…do they want a newer home or an older home, single level or two, pool or not, you know what I mean. I then go into our lovely MLS system currently supplied by Tempo and set up a search, trusting that any home that's for sale in the geographic boundary that I set up will show up in my search. Well, as you might expect, that's not always the case. My beef today isn't so much with Tempo, that's like beating a dead horse (or maybe it's not even LIKE beating a dead horse…..hello FlexMLS!!!), it's more with listing agents that don't double check their listings when they enter them into the MLS. I don't know about you, but I sometimes make mistakes, even though my wife tells me I'm perfect J. So once I'm done entering a new listing, I spend a few minutes making sure that my new listing, whose owners are counting on me to do everything in my powers to sell, shows up any search that I can think would be run to find this home. Will some buyer's agent search by zip code…probably. Will some buyer's agent search by school district…probably. Will some buyer's agent search by the MLS area and/or grid…probably. Will some buyer's agent search by geographic boundary…probably. It is our job a listing agent to make damn sure that our listings are showing up in every possible way that they are supposed to show up.

It aggravates me to no end to find listings that either aren't mapped correctly or aren't even mapping at all. It takes one simple phone call to fix the problem. And not only are those agents doing their clients a huge disservice, but now it makes my job as a buyer's agent a lot harder. I have to run a couple of different searches to make sure that all of the houses that are available within a certain geographic boundary are, in fact, showing up in my search. Now, I know what you are saying, "why should it even take a phone call to fix the problem?" And I agree, it's pretty bad that Tempo doesn't proactively look for properties that aren't mapping at all and attempt to fix the problem, but my guess is that it's not going to change any time soon. So in the mean time, do your client's a favor and make sure that their property will show up in front of every potential buyer currently in the market for a new home. In other words, just do your job!!

**Disclaimer: I know I'm ranting a bit here, and I certainly am not aiming my rant at any of my fellow bloggers, since we are all just about as perfect as Realtor's come. J I'm mostly focusing on all of the other nim-rods in our industry who just don't care enough to do their job correctly.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] listing agents, real estate mapping [/tags]

Pat’s Run

On Saturday, April 19th at 7:00am the starter's gun will sound and yours truly, along with my wife and a couple of friends, will be among the thousands participating in Pat's Run. The 4.2 mile run will start on Packard Drive just to the east of Sun Devil Stadium and will finish on the 42 yard line of Sun Devil Stadium, all in honor of #42 Pat Tillman and benefiting the Pat Tillman Foundation.

You can find out more information or even register, if you're so inclined, at the Pat's Run website. If you're thinking that you might want to participate in the run/walk, in addition to beating yourself up for 45 minutes or an hour, you also get a very cool Pat's Run T-shirt.

Wish me luck. I'll post my results next week.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] pat's run [/tags]

Selling My Grandmother’s House

It's time. My grandmother is getting to the age where living alone in her home, the home that she and my grandfather bought in 1956 when they moved here from New York, just isn't smart for her any more. It takes maintenance that she's not able to provide. It takes money to maintain which she doesn't necessarily want to spend. And more important than all, she's getting to the point where she would feel more comfortable living in a home where assistance is available should she need it. My family has been talking about this possibility for a few years now and it's finally gotten to the point where, as much as she doesn't want to leave her home of 52 years, she realizes that it's probably about that time.

They've finally found her a place that everybody's comfortable with. And now comes that task of putting her home on the market. It's been a very surreal experience for me. It's been tough for me to put my objective lenses on and look at her home like a piece of inventory. It's "Nanny's" house, not just another listing for crying out loud. Most of the time after I've been in a house once or twice I can mentally walk through the house and pick out things that need to be addressed before the house goes on the market. Not this one!! I was meeting my folks and my grandmother at the house today and even though I've been in that house a million times, I couldn't visualize anything that needed to be addressed. I know there has to be something…it's an older house that's been lived in for 52 years. Don't get me wrong, it's been very well taken care of, but a house that's been lived in for any period of time, or 52 years, probably needs some tender love and care before it's ready to be put on the market, at least some depersonalizing and decluttering. But, for all the times that I've been in that house, I've never objectively looked at it like inventory. And today that's my job. That's what my grandmother, and the rest of the family for that matter, is counting on me to do.

