The Cromford Report – The Daily Observations September 2017

    September 30 – According to the Census Bureau there were 1,954 single-family permits in Maricopa and Pinal Counties during August. This is a 19% increase over August 2016. The annual rate (i.e. for the last 12 months) is up 9.69% from last year. the last 2 months have seen an acceleration in permits which suggests that developers are at least trying to address the long-term shortage of homes for sale. However they are still back to the level of 1996 when there were 2,397.

    The top ten sources of permits in 2017 are:

    1. Phoenix – 1891
    2. Mesa – 1763
    3. Buckeye – 1448
    4. Unincorporated Pinal County – 1442
    5. Peoria – 1293
    6. Gilbert – 1155
    7. Queen Creek – 850
    8. Goodyear – 763
    9. Maricopa – 760
    10. Unincorporated Maricopa County – 518

    Note that Queen Creek and San Tan Valley, the latter comprising the better part of Unincorporated Pinal County, would overtake Phoenix at the top of the table if we went back and counted them together….. after all hey were just one ZIP code (85242) in 2007. This part of the valley is building at high speed.

    Surprise, Scottsdale and Chandler all just failed to make the top ten.

    Wickenburg is getting much more active with 117 permits year to date and is almost at the same level as Glendale (121). It is more active than Casa Grande, Litchfield Park, Fountain Hills and Apache Junction.

    September 29 – Let us take another look at the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities and see how the Cromford® Market Index has changed over the past month:

    We have 11 cities showing improved conditions for sellers and 6 deteriorating. Only Mesa and Cave Creek have deteriorated more than 2%, but this is enough to allow Avondale back into the top spot again.

    Gilbert and Maricopa are the most improved after Avondale.

    If Buckeye keeps on its current trend we will get all 17 cities in the seller’s market zone over 110.

    September 28 – I was wondering what size home had recovered pricing best compared with the peak levels of the housing boom. So using the ARMLS Sq. Ft. Ranges and selecting all closed listings in Greater Phoenix, I found the following:

    Sq. Ft. Range Peak $/SF Date of Peak Trough $/SF Date of Trough Current $/SF % of Peak
    Less Than 1,000 $170.80 Jan 2007 $52.88 Sep 2011 $136.77 80.1%
    1,000 – 1,200 $174.12 Jan 2007 $59.41 Oct 2011 $145.62 83.6%
    1,201 – 1,400 $169.58 Dec 2006 $64.28 Oct 2011 $144.13 85.0%
    1,401 – 1,600 $165.42 Aug 2006 $65.50 Nov 2011 $140.43 84.9%
    1,601 – 1,800 $166.20 Aug 2006 $69.85 Nov 2011 $140.59 84.6%
    1,801 – 2,000 $168.17 Aug 2006 $74.03 Nov 2011 $140.41 83.5%
    2,001 – 2,250 $171.63 Aug 2006 $74.45 Nov 2011 $137.79 80.3%
    2,251 – 2,500 $180.31 Jul 2006 $77.73 Oct 2011 $138.42 76.8%
    2,501 – 2,750 $189.56 Jul 2006 $84.89 Nov 2011 $141.02 74.4%
    2,751 – 3,000 $204.60 Aug 2006 $92.90 Oct 2011 $148.19 72.4%
    3,001 – 3,500 $206.27 Jun 2006 $90.33 Sep 2011 $148.21 71.9%
    3,501 – 4,000 $223.69 Sep 2006 $98.97 Mar 2011 $153.53 68.6%
    4,001 – 4,500 $237.28 Jul 2006 $108.17 Dec 2009 $166.34 70.1%
    4,501 – 5000 $276.55 May 2006 $130.96 Mar 2011 $197.60 71.5%
    5,001+ $392.30 Apr 2008 $202.51 Jul 2011 $279.18 71.2%

    The $/SF numbers are annual averages.

    The ranges 1,000 to 2,000 have recovered closest to the peak (83% to 85%) while homes over 2,750 still have a long way to go (68% to 73% of peak). Although prices did not fall as far for larger homes, they have not bounced back as much either. Though homes generally get more expensive on a $/SF basis as they get larger, the above table shows that this does not hold true under 2,500 sq. ft. at the moment.

    Two data points stand out. Homes of 4,001-4,500 sq. ft. hit bottom much earlier in 2009 than the other ranges in 2011. Homes over 5,001 sq. ft. peaked much later than other homes size in 2008 rather than 2006.

