The Cromford Report – Daily Observations September 2016

    September 30 – Even now there are those who would have you believe there is a wave of foreclosures coming along or a secret haul of REOs about to be released. Some suggest short sales are about to explode. There is absolutely no truth to any of these rumors. These people probably also believe that vaccines cause autism and that global warming is a hoax, so using factual evidence is not going to work on them. However for our subscribers I can report that the REO database in Maricopa County is down to a mere 1,100 parcels. September’s count of completed trustee sales in Maricopa County was a miniscule 230, 42% below 2015 and down from a peak of 5449 in March 2010. New notices of trustee sale amounted to just 544 in September, half of what we used to see in 2002 and down 95% from the peak of 10,712 in March 2009.

    September 29 – This week the table of Cromford® Market Index values for the single family markets in the largest 17 cities shows more cities deteriorating for sellers than improving. This is the first time we have seen this situation since the first quarter and is due to the usual seasonal effects. We expect supply to increase between September and November, yet so far the increase has been fairly small in most areas. The 55+ areas are seeing the strongest growth in supply, but again this is normal for the time of year.

    Big movers include Cave Creek and Paradise Valley to the upside. There are no double digit movers to the downside, though Avondale has descended from dizzy heights to almost join the rest of the pack.

    September 28 – Single family permits for new homes in August gave us no surprises. There were 1,637 in Maricopa and Pinal, only 6% more than August 2015. As such this is a modest increase compared with earlier months.

    Year to date totals for 2016 (with 2015 in parentheses) are:

    1. Phoenix 1,750 (1,459)
    2. Mesa 1,461 (1,110)
    3. Gilbert 1,153 (1,359)
    4. Peoria 1,105 (1,029)
    5. Unincorporated Pinal County 1,005 (1,008)
    6. Buckeye 967 (702)
    7. Chandler 924 (705)
    8. Queen Creek 755 (699)
    9. Goodyear 720 (891)
    10. Unincorporated Maricopa County 699 (543)

    Scottsdale has slipped out of the top 10 to be replaced by Unincorporated Maricopa County.

    September 27 – It is the time of the month for the S&P/Case-Shiller® Home Price Index® numbers and this month’s release covers sales between May and July 2016. Month over month changes look like this:

    1. Portland +1.16%
    2. Chicago +0.92%
    3. Denver +0.89%
    4. Detroit +0.83%
    5. Phoenix +0.78%
    6. Tampa +0.73%
    7. Dallas +0.68%
    8. San Diego +0.65%
    9. Boston +0.64%
    10. Minneapolis +0.64%
    11. Los Angeles +0.58%
    12. Seattle +0.56%
    13. New York +0.55%
    14. Las Vegas +0.52%
    15. Cleveland +0.50%
    16. Miami +0.41%
    17. Atlanta +0.39%
    18. Washington DC +0.37%
    19. Charlotte +0.35%
    20. San Francisco -0.02%

    Phoenix is much higher up this list than it has been for many months. Portland and Denver continue their very strong run, while Chicago and Detroit have improved to join them. Seattle and San Francisco are showing unexpected weakness compared with the recent past.

    The year over year table looks like this:

    1. Portland +12.40%
    2. Seattle +11.19%
    3. Denver +9.42%
    4. Dallas +8.33%
    5. Tampa +7.76%
    6. Miami +7.05%
    7. San Diego +6.03%
    8. San Francisco +6.01%
    9. Los Angeles +5.50%
    10. Las Vegas +5.39%
    11. Detroit +5.34%
    12. Charlotte +5.33%
    13. Atlanta +5.28%
    14. Phoenix +5.19%
    15. Minneapolis +4.99%
    16. Boston +4.20%
    17. Chicago +3.71%
    18. Cleveland +2.45%
    19. Washington DC +2.02%
    20. New York +1.74%

    Phoenix is looking less impressive in this longer term view. Portland, Seattle and Denver are the top three as usual. These are all primary destinations for millennials.

    September 26 – The Cromford® Market Index has run out of momentum and is likely to drift sideways or a little lower over the next 2 months. At 151.1, it has the same reading as a week ago and the Supply Index has slowly started to rise from its minimum of 70.2. The Demand Index is almost stationary at 106.3. Unless something happens to spur more demand we expect little change between now and the end of the year.