So Sunday, April 13, 2008 was quite possibly the first time I'd looked at this house in Central Phoenix, not as "Nanny & Pop-Pop's" house, but as another piece of inventory that I need to sell. I found doors that I didn't even realize existed. I think I really looked at the roof for the first time ever. All of the pictures that adorn her home of every person in our family, I looked at as clutter. Even though I knew she had a gas stove in the kitchen, I think I realized for the first time today that she has natural gas for her heating, water heater and stove. I looked at the neighbor's house today and really noticed just how bad it looks. Before today it was just the lazy neighbor's house, but now it's the house that's quite possibly going to cause "Nanny's" house to sell for less than it might otherwise.

The whole experience was weird today. And I'm sure it's not going to get any easier as we work towards finding this wonderful home a new family. It will just take a little extra effort on my part to be the unemotional piece to the puzzle as we get the house on the market, and then eventually begin to negotiate with a potential buyer. This should be fun!! J

-Steve Nicks

[tags] central phoenix, family real estate [/tags]

Brian Williams Looks Past The Current Housing Slump

My wife and I spent the majority of this past week in Las Vegas for her birthday celebration. I won't dare tell you which birthday it was of hers, she'd kill me, but her and her two best friends from back home all turn a fairly significant age this year and wanted to celebrate together, so we all met in Las Vegas. This has nothing to do with this post other than while we were there I was watching the news, trying to stay out of the casino so I wouldn't give them any more of our money, and saw the lead-in to a story on the slumping housing market. Alone this is nothing new. In fact, it's almost a daily occurrence that the media reports some doom and gloom story in relation to the housing market (which is a whole other post in itself), but this time it had a little bit different feel to it. I don't remember the exact words that Brian Williams of NBC used, but it was something along the lines of, "How did the housing market get to where it is today, and just what do we do from here?" I can't tell you how refreshing it was to here that. To many people it may not sound like much, but I think this is the first time that I've heard the media talking about "what's next?", or "where do we go from here?". I believe that the media plays a major role in public perception and if all the media talks about is how bad the housing market it, then rest assured the public will feel it….a self-fulfilling prophecy. So hopefully, going forward, the focus of the media coverage relating to the housing market will be on "what next?", or "where do we go from here?", or "just how do we get out of this mess we're in?".

-Steve Nicks

[tags] real estate market news coverage, desert ridge real estate [/tags]

Maricopa County Population Growth

Maricopa County grew by 109,000 people last year making it the fastest growing county in the nation. Although we've almost hit the 4 million people mark, our population growth has moderated since 2004 and 2005. Some experts predict, however, that within 10 years Maricopa County will be home to 5 million people. Of the population increase last year, 39% came from state-to-state migration and 21% came from international migration, the remaining increase coming from a natural population increase (net gain of births to deaths).

As bad as the real estate market has been over the past couple of years, just imagine how much worse it could have been had we not been the fastest growing county in the nation. There's a bit of a double edged sword here...the affordability and desirability of Maricopa County has been attracting people from all over the country (and other countries for that matter) for many years, which in turn attracted the investor crowd, which was part of the reason for the rapid, out of control price appreciation that occurred during 2004 & 2005.  However, the attractiveness of Maricopa County still remains, as this article confirms, and will continue to lure people to the area hopefully providing for a quicker than average recovery in the local economy and real estate market.

Click Here to read the full article.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] maricopa county population, desert ridge real estate [/tags]

Pending Sales – What’s On The Horizon – Update #1

On February 12th, I posted about the year-to-date Pending Sales numbers; noticing in both the data as well as the activity on our listings that the real estate market had some increased activity since the first of the year. I wanted to update the charts with the past four weeks of data which show that we are still trending in the right direction. As I mentioned in the previous post, the increase in the Pending Sales numbers will, within 30-60 days, show in an increase in the Sold numbers as well, and that is exactly what has happened. The sales numbers for February increased by almost 19% over the previous month. That's good news!!

As you can see the trend has continued, with a minor blip in last week's numbers for some reason. The good news is that in looking at the numbers from this week (3/10/08), it looks like we may have overcome whatever caused the decreased numbers from last week and will hopefully remain on an upward trend.

As I've mentioned before, we are far from recovered. Currently we have a little over 56,000 total listings in the MLS as a whole, and just under 40,000 single family detached homes in Maricopa County alone. With that being said, using current sales numbers from February, we have 16.29 months of inventory in the MLS, and 15.74 months of single family detached inventory in Maricopa County. In a normal market, where supply and demand are somewhat balanced and we see a slight but steady increase in values, we would be seeing about 3-4 months of inventory.