    September 27 – The new S&P/Case-Shiller® Home Price Index® report was published yesterday giving us numbers for the sales period May through July 2017. The 20 conurbations that are reported in detail are ranked below by the change in price index over the last month:

    1. Los Angeles 1.12%
    2. Boston 1.11%
    3. New York 0.82%
    4. Detroit 0.80%
    5. Las Vegas 0.78%
    6. Cleveland 0.76%
    7. Chicago 0.74%
    8. Minneapolis 0.72%
    9. Seattle 0.65%
    10. Tampa 0.63%
    11. San Diego 0.62%
    12. Charlotte 0.61%
    13. Portland 0.59%
    14. Phoenix 0.59%
    15. Miami 0.58%
    16. San Francisco 0.56%
    17. Denver 0.55%
    18. Dallas 0.37%
    19. Washington 0.35%
    20. Atlanta 0.32%

    Phoenix was in 10th place last month and has slipped to 14th this month. Not at all bubbly, I would say. Given the shortage of supply and the seller`s market in Phoenix, this percentage increase is very modest. This is even more true when we consider the national average of 0.73%. You can view the long term indexes here.

    Looking at the year over year change we see:

    1. Seattle 13.5%
    2. Portland 7.6%
    3. Las Vegas 7.4%
    4. Dallas 7.3%
    5. Detroit 7.3%
    6. Denver 7.2%
    7. San Diego 7.1%
    8. Tampa 7.0%
    9. Boston 6.8%
    10. San Francisco 6.7%
    11. Charlotte 6.4%
    12. Los Angeles 6.1%
    13. Minneapolis 5.8%
    14. Phoenix 5.6%
    15. Atlanta 5.3%
    16. Miami 5.2%
    17. New York 3.9%
    18. Cleveland 3.8%
    19. Washington 3.3%
    20. Chicago 3.3%

    Phoenix is again in 14th place, this time down from 12th place last month. In the context of the national average (5.9%), Phoenix`s 5.6% annual rise is thoroughly unexceptional.

    Among the 20 cities that Case-Shiller reports, the following 8 have exceeded their price index levels during the housing boom:

    • Atlanta
    • Boston
    • Charlotte
    • Dallas
    • Denver
    • Portland
    • San Francisco
    • Seattle

    The remaining 12 cities, including Phoenix, have yet to recover their peak price index levels from the housing boom.

    September 26 – Although sales are generally stronger in 2017 than in 2016, there are a few places where that is not true. Surprisingly those few places include Gilbert and Chandler.

    Here are the cities (with Phoenix broken into smaller regions) ranked by home sales growth (year-to-date) based on county recordings. The numbers include single family homes, condos and townhomes and are correct up to the end of August in each year:

    Rank City YTD Sales 2015 YTD Sales 2016 YTD Sales 2017 Growth 2016-2017
    1 Phoenix – Downtown 203 167 309 85.0%
    2 Waddell 218 201 265 31.8%
    3 Paradise Valley 370 350 453 29.4%
    4 Carefree 141 101 130 28.7%
    5 Wickenburg 117 119 151 26.9%
    6 Rio Verde 98 120 151 25.8%
    7 Gold Canyon 356 354 439 24.0%
    8 Youngtown 100 108 133 23.1%
    9 Coolidge 161 182 223 22.5%
    10 San Tan Valley 2246 2622 3188 21.6%
    11 Buckeye 1817 2143 2554 19.2%
    12 Maricopa 1334 1424 1661 16.6%
    13 Phoenix – West 3844 3942 4595 16.6%
    14 New River 209 144 166 15.3%
    15 Arizona City 173 207 236 14.0%
    16 Queen Creek 965 1293 1473 13.9%
    17 Glendale 3485 3511 3980 13.4%
    18 Peoria 3263 3708 4197 13.2%
    19 Apache Junction 556 581 655 12.7%
    20 Mesa 7069 8105 9098 12.3%
    21 Tempe 1810 1876 2107 12.3%
    22 Phoenix – Northeast 1148 1158 1294 11.7%
    23 Florence 474 574 636 10.8%
    24 Wittmann 69 74 82 10.8%
    25 Phoenix – Far North 1262 1448 1597 10.3%
    26 Surprise 2848 3045 3350 10.0%
    27 Sun City 1703 1793 1965 9.6%
    28 Scottsdale 6180 6415 6995 9.0%
    29 Avondale 1101 1206 1306 8.3%
    30 Casa Grande 807 845 914 8.2%
    31 Phoenix – Biltmore & Arcadia 1442 1477 1594 7.9%
    32 Cave Creek 655 669 720 7.6%
    33 Phoenix – Northwest 2685 2952 3154 6.8%
    34 Phoenix – East 682 778 830 6.7%
    35 Litchfield Park 585 600 636 6.0%
    36 Sun City West 1097 1105 1169 5.8%
    37 Phoenix – North 2586 2715 2845 4.8%
    38 El Mirage 541 487 510 4.7%
    39 Goodyear 1801 1991 2048 2.9%
    40 Phoenix – Ahwatukee 1346 1361 1385 1.8%
    41 Phoenix – Uptown 867 940 957 1.8%
    42 Fountain Hills 632 659 668 1.4%
    43 Laveen 763 879 887 0.9%
    44 Gilbert 4896 5225 5215 -0.2%
    45 Chandler 3844 4703 4659 -0.9%
    46 Anthem 363 384 379 -1.3%
    47 Sun Lakes 446 458 432 -5.7%
    48 Tolleson 553 612 568 -7.2%
    49 Eloy 116 161 148 -8.1%

