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Justin Baker's Blog

By Justin Baker | Agent in Phoenix, AZ

Phoenix Housing Market Top 10 Most Popular

The 10 Most Popular Housing Markets


Chicago continues to hold on to the top-spot in January as the most widely searched housing market at Realtor.com. The following are the top searched housing markets from last month, according toRealtor.com data of 146 metro areas.

1. Chicago
Median list price: $186,000 

2. Detroit
Median list price: $81,700

3. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif.
Median list price: $320,444

4. Philadelphia, Pa.-N.J.
Median list price: $221,995

5. Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.
Median list price: $169,500

6. Atlanta
Median list price: $150,000

7. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Fla.
Median list price: $142,500

8. Dallas
Median list price: $189,900

9. Orlando, Fla.
Median list price: $155,000

10. Las Vegas, Nev.-Ariz.
Median list price: $121,500


Mid Month Pricing Update and Forecast

Each month about this time we look back at the previous month, analyze how pricing has behaved and report on how well our forecasting techniques performed. We also give a forecast for how pricing will move over the next 30 days.

For the monthly period ending February 15, we are currently recording a sales $/SF of $85.12 averaged for all areas and types across the ARMLS database. This is 2.2% higher than the $83.59 we now measure for January 15. Our forecast range was $82.51 to $85.87 with a mid-point of $84.19. The actual figure fell in the upper range of our forecast and within 1.1% of the midpoint of our forecast range. So we will chalk last month up as a success.

We have been correct in our prediction that positive annual appreciation would be reported from November 29 onwards. The current price level is 5.1% higher than last year on February 15. We now forecast that positive annual appreciation will be recorded for the whole of February through April and quite probably for the rest of 2012.

On February 15 REO sales across Greater Phoenix (all types) averaged $65.03 per sq. ft. (up 0.2% from January 14). Pre-foreclosures and short sales averaged $70.87 (up 1.5%) while normal sales averaged $105.55 (up 0.9%). Normal sales gained market share, moving from 41.3% to 43.5% of sales, while REOs faded slightly from 27.9% to 27.5%. Short sales and pre-foreclosures lost market share, moving from 30.9% to 29.0% - but note that many short sales closed on ARMLS get reversed later when it turns out they didn't close escrow as planned, so this percentage is probably somewhat over-stated and will be adjusted when we report next month, causing the normal and REO shares to rise.

On February 15 the pending listings for all areas & types showed an average list $/SF of $85.02, 1.8% above the reading for January 15 - so pending $/SF has moved upwards again and is now at its highest level since August 29, 2010. Among those pending listings we have 38.5% normal, up dramatically from 30.9% last month, a declining 20.8% in REOs and a declining 40.7% in short sales and pre-foreclosures. The average pricing for pending listings on February 15 in each category was: $112.50 normal, $68.84 short sales & pre-foreclosures and $68.05 for REOs (up sharply from last month). Sales pricing will rise because all these pending averages are on the rise, and because of the falling share that distressed sales are taking.

Our new mid-point forecast for the average monthly sales $/SF on March 16 is $89.35, which is 5.0% above the February 15 reading, and we have a 90% confidence that it will fall within ± 2% of this mid point, i.e. in the range $87.56 to $91.14. A substantial change in the mix can still have a significant effect on the average price per sq. ft. and we are seeing considerable variation from day to day. Our mid point forecast implies an annual appreciation of 8.3% (with the 90% confidence range implying from 6.1% to 10.5%).

September 15 - now measured at $78.84 per sq. ft. - remains the $/SF pricing bottom. The lowest monthly average sales price is $151,074 and this was measured on September 5. However the record low monthly median sales price is still standing at $107,000 and this record was set eleven months ago on February 24. Our current monthly median sales price has moved up to $120,000 and it looks most unlikely that we will drop below $118,000 in the foreseeable future, unless there is a major unexpected disruption to the market.

The severe imbalance between supply and demand is reflected in the large rise in the Cromford Market Indexâ„¢ between November 2010 and February 2012. This index tends to lead sales pricing by 12 to 18 months. The last turn round in the Cromford Market Indexâ„¢ was 15 months ago. Right on time, we are now experiencing a strong upward trend in sales pricing.

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