A total of 10,005 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during March in the combined Maricopa-Pinal counties metro area. That was up 22.2 percent from the month before and down 2.7 percent from a year earlier, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.
It’s normal for sales to rise sharply between February and March, with the gain between those two months averaging 29.4 percent since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Phoenix region statistics begin.
Total home sales in March were 4.1 percent short of the average number sold that month, mainly because new-home sales remain far below average. Resales of houses and condos in March were 12.6 percent above the historical average for that month. New-home sales were nearly 61 percent below average for a March. However, sales of newly built homes have risen year-over-year for nine consecutive months, and March's 942 new-home sales were the highest for that month in three years.
March home sales rose year-over-year in most price segments above $100,000. The number of new and resale homes that sold for less than $100,000 fell 26.2 percent from a year earlier, while sales between $100,000 and $200,000 increased 15.3 percent. Deals in the $200,000 to $600,000 range rose 14.9 percent from a year earlier, while sales over $500,000 increased 5.4 percent.
In March, the share of homes that sold for less than $100,000 was the lowest since June 2010. Sub-$100,000 deals fell to 30.6 percent of all transactions in March, down from 35.0 percent the month before and 40.8 percent a year earlier.
The median price paid in March for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Phoenix region was $135,900, which is the highest for any month since June 2010, when the median was $139,900. March's median rose 6.2 percent from the month before and rose 13.3 percent from a year earlier. The median's year-over-year increase in March followed annual gains of 7.5 percent in December last year and 6.7 percent in both January and February of this year.
March's median stood 48.5 percent below the all-time peak of $264,100 in June 2006, but it was 14.8 percent above the median’s post-peak trough of $118,347 in August 2011.
The median price paid for resale single-family detached houses in March rose to $135,000, up 6.3 percent from the prior month and up 13.4 percent from a year earlier, marking the fourth consecutive month with a year-over-year gain. March's $89,500 median resale price for condos edged up 5.9 percent month-to-month and rose 12.6 percent from a year earlier – the fifth consecutive month with a year-over-year gain.
Another key price gauge analysts watch, the median price paid per square foot for existing single-family detached houses, increased in March to $76 – the highest since September 2009, when it was also $76. March's figure rose 5.6 percent from the month before and jumped 18.8 percent year-over-year. The median paid per square foot has risen year-over-year in four out of the last five months. The March figure stood 55.5 percent below the $171 peak median price paid per square foot in May and June of 2006.
At the county level in March, the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses in Maricopa County rose to $79, up 3.9 percent from the prior month and up 14.7 percent from a year earlier. It was the fourth consecutive month with a year-over-year gain. The Pinal County median paid per square foot rose to $57 in March, up 9.6 percent from the prior month and up 28.1 percent from a year earlier, marking the sixth consecutive month to see a year-over-year increase.
Other Phoenix region March highlights:
- Foreclosure resales, defined as homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, fell to 31.8 percent of March resales – the lowest level since April 2008, when they were 31.5 percent. March’s figure was down from 34.3 percent the month before and 53.0 percent a year earlier. The peak level for foreclosure resales was 66.2 percent of all resales in March 2009.
- Short sales represented an estimated 13.3 percent of March’s resale activity, down from 15.6 percent the prior month and up from an estimated 12.5 percent a year ago.
- Lenders foreclosed on 2,387 Phoenix-area homes in March, down 6.9 percent from the month before and down 60.2 percent from a year earlier. The number of homes lost to foreclosure between January and March this year totaled 7,900, down 53.2 percent from the same period last year.
- Absentee buyers, who include investors and vacation-home buyers, bought 46.1 percent of all Phoenix-area homes sold in March, up from 43.3 percent the month before and down from a record 47.1 percent a year earlier. In March, absentee buyers paid a median $116,900, up from $102,000 the month before and up 16.9 percent from $100,000 a year earlier.
- Buyers paying cash represented 44.8 percent of March home sales, down from 45.5 percent the month before and down from 45.4 percent a year earlier. The record for cash buying was 48.0 percent in February 2011. March’s cash buyers paid a median $112,000, up from $101,000 the month before and up 26.6 percent from $88,500 a year earlier.
- Buyers who had a foreign mailing address in the public record represented 4.9 percent of total Phoenix-area home sales in March. Of all homes bought by a buyer with a foreign mailing address, nearly 70 percent were resale single-family houses, while about 23 percent were resale condos and about 7 percent were newly built homes.
Home Sale Chart available at DQNews.com.