    I imagine the top 10 is a surprise to many people. With all the downtown development and the fashion for urban living, Downtown Phoenix is no surprise at number 1. But Waddell, Paradise Valley, Carefree, Wickenburg, Rio Verde and Gold Canyon have not generally been regarded as hot-spots. What they do have is plenty of supply. Lack of supply is a boon for sellers but is not necessarily good for agents and brokers because poor supply can easily lead to poor sales growth.

    Who would have expected a decline in sales in Chandler or Gilbert? In the Southeast Valley, it is Queen Creek, Apache Junction, Mesa and Tempe that have been growing fastest.

    Given the large inflow of retirees, the lack of growth in Sun Lakes is a bit of surprise. New developments focused on the 55+ sector of the market have contributed to the rapid growth in places like Wickenburg, Rio Verde and San Tan Valley.

    September 25 – One simple way of measuring the level of distress in the housing market is to count the number of HUD homes sold per month. In August 2017 there were 4 such sales, the lowest we have ever seen, and implying a very low level of distress among home-owners. Of course renters may be experiencing financial distress, but we know home owners with FHA loans are doing much better than usual in avoiding losing their homes to foreclosure.

    To put the August 2017 total of 4 sales into context, remember that in August 2011 we saw 458 such sales.

    September 24 – The overall Greater Phoenix market is starting to look even more favorable to sellers than it did last month, despite a slight decline in the Cromford® Market Index. Here are the reasons we say that:

    • the listing success rate stands at 80.5%, the highest since 2005 for this time of year
    • growth in active listings is very small, and normally we see significant increases at this time of year
    • new listing counts are weakening relative to last year
    • the weekly pending listing chart has started to look stronger relative to 2016

    The average price chart has looked quite weak for the last 3 months, but that is partly a result of seasonal effects and partly because of a decline in the average home size of homes that sold. We now expect the average price chart to look stronger for the next couple of months.

    September 23 – The number of parcels in Maricopa County that are pending foreclosure just hit a new low point of 1,929. This is the smallest pre-foreclosure inventory we have ever recorded (from 2002 onwards). To put the current number in context we were at 5,880 in the last week of 2002 and 2,225 was the low point before the housing bubble burst. The high point during the foreclosure wave was 51,022.

    We read earlier this week that Ed Delgado, President and CEO of Five Star, presented at the Federation of Certified REO Experts (“FORCE”). He claimed that REOs are going to increase in 2018. He believes micro bubbles are going to burst in Denver, Dallas, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Francisco. He predicts that delinquencies will rise and foreclosures will increase. You have to feel a little sorry for REO experts since the subject matter they specialize in is getting rarer and rarer. It is not surprising that they believe REOs will rise. People tend to believe what they want to believe.

    The Cromford® Report is neutral on the REO subject. We just count them. But I would point out that a pre-requisite for REOs rising is for pre-foreclosures to rise significantly first. So if you are an REO expert (certified or not) the latest foreclosure pending numbers will be a big disappointment..

    September 22 – Here is the table showing the Cromford® Market Index for the 17 largest single-family markets by dollar volume:

    This is still looking favorable for sellers with 11 cities improving and 6 deteriorating for them.