    September 25 – Distressed sales are still contracting. During August the total number of distressed single family sales dropped another 20% from August 2015 while non-distressed sales grew by 14%. Reversions to beneficiary actually rose by 14% from 133 to 149 but true distressed sales dropped as follows:

    • third party purchases at trustee sale – down 9% from 180 to 164
    • HUD sales – down 57% from 30 to 13
    • bank owned homes – down 33% from 141 to 94
    • GSE owned homes – down 23% from 53 to 41
    • short sales & pre-foreclosures – down 16% from 210 to 177

    September 24 – Looking at the public record data for the month of August, we can see that once again, new homes are grabbing market share. Among single family homes recorded deeds grew by 34% over August 2015 while the total only grew by a (still healthy) 14%. Examining dollar volume, single family grew by 22% overall while condos and townhomes grew by 31%. The single family market is still almost 10 times as large as the attached home market.

    September 23 – This is the time of year when active listing counts start to climb, but so far the incoming listings are surprisingly light, especially considering how heavy they were during the first quarter. New listings since the beginning of September (all areas & types) are down 1.1% compared to 2015 but up 2.7% compared with 2014.

    September 22 – The Cromford® Market Index for the single family markets in the 17 major cities show we are still in a favorable market for sellers:

    Admittedly we have 8 cities showing some deterioration with 9 improving, but the percentage improvements tend to be much larger than the percentage deteriorations.

    The more expensive cities are recovering from a disappointing first half year and have shown significant increases in their CMI over the last 2 months. The least expensive cities, such as Avondale, Surprise, Queen Creek, Maricopa and Buckeye are all lower over the last month, though only Avondale has shown a significant cooling off. Avondale could stand to lose some steam and is still top of the table, which is starting to get boring.

    September 21 – Within the luxury market for single family homes over $1 million, most areas of the valley have seen a declining average price per sq ft over the last 12 months. However there are two exceptional areas bucking that trend. The first is immediately south and east of Camelback Mountain in ZIP codes 85018 and 85251 where the annual average has soared from $350 to around $380 per sq ft in the last 6 months. Most of this area is known as Arcadia and is shared by the cities of Phoenix and Scottsdale. The second exceptional area is the 85255 ZIP code which has seen a more gentle rise from around $360 to over $370 per sq. ft. over the last 2 years.

    Paradise Valley has lost its crown as the most expensive ZIP code for million dollar homes with the annual average $/SF dropping from $375 in the summer of 2015 to just $354 this month. 85253 lies in fourth place with 85251, 85018 and 85255 all showing a higher average $/SF for homes over $1 million. Of course, these ZIP codes contain far more homes under $1 million than does Paradise Valley, so if we measure pricing for ALL homes within the ZIP code, 85253 still comes out ahead. Nevertheless it is clear that Arcadia and the DC Ranch area are currently very much in fashion with million dollar home buyers and are getting more attention in 2016 than they used to.

    September 20 – It may be surprising how many countries are now in Stage 5 of Demographic Transition. This is situation where the birth rate is exceeded by the death rate. This is not because of abnormally high death rates. In fact these are generally lower than at any time in history. Armed conflict is actually at an all time low, despite all the violence that fills the headlines. Medicine reaches almost everywhere in the world. It is the birth rate which is reaching new lows, including here in America.

    Here are the countries where the 2015 birth rate was lower than the death rate, according to the CIA World Fact Book

    Country Birth Rate (per 1,000) Death Rate (per 1,000) Net Migration (per 1,000)
    AUSTRIA 9.41 9.42 +5.56
    BELARUS 10.70 13.36 +0.7
    BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA 8.87 9.75 -0.38
    BULGARIA 8.92 14.44 -0.29
    CROATIA 9.45 12.18 +1.39
    CZECHIA (CZECH REPUBLIC) 9.63 10.34 +2.33
    ESTONIA 10.51 12.40 -3.60
    GERMANY 8.47 11.42 +1.24
    GREECE 8.66 11.09 +2.32
    HUNGARY 9.16 12.73 +1.33
    ITALY 8.74 10.19 +4.10
    JAPAN 7.93 9.51 0.00
    LATVIA 10.00 14.31 -6.16
    LITHUANIA 10.10 14.27 -6.27
    MOLDOVA 12.00 12.59 -9.67
    MONACO 6.65 9.24 +3.83
    POLAND 9.74 10.19 -0.46
    PORTUGAL 9.27 11.02 +2.67
    ROMANIA 9.14 11.90 -0.20
    RUSSIA 11.60 13.69 +1.69
    ST PIERRE et MIQUELON 7.42 9.72 -8.49
    SERBIA 9.08 13.66 0.00
    SLOVENIA 8.42 11.37 +0.37
    UKRAINE 10.72 14.46 -2.25