I will anxiously be keeping an eye on these numbers, as well as the rest of the data, and will relay the information that I see to be relevant as it appears.

*All information provided by Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] market analysis, phoenix real estate market, MLS data, desert ridge real estate [/tags]

Just Because It's In The MLS Doesn't Mean It's Accurate

I took a listing a couple of weeks ago (2310 E. Winchcomb Dr. for those of you who might be interested!!) and during my research I came across a listing in the same subdivision that had the square footage listed as 1,535 per the assessor’s tax records.  Well as part of my research I also looked at the assessor’s tax records and noticed that it had the square footage listed as 1,385, not 1,535.  So in an effort to try and figure out why there was a discrepancy, I called the listing agent.  The conversation went something like this….

Me:  “Hi, I noticed that you have a listing on Gelding and see that you have the square footage listed as 1,535 per the assessor’s records, but when looking at the assessor’s records, it shows the square footage as 1,385.  Can you explain that to me?  Was there an addition to the house?  I’m a little confused.”

Listing Agent:  “The tax records say what?”

Me:  “It shows the square footage as 1,385, but you have 1,535 in the MLS”

Listing Agent:  “Oh, well I just took the information from the previous listing and it had 1,535.  I guess I should look at the tax records.”

Me:  Dead silent!! 

I couldn’t believe that an agent would be this careless in the representation of a property.  Now granted, there are several instances throughout the buying process where a buyer is advised to verify, among other things, the square footage before purchasing the home.  So odds are, a buyer is going to be informed of the actual square footage before closing on the property, but if it were to happen, a buyer could find themselves in a situation where they thought they were buying a 1,535 square foot home, when in all actuality they just bought a 1,385 square foot house.  If the home feels right to the buyer it’s not too big of a deal.  But when looking at what the buyer paid for the home 150 square feet could be the difference between buying a home at a value and being upside down the day they moved in.  And in this declining market, starting out upside down is a bad place to start.

In addition to the incorrect square footage, I have recently noticed that the listing agent has now posted the incorrect property photo.  Strike two!!  One more strike, and this agent should be out.  It’s embarrassing to me to be included in the pool of Realtors with this individual.  Most of us work very hard at combating the Realtor stereotype, only to be handicapped by agents like this.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] multiple listing service, phoenix real estate, desert ridge real estate [/tags]

Pending Sales – What’s On The Horizon

One of the categories that I look at on a weekly basis is the number of units "Pending" in the MLS. "Pending" indicates that the seller has received and accepted an offer from a buyer to purchase their home. Most escrow periods last approximately 30-60 days, therefore, looking at this number gives me a pretty good idea of what we can expect in "Sold" numbers over the next 30-60 days. I don't necessarily look at this number to try and predict the exact number of Sold listings, but more so to get an idea of how the market is trending.

Since the first of the year, we've seen an increase in the amount of activity on our listings. In a completely non-scientific measurement we knew that the activity levels were increasing. And it's always nice to confirm with actual numbers that our hunch was accurate. Over the past six weeks, the number of units Pending in the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) as a whole has increased by almost 32%, and by just over 34% for Single Family Detached Homes in Maricopa County.

As you can see, the number of units in Pending status has steadily increased since the beginning of the year. Hopefully this trend continues throughout the weeks to come. We still have a long way to go, with almost 56,000 homes for sale in ARMLS, but I'll take any kind of good news that I can right now.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] Phoenix Real Estate, Real Estate Market Analysis, Desert Ridge Real Estate [/tags]

2007 Year End Analysis – Part 2 of ?

So I spent some more time analyzing the data from 2007 and comparing it to the previous 8 years of data that I have available to me. In my last 2007 Year End Analysis post I took a look at the total number of sales. That certainly tells one facet of the story. I also wanted to look at prices. Without even looking at any numbers at all, I'm sure you'd be able to guess that prices have decreased over the past year. But by how much? And how did the prices from this past year compare to the years prior? In other words, just how bad did it get this past year?

I took all of the homes sold through the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) as well as just the single family detached homes in Maricopa County and calculated the price per square foot. Here is what I found.