    Avondale is staging a a recovery and threatening to take back the number 1 spot it held for so long. A recent increase in supply is threatening to unseat Mesa from its present position at the head of the table.

    Overall there is little for sellers to grumble about in this table, particularly those in the Northeast Valley. Buyers have our permission to complain, but we have little to no good news for them at the moment.

    September 21 – People often focus on monthly median sales prices but these can be very volatile from month to month, especially for small or very diverse areas. For example, the monthly median sales price for Paradise Valley single-family detached homes has varied between $1,177,500 and $1,840,000 over the past 12 months which tells us little more than what we already know – Paradise Valley is rather expensive.

    In contrast the annual median sales price is based on a much larger sample and tends to be a slow moving and reliable indicator. The same Paradise Valley has an annual median sales price that has only varied between $1,400,000 and $1,450,000 during the last 12 months and this tells us that prices are stable and changing very little.

    Let us have a look at the annual median sales prices for single-family detached homes in the cities around the valley. They are ranked by percentage change from a year ago.

    Rank City Annual Median Sales Price September 2016 Annual Median Sales Price September 2017 Change Peak 2005-2008 Current Median % of Peak
    1 Eloy $145,000 $208,000 +43.4% $210,000 99.1%
    2 Wickenburg $227,000 $257,000 +13.2% $340,500 75.5%
    3 El Mirage $155,000 $175,000 +12.9% $223,000 78.5%
    4 Arizona City $103,000 $115,000 +11.7% $160,000 71.9%
    5 Tolleson $180,000 $197,638 +9.8% $257,000 76.9%
    6 Apache Junction $169,900 $185,450 +9.2% $216,500 85.7%
    7 Sun City $165,000 $180,000 +9.1% $210,000 85.7%
    8 Waddell $263,000 $287,000 +9.1% $529,000 54.3%
    9 Maricopa $165,000 $179,900 +9.0% $258,650 69.6%
    10 Wittmann $263,250 $287,000 +9.0% $355,000 80.9%
    11 Avondale $192,000 $209,000 +8.9% $264,950 78.9%
    12 Tonopah $159,995 $174,000 +8.8% $244,000 71.3%
    13 Coolidge $113,000 $123,000 +8.8% $149,995 82.0%
    14 Laveen $195,000 $212,000 +8.7% $299,900 70.7%
    15 Sun City West $210,000 $227,500 +8.3% $262,950 86.5%
    16 Buckeye $184,896 $199,950 +8.2% $255,000 78.4%
    17 Florence $150,520 $162,500 +8.0% $203,900 79.7%
    18 Mesa $225,000 $242,500 +7.8% $249,998 95.1%
    19 Queen Creek $200,000 $214,900 +7.5% $259,900 82.7%
    20 Glendale $212,000 $227,000 +7.1% $257,000 88.3%
    21 Chandler $279,900 $299,652 +7.1% $315,000 95.1%
    22 Gilbert $277,500 $297,000 +7.0% $330,000 90.0%
    23 Sun Lakes $255,800 $272,500 +6.5% $320,000 85.2%
    24 Scottsdale $492,250 $523,825 +6.4% $640,000 81.9%
    25 Tempe $265,000 $281,000 +6.0% $295,000 95.3%
    26 Carefree $717,500 $760,000 +5.9% $975,000 78.0%
    27 Peoria $257,500 $272,500 +5.8% $286,500 95.1%
    28 Phoenix $225,000 $238,000 +5.8% $255,000 93.3%
    29 Casa Grande $159,000 $168,000 +5.7% $199,900 84.0%
    30 Surprise $215,000 $226,853 +5.5% $268,000 84.7%
    31 Youngtown $150,000 $157,500 +5.0% $193,000 81.6%
    32 Goodyear $247,000 $257,000 +4.0% $300,000 85.7%
    33 Anthem $285,000 $295,000 +3.5% $385,000 76.6%
    34 Cave Creek $426,800 $439,000 +2.9% $537,000 81.8%
    35 Litchfield Park $278,000 $285,500 +2.7% $330,000 86.5%
    36 Fountain Hills $430,000 $439,000 +2.1% $565,000 77.7%
    37 Gold Canyon $255,000 $257,000 +0.8% $312,000 82.4%
    38 New River $325,000 $325,000 +0.0% $435,000 74.7%
    39 Rio Verde $430,500 $428,750 -0.4% $759,900 56.4%
    40 Paradise Valley $1,450,000 $1,435,000 -1.0% $2,000,000 71.8%

    There are some special cases here. Eloy’s market has changed since 2006 thanks to the development of Robson Ranch, moving prices substantially higher over the past 2 years. Waddell used to be a much smaller market with just a few more expensive homes. It is going to have a very hard regaining the peak median of 2006.