    There are only 2 countries outside Europe in this list and only one in North America, the tiny French islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon. The former Eastern Bloc is well represented, but they have been joined by Portugal, Greece, Monaco, Italy and Germany.

    Some of these countries (e.g. Austria, Czechia, Monaco, Portugal, Italy) are maintaining their population growth purely by strongly positive net migration. However even though Germany has been making headlines for its intake of migrants, the numbers were insufficient in 2015 to overcome the disparity between births and deaths. The same is true of Russia, Belarus, Croatia, Greece, Hungary and Slovenia.

    The countries with the worst problems are those with negative net migration as well as deaths exceeding births. In Ukraine and Bulgaria, depopulation is giving rise to an every increasing number of ghost towns. Real estate is likely to lose value rapidly in this environment.

    This list is getting longer each year (Austria just joined it), and it is likely to continue to expand over time to include all of Europe and much of the developed world, especially as the baby boomers exceed 80 years of age. This will not be a popular piece of advice, but we should be watching out for similar developments in the USA over the next 50 years. The trends are already starting to be seen in the US census numbers,

    September 19 – The chart below describes the 5 stages of Demographic Transition.

    We could describe the 5 stages as:

    Stage 1 = Pre-industrial (e.g. USA in 1800)

    Stage 2 = Developing (e.g. Afghanistan)

    Stage 3 = Industrial (e.g. Mexico)

    Stage 4 = Post-Industrial (e.g. USA today)

    Stage 5 = Decline (e.g. Japan)

    In many ways it is good that the human population stabilizes and even declines. This could prevent the exhaustion of the world’s natural resources. However our economies are based on assumptions of continual growth in GDP and this assumption underlies such things as the capitalist system, social security and eventual repayment of national debt. In a country with declining population all of these things become very difficult to sustain.

    September 18 – Yesterday I looked at a small city in the USA whose population decline has led to weak home prices. Today let us look at Japan, the third largest economy in the world, but the first and primary example of a long term declining population. Has their weak population trend been followed by a decline in home prices? A resounding yes is the correct answer. Although prices can be high in parts of Tokyo and elsewhere (just as they are in New York, London, Shanghai or Moscow) prices for the country of Japan as a whole have been on a down trend for the last 25 years. Look at the chart below using data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. This shows the “real home price index” for Japan, which is adjusted for inflation.

    The home price index for the US is shown in comparison (based in the index produced by the FHFA).

    With the index at 83.16, home prices in Japan have declined close to the lowest level since records started, when adjusted for inflation. They are almost 50% below the peak level reached in 1991.

    September 17 – I have mentioned many times that the fundamental driver of housing demand is population growth. If the population declines then we do not need so many homes. If we get a situation where population starts to fall then it is natural for home prices to go into a long term slow decline in real terms. We have seen this within the USA is areas like the western part of upstate New York (e.g. cities such as Elmira). Between 2010 and 2015, 41 of the 50 counties of upstate New York lost population. You might think of New York itself as expensive, and it certainly is in Manhattan. But upstate New York has very cheap housing and these homes are unlikely to show long term appreciation while population continues to exit for other states. The median sales price in Elmira NY is $86,920 and the average price per sq. ft is $62. It has very affordable housing, but the climate does leave a lot to be desired once you have gotten used to Arizona.

    People often tell me that jobs are the real driver of housing. This is not really correct. Job growth will often spur population growth since people will move to a city for a job. However people will also move to a city to retire. In fact much of the population growth in Greater Phoenix since 2010 is due to the increase in people over 65. Most of these people do not have a job and are not seeking one. They are moving for the climate and for leisure activities. Certainly there has been migration into Arizona for jobs, but some people of working age have left Arizona for work elsewhere, particularly those who do not have a legal right of residency. Many of those in the construction industry in 2008 are never coming back. Despite widespread belief to the contrary, detailed research suggests there has been net migration from Arizona to Mexico since 2010, not the other way round. This is probably because the economy in Mexico is growing faster and creating jobs faster than in Arizona. This does not mean our housing market has suffered, because the influx of retired people and second home buyers (e.g. Canadians, Californians, Washingtonians) has more than compensated for any loss of working age population to other US states, Mexico and Central America.