As you can see the, beginning in 2004 prices per square foot began to increase in large increments. And as you would have suspected the prices have begun to decrease. But as bad as you may think it has gotten, the price decrease through 2007 was fairly minimal relatively speaking. I'm predicting the prices will decrease again this year. By how much? That I don't know and can't reasonably venture a guess. I think one of the most important factors in the equation is going to be the foreclosure market. When these homes come on the market at 60% - 70% of what could be reasonably determined to be the market value, it makes a typical seller (i.e. owner occupant) think long and hard about whether they really want to sell their home. If they do, they must adjust their price very aggressively, or take the home off the market and sell the home at a later date. Obviously some areas of the valley are much more affected by this scenario (Surprise, Goodyear, Avondale) than others, but on a grand scale you can see the effect in the numbers above.

I'll continue to post more 2007 Year End Analysis posts as I can put the data together. If you would like me to pull some more specific data based on where you live or where you might like to live, please send me an email and I'll be happy to pull the data for you. Again, without the proper information, it's very difficult to make prudent decisions.

*All information provided by Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] Market Analysis, Phoenix Real Estate Market, MLS Data, Desert Ridge Real Estate Market [/tags]

2007 Year End Analysis – Part 1 of ?

Over the next couple of weeks I am going to be spending as much time as possible looking at the data from 2007, comparing it to years past and posting my findings for you all read and enjoy. Although, I can already tell you that it's not all that enjoyable to see the numbers from this past year. Good or bad, however, it's invaluable to know where we stand so that we are able to make educated decisions going forward. This will be the first of several posts. When I see something in my analysis that I feel would be of some interest to you, I will post it here.

First, I took a look at the number of existing homes sold through the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS). I pulled the numbers for all homes listed in ARMLS and I also pulled the numbers for just Maricopa County Single Family Detached homes. As you might suspect, both trends seem to be following the same path.

As you can see, the numbers for both the ARMLS as a whole and Maricopa County Single Family Detached homes are the lowest they've been in the past 8 years. (I am only able to pull data back to 2000, prior to that there was a different MLS provider.) Regardless, I think it's a pretty good snap shot comparison of how this past year in the Phoenix real estate market compared to years past. To make matters even worse, while the total number of resale homes sold is the lowest it's been in 8 years, the inventory levels are extremely high. I can tell you that as of 12/31/07 there were 54,521 currently available homes for sale in the ARMLS and 38,269 single family detached homes available in Maricopa County alone. This would mean that on average only 8.3% (ARMLS as a whole) and 8.5% (Maricopa County Single Family Detached) of the homes are selling every month.

I'll continue to post more 2007 Year End Analysis post as I can put the data together. If you would like me to pull some more specific data based on where you live or where you might like to live, please send me an email and I'll be happy to pull the data for you. Again, without the proper information, it's very difficult to make prudent decisions.

*All information provided by Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] Market Analysis, Phoenix Real Estate Market, MLS Data, Desert Ridge Real Estate Market [/tags]

An Investor, What Is That?

I had a call today from an agent who wanted to preview a listing of mine.  She explained to me that she was representing an investor who is looking to purchase a couple of properties.  This, along with the term "Multiple Offers" is something that I just haven't heard in the Phoenix market for quite some time.

My wife and I are spending some time with family up in Northern Idaho for the holidays.  While here, I've talked with several people in the real estate industry and they all seem to have the same opinion.  Now is the time to buy in the Phoenix market.  Do I agree?  It depends on the situation, of course.  But the moral to this story is that it's been quite some time since I've seen any level of excitement about real estate in the Phoenix area.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] Phoenix real estate, real estate investing, Desert Ridge real estate [/tags]

Daisy Mountain Fire District Residents Get A 44% Increase This Holiday Season

But this increase might not be the kind you would want. The Daisy Mountain Fire District board has approved a 44% increase in the tax assessment this year to help buy equipment that is either old or leased. They defend their decision stating that it is saving the tax payers in the long run with a 5% discount for purchasing up front, and some $750,000 in future interest payments.

Not everybody agrees, however. Some residents believe that it's unfair for the current residents to have to foot 100% of the bill for equipment that future residents will benefit from without being involved in this year's increased assessment. And those that move out of the area within the next few years will have paid for something that they will no longer be benefiting from.

The assessment of the fire district is just one piece to the property tax puzzle. In a later post I will attempt to explain just what your property taxes are based on and what it is that you are paying for. It's one of the more confusing aspects of homeownership in Arizona. I'll try and make it a little more clear.

Click Here to read the article.

-Steve Nicks

[tags] Daisy Mountain Fire District, Desert Ridge real estate [/tags]