In April, buyers paid a median $142,000 for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the combined Maricopa-Pinal counties metro area. It was the highest median for any month since November 2009, when the median was $142,700. Last month’s median was up 4.0 percent from March and up 18.3 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
The median's 18.3 percent year-over-year increase in April followed annual gains of 13.8 percent in March and 7.5 percent in each of the prior three months.
Last month’s median sale price stood 46.2 percent below the all-time peak of $264,100 in June 2006, but it was 20.0 percent above the median’s post-peak trough of $118,347 in August 2011.
To some extent, last month’s relatively large year-over-year gain in the median sale price was driven by price pressures that have formed in the market as affordability-driven demand has been met with a relatively low inventory of homes for sale. But the jump in the median price also reflects a substantial drop in the share of all resales that are foreclosed properties, which tend to carry significant discounts and be concentrated in lower-cost areas.
Foreclosure resales, defined as homes that were foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, fell to 26.6 percent of the resale market last month – the lowest level for any month since February 2008, when they were 22.8 percent. April’s foreclosure resale level fell from 31.7 percent the month before and 50.6 percent a year earlier. The peak level for foreclosure resales was 66.2 percent in March 2009.
Last month a total of 9,450 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the two-county Phoenix region, down 6.0 percent from the month before and down 3.0 percent from a year earlier. On average, April home sales have risen 1.0 percent from March since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Phoenix region statistics begin.
Total home sales in April were 2.3 percent short of the average number sold that month, mainly because new-home sales remain far below average. Resales of houses and condos combined in April were 5.5 percent above the historical average for that month. New-home sales were 59.1 percent below average for an April. However, sales of newly built homes have been on an upswing of late. They have risen year-over-year for 10 consecutive months, and April's 885 new-home sales were the second-highest for the month of April since 2008.
Last month’s total home sales rose year-over-year in most price segments above $100,000. The number of new and resale homes that sold in April for less than $100,000 fell 29.1 percent from a year earlier, while sales between $100,000 and $200,000 increased 14.0 percent. Deals between $200,000 and $400,000 rose 28.8 percent year-over-year, while sales above $500,000 rose 5.0 percent. However, April transactions over $800,000 fell 6.8 percent from a year earlier.
Last month 28.5 percent of all homes sold for less than $100,000, down from 30.5 percent the prior month and down from 40.0 percent a year earlier. Last month’s figure was the lowest for any month since November 2009, when sub-$100,000 sales accounted for 26.9 percent of all transactions.
Other Phoenix region April highlights:
- A key price gauge analysts watch, the median price paid per square foot for existing single-family detached houses, increased in April to $79 – the highest since November 2008, when it was $84. April's figure rose 3.9 percent from the month before and increased 19.7 percent year-over-year. The median paid per square foot has risen year-over-year for five consecutive months. The April figure stood 53.8 percent below the $171 peak median paid per square foot in May and June of 2006.
- At the county level in April, the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses in Maricopa County rose to $83, up 5.1 percent from the prior month and up 20.0 percent from a year earlier. It was the fifth consecutive month with a year-over-year gain. The Pinal County median paid per square foot was $56 last month, down 1.8 percent from the prior month but up 21.4 percent from a year earlier, marking the seventh consecutive month to see a year-over-year increase.
- Short sales, where the sale price fell short of what was owed on the property, represented an estimated 12.4 percent of April’s resale activity. That was down from an estimated 13.3 percent the prior month and it was the same as a year earlier.
- Lenders foreclosed on 2,190 Phoenix-area homes in April, down 8.3 percent from the month before and down 58.5 percent from a year earlier. The number of homes lost to foreclosure between January and April this year totaled 10,090, down 54.5 percent from the same period last year.
- Absentee buyers, who are mainly investors and vacation-home buyers, bought 40.2 percent of all Phoenix-area homes sold last month, down from 46.2 percent the month before and down from 46.3 percent a year earlier. The peak was 47.1 percent in March 2011. Last month, absentee buyers paid a median $119,000, up from $117,500 the month before and up 20.2 percent from $99,000 a year earlier.
- Buyers paying cash bought 45.0 percent of all homes sold in April. That was the same as the prior month and up slightly from 44.5 percent a year earlier. The record for cash buying was 48.0 percent in February 2011. Last month’s cash buyers paid a median $120,000, up from $112,500 the month before and up 30.6 percent from $91,900 a year earlier.