    Job growth has helped the housing market in Central Arizona, but it is not the number one driver of demand. That would be population growth. This is why I am so concerned about birth rates dropping fast. This can lead to population declines over the long term, especially if deaths start to exceed births. This will not affect the housing market in the short or even medium term, but is likely to have a long term impact.

    September 16 – The Census Bureau recently reported that the median household income surged 5.2% in 2015 from 2014. This is the largest jump ever reported, from $53,718 to $56,516. Despite this the median income has still not regained its high point of $57,909 attained in 1999.

    With women now obtaining college degrees in much higher numbers than men, it is not surprising to see earnings for women rising 2.7% while men’s only rose 1.5%. A significant gender wage gap still exists, but it is closing.

    The biggest message for me is that median household incomes did not rise at all in rural areas. Rural areas are seeing job losses and depopulation, which is obviously bad for rural housing markets.

    The median household income in major cities surged by a remarkable 7.3% in a single year. This is likely to drive home prices higher in urban and close-in suburban areas.

    September 15 – The Cromford® Market Index for the single family market in the 17 largest cities is telling us something about the luxury market.

    We notice that the best positive moves for sellers are in Paradise Valley, Cave Creek and Scottsdale. These three cities have experienced weaker pricing trends than the rest of the valley over the last year, but remember that the Cromford® Market Index is a leading indicator while price is a trailing indicator. The CMI is saying that the current balance between buyers and sellers has swung significantly in favor of the sellers and this is likely to affect pricing going forward unless the situation is quickly reversed. Why are these three cities doing better? Well in Paradise Valley the change has taken place over the last 7 weeks with the Demand Index recovering strongly from 84.5 to 118.7 today. At the same time the Supply Index has dropped from 102.0 to 88.6. So we have a strengthening of demand and a fall in supply, a powerful combination which is likely to cheer up those sellers who have been facing negative appreciation for the last year.

    The Demand Index has improved in Scottsdale (100.3 to 109.9 in 7 weeks) and in Cave Creek (102.5 to 121.1)

    In the West Valley, the trends are mixed for sellers, with Avondale, Goodyear and Surprise deteriorating for sellers while Buckeye, Peoria and Glendale improved.

    In the Southeast, Gilbert, Chandler and Tempe all improved for sellers while Mesa and Queen Creek eased up just a little.

    Phoenix has been cooling recently and looks in danger of being overtaken by Scottsdale next week.

    September 14 – A chart published by Motley Fool using data from the Census Bureau shows us the average net worth of an American, segmented by age group.

    A message to the millennials out there. The equity in their own home represents 84% of the net worth of the average person 65 year or older. If you do not own a home you are building no home equity.

    If you do not start building home equity at a young age, it can be difficult to catch up later. Please don’t say I didn’t warn you.

    September 13 – Which ZIP codes have the most luxury home transactions? Well if we define luxury single family homes as those that sell for $500,000 or more the top 20 ZIP codes based on annual closed ARMLS listings up to August 31, 2016 are:

    1. Scottsdale 85255 – $737 million a year
    2. Paradise Valley 85253 – $539 million a year
    3. Scottsdale 85262 – $389 million a year
    4. Phoenix 85018 – $348 million a year
    5. Scottsdale 85259 – $255 million a year
    6. Scottsdale 85266 – $222 million a year
    7. Scottsdale 85254 $163 million a year
    8. Scottsdale 85258 – $155 million a year
    9. Cave Creek 85331 – $151 million a year
    10. Scottsdale 85260 – $150 million a year
    11. Fountain Hills 85268 – $141 million a year
    12. Chandler 85249 – $119 million a year
    13. Peoria 85383 – $96 million a year
    14. Phoenix 85016 – $93 million a year
    15. Mesa 85207 – $92 million a year
    16. Scottsdale 85251 – $83 million a year
    17. Gilbert 85298 – $72 million a year
    18. Anthem 85086 – $67 million a year
    19. Sun Lakes 85248 – $65 million a year
    20. Queen Creek 85142 – $65 million a year

    ZIP codes are not created equal in size. In fact 85255 has an unfair advantage being enormous in comparison with most others in our area. In contrast, Carefree 85377 is tiny so does not make the top 20.

    September 12 – The Black Knight Financial Services Mortgage Monitor is always worth a read. The latest report is based on July 2016 and for the first time in a long while we see some states with worse home loan delinquency rates than they had one year ago. These states are:

    1. North Dakota – non-current loans up 21.5%
    2. Alaska – non-current loans up 6.1%
    3. Wyoming – non-current loans up 2.5%
    4. West Virginia – non-current loans up 1.8%

    All four of these states are heavily dependent on the energy sector (oil, gas and coal), so this delinquency deterioration is almost certainly due to the job losses that have occurred in conjunction with low energy pricing over the past 24 months.

    Arizona has a 3.6% non-current rate, down by 5.3% from this time last year. Washington and Oregon, with their booming economies and booming housing markets, have moved past Arizona with improvements of 18.9% and 18.6% respectively.

    Colorado is positioned to become the next state with the lowest delinquency rate of all, as North Dakota finally gives up that spot.

    Nevada has seen the largest drop in delinquency over the past year, down by 20.3%.

    September 11 – One of the best charts for showing price strength or weakness for a city is the annual appreciation chart for major cities. Here we see the single family markets compared among 17 cities based on the change in their annual average price per sq. ft. This chart uses weekly measurements and you can compare any set of cities but if we switch them all on we see they divide into 5 distinct groups at the moment:

    1. The leaders:

    • Maricopa at 11.6%
    • Buckeye at 9.6%
    • Avondale at 9.5%

    2, The main pack bunched together:

    • Glendale at 7.4%
    • Queen Creek at 7.3%
    • Phoenix at 7.3%
    • Tempe at 7.0%
    • Surprise at 6.7%
    • Peoria at 6.7%

    3. Another bunch just behind them:

    • Goodyear at 6.1%
    • Mesa at 6.0%
    • Chandler at 5.7%
    • Gilbert at 5.5%

    4. The laggards:

    • Cave Creek at 3.1%
    • Fountain Hills at 2.4%
    • Scottsdale at 1.4%

    5. And trailing far behind:

    • Paradise Valley at -4.5%

    It may surprise you how much this chart changes over time. Only a year ago, Paradise Valley was top at 9.3%, though a year before that it was at the bottom again at 3.9%.

    Since September 2015 we have seen Glendale on top for a long time to be overtaken by Buckeye in June and then Maricopa at the end of July.

    September 10 – More observations from the Maricopa County recorded deeds in August 2016, compared to August 2015:

    • the percentage of single family homes that were purchased to become rentals fell from 11.1% to 10.5%
    • the percentage of condo/townhouse homes that were purchased to become rentals rose from 20.4% to 22.4%
    • the percentage of homes of all types that were purchased to become rentals fell from 12.3% to 12.1%

    Rental sales are below the long term average and the percentage is getting unusually low for single family homes. However condos & townhomes have retained more of their popularity with landlords.

    September 9 – Looking at the Maricopa County recorded deeds in August (rather than the closed ARMLS listings), we see the following when comparing August 2016 with August 2015:

    • the percentage of re-sale single family and condo homes purchased to become rentals was 13.4% in both months – no change
    • the percentage of new single family and condo homes purchased to become rentals was 2.9% in both months – no change
    • the percentage of all single family and condo homes purchased to become rentals went down from 12.3% to 12.1%
    • the percentage of single family and condo sales that were newly constructed increased from 11.1% to 13.0%
    • the percentage of single family and condo homes that were purchased as second homes went down from 8.9% to 8.7%

    While new homes are rapidly gaining market share at the expense of re-sales, primary residences are slowly gaining market share at the expense of second and vacation homes. In other words, Canadians and other snowbirds are slowly moving out and being replaced by local full time residents.

    September 8 – Here are all the major and secondary cities where the Cromford® Market Index is lower than at the same time last year.

    1. Glendale
    2. Surprise
    3. Avondale
    4. Tempe
    5. Buckeye
    6. Sun City
    7. Casa Grande
    8. Sun City West
    9. Litchfield Park
    10. Arizona City
    11. Sun Lakes
    12. Paradise Valley
    13. Gold Canyon

    The West Valley is not as strong for sellers as it was this time last year. These areas have seen the largest percentage price increases and price increases are supposed to cool the market.

    The 55+ areas are also cooler than they were this time last year.

    September 7 – Overall the market is in a similar position to last year at this time, as measured by the Cromford® Market Index. Here are all the major and secondary cities that have a Cromford® Market Index higher than at the same time last year:

    1. Phoenix
    2. Mesa
    3. Scottsdale
    4. Chandler
    5. Gilbert
    6. Peoria
    7. Queen Creek
    8. Goodyear
    9. Maricopa
    10. El Mirage
    11. Apache Junction
    12. Anthem
    13. Laveen
    14. Cave Creek
    15. Fountain Hills
    16. Tolleson

    Most of the East Valley looks good by this measure.

    September 6 – As a counterpoint to yesterday’s post, we now take a look at the ZIP codes at the bottom of the appreciation table:

    1. Phoenix 85034 -33.7% ($85.46 to $56.66)
    2. Arlington 85322 -11.4% ($88.04 to $77.99)
    3. Phoenix 85004 -7.8% ($192.67 to $178.04)
    4. Casa Grande 85194 -6.3% ($118.40 to $110.94)
    5. Gila Bend 85337 -5.1% ($51.63 to $49.02)
    6. Paradise Valley 85253 -4.9% ($354.88 to $337.60)
    7. Scottsdale 85262 -4.5% ($281.58 to $268.81)
    8. Gold Canyon 85118 -3.6% ($153.68 to $148.09)
    9. Eloy 85131 -3.2% ($100.45 to $97.26)
    10. Scottsdale 85266 -3.2% ($232.27 to $224.92)

    A lot of these are ZIP codes with low (85131, 85194) or very low (85004, 85034, 85322, 85337) transaction counts, so even when we look at annual averages, their appreciation rates can be very volatile. This does not apply to 85253, 85262, 85266 or 85118. These are active and very important ZIP codes and here we see real signs of the significant weakness in the upper end of the luxury market that has been evident since August 2015. These are not the only luxury areas that have depreciated. 85016 and 85260 were just outside the list of 10 at -1.4% and -0.5%. The largest luxury ZIP code of all, 85255, just squeezed itself into positive territory at +1.0%.

    Not all luxury ZIP codes fared badly however. We see 85251 at +12.0% and 85018 at +5.1%. Proximity to shopping and trendy restaurants seem to be increasingly important in today’s market.

    September 5 – We would like to shine the spotlight on the ZIP code appreciation chart. This is for single family homes only and uses the annual average sales price per square foot as of September 1 2016, comparing it with September 1, 2015. We see some interesting ZIP codes at the top of the appreciation table:

    1. Superior 85173 +23.8% ($47.17 to $58.38)
    2. Phoenix 85031 +22.9% ($70.71 to $86.88)
    3. Phoenix 85009 +22.8% ($75.45 to $92.62)
    4. Phoenix 85017 +20.3% (78.36 to $94.26)
    5. Morristown 85342 +20.2% ($95.71 to $115.03)
    6. Phoenix 85040 +20.0% ($80.14 to $96.16)
    7. Phoenix 85019 +20.0% ($79.62 to $95.54
    8. Phoenix 85033 +18.3% ($80.91 to $95.69)
    9. Glendale 85301 +19.1% ($79.65 to $94.03)
    10. Youngtown 85363 +17.2% ($79.97 to $93.71)

    These ZIP codes in the top ten are all relatively inexpensive even now and have been appreciating some 5 times as fast as the overall valley. They are also appreciating faster than rents are rising, so it is possible some of the landlords in these areas may decide to try to cash out their capital gains at some point. If they bought properties at the low point, many are looking at some pretty startling percentage increases. Here are the gains from the minimum level:

    1. Superior 85173 +82% from $32.02
    2. Phoenix 85031 +251% from $24.72
    3. Phoenix 85009 +275% from $24.68
    4. Phoenix 85017 +242% from $27.58
    5. Morristown 85342 +57% from $73.81
    6. Phoenix 85040 +151% from $38.37
    7. Phoenix 85019 +220% from $29.88
    8. Phoenix 85033 +230% from $29.04
    9. Glendale 85301 +185% from $33.03
    10. Youngtown 85363 +137% from $39.56

    Of course these increase ignore the costs of refurbishment. At the time of the market bottom, most of these homes were in poor condition and needed a lot of TLC to get them back into rentable or saleable condition. However those people brave enough to take on the risk and the work have been paid back handsomely.

    September 4 – Although the Cromford® Market Index for all areas & types reached 150 a few days ago, it looks unlikely to make much further upward movement in the weeks ahead. This is the time of year when supply starts to creep up so we doubt that the Cromford® Supply Index is going to drop below 70. The Cromford Demand Index has been stationary around 106 for some time and looks like it may settle back just a little. This means we are expecting the CMI to stay in the high 140s to low 150s for the foreseeable future. This is not bad news. We do not want a strong market to get too strong. We have all seen where that takes us, back in the heady days of 2004 and 2005.

    September 3 – You do not have to actually read any of the words or numbers in a snapshot to get a good idea of how the market is doing. You can get a general picture by examining which color is dominant in the trend symbols. The ST symbols show the short term trend and the LT symbols show the long term trend. They are green when the change between last month and this month (ST) or between the same month last year and this month (LT) is favorable for sellers. They are red when it is favorable for buyers. So for example we can see that things are not very good for sellers in the price range $2 million to $3 million:

    While sellers are having a great time in the price range from $250,000 to $275,000:


    September 2 – The monthly sales counts for August compare with August 2015 as follows (single family only):

    Price Range August 2015 August 2016 Growth
    Under $100K 119 87 -27%
    $100K-$125K 213 97 -54%
    $125K-$150K 567 380 -33%
    $150K-$175K 681 667 -2%
    $175K-$200K 722 830 15%
    $200K-$225K 544 611 12%
    $225K-$250K 551 697 26%
    $250K-$275K 374 521 39%
    $275K-$300K 415 519 25%
    $300K-$350K 453 622 37%
    $350K-$400K 335 448 34%
    $400K-$500K 342 495 45%
    $500K-$600K 152 217 43%
    $600K-$800K 155 158 2%
    $800K-$1M 63 67 6%
    $1M-$1.5M 44 62 41%
    $1.5M-$2M 26 23 -12%
    $2M-$3M 13 9 -31%
    $3M+ 6 5 -17%

    Under $150K, sales have collapsed since last year due to lack of supply. The shortage of homes under $150,000 has also caused the median sales price to rise much faster than the underlying rise in home values.

    Given that most new single family homes sell between $225K and $600K, we observe that re-sale volume increases in this limited price range are similar to the increases experienced by developers.

    Sales are relatively weak between $600K and $1M and particularly lackluster over $1.5M but look good between $1M and $1.5M, thanks in part to an easy comparison. August 2015 was particularly poor for the luxury market, immediately following a steep decline in the stock market.

    September 1 – The month starts with another look at the Cromford® Market Index for the single family markets in the largest 17 cities.

    Some interesting changes have been going on since August 1. The cities improving the most for sellers are the expensive ones, in stark contrast to the earlier months of 2016. Paradise Valley is up a surprising 43% while Scottsdale is up 14%, Cave Creek up 14% and Fountain Hills up 7%. All have seen big drops in their active listing counts over the past couple of months. However much of the decline has been due to cancellations, so we will have to wait and see if these cancelled listings come back onto the market in the fall. Meanwhile sellers who are still in the market have much less competition which drastically improves their negotiation power.

    The rest of the market is mostly treading water, with the exception of Maricopa, up 8% and Gilbert up 5%. Avondale saw the steepest decline but it is still way out in front. If El Mirage was one of the top 17 cities then it would be placed even higher than Avondale.


    © 2016 Cromford Associates LLC

    The data used to create the Cromford® Report is obtained from public records and obtained under license from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc (ARMLS). Cromford Associates LLC and ARMLS expressly disclaim and make no representations or warranties of any kind, whether express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy of the data used or the merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose.


    I have worked with Cheryl several times (buying and selling) and I can confidently give her my highest recommendation. Cheryl is an intelligent, thorough and motivated agent who will work diligently to provide a pleasant and successful real estate transaction. – R Chang (client of Cheryl Menayas)

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