    It is noticeable that some larger cities are within striking distance of their peak median. These include Tempe, Peoria, Chandler and Mesa. Phoenix is not so far behind.

    It is also noteworthy that many of the more expensive cities that did not see as large a collapse in pricing still have a long way to go to regain their peak. Examples include Paradise Valley, Rio Verde, Fountain Hills, Anthem, Carefree.

    It will probably surprise many to see that Coolidge and Apache Junction are closer to regaining their peak than Scottsdale.

    September 20 – For Pinal County, the single-family market has seen almost as big a percentage drop in supply as the Southeast Valley over the last 12 months. Active listings are down 16% and down 23% for homes priced under $250,000. The market for homes over $500,000 is tiny in Pinal County, but we have seen an 11% decline in supply from 105 to 93 in the last 12 months. Mid-range supply has been healthier moving up 5% from 391 to 409 listings.

    The overall quarterly sales rate is fairly stable, up just 4% from the same time last year. However the mid range has grown 39% while the bottom end has declined 2% and the high end has fallen14%.

    Overall appreciation is a very strong 10.5% but almost all of that is generated by the price range under $250,000.The mid range is up only 3.8% and the homes over $500,000 actually lost 0.2%.

    September 19 – In the Southeast Valley, active listing counts for single-family homes have dropped much more than the areas we discussed over the last few days. The annual change is -17% with even the highest priced range (over $500,000) down 11%. Listings under $250,000 are down a massive 40% since September 2016.

    With this loss of supply, the quarterly sales rate has struggled to rise higher than last year and we are seeing only a 0.5% increase overall. The best price range for sales growth is over $500,000 which has seen a 30% increase from 377 to 490 for the 3 month period June through August. The mid-range from $250,000 to $500,000 has performed reasonably well with a 15% increase in sales from 3,292 to 3,797. The dismal supply below $250,000 has resulted in sales collapsing by 24% from 2,494 to 1,905.

    As of September 1, 2017, there were only 22 days of inventory for homes under $250,000. As you might expect, these lower priced homes have appreciated at the fastest rate, namely 7.5% while those over $500,000 have only increased by 0.4% on a price per sq. ft. basis. The mid-range is rising more quickly at 5.6% per year.

    September 17 – In the West Valley single-family market, we have a 1.6% decline in active listing counts compared to last year. However homes under $250,000 are down 20% while homes over $500,000 are up 3% and mid-range homes between $250,000 and $500,000 are up 14%. The quarterly sales rate follows a similar pattern with homes under $250,000 down 5%, those between $250,000 and $500,000 up 26% and the big change, those over $500,000 up 53%. Mind you the market for homes over $500,000 is not huge in the West Valley. The quarterly sales count increased from 100 to 153.

    Overall appreciation based on quarterly $/SF was 8.0% and perhaps surprisingly, the highest rate was for those homes over $500,000 which increased 9.5% from $160.09 to $175.34. The lowest appreciation was for the mid-range at 4.6% while the low end under $250,000 enjoyed a 8.3% increase in average $/SF.

    September 16 – In the City of Phoenix single-family market, we are only seeing a 1% decline in active listings compared to last year. However active listings for homes under $250,000 are down 8%, while those priced over $250,000 are up 3%. It is a similar story with sales numbers. Quarterly sales for homes under $250,000 are down 4% but sales of homes over $250,000 are up 16%.

    The overall appreciation rate in Phoenix is 6.8%, with the range below $250,000 doing slightly better than average at 7.3%. Pricing per sq. ft. is up 4.3% for the mid range and up 2.1% for homes over $500,000.

    September 15 – In the Northeast Valley single-family market we are looking at 5% fewer active listings than we had this time last year. However this drop is far from evenly spread across the price ranges. Over $1 million we have a 1% increase, between $500,000 and $1 million a 4% drop and under $500,000 a significant 18% fall.

    We typically see 4 times as many sales under $500,000 as we do sales over $1 million, yet there is less than half the number of active listings below $500,000 (503) than over $1 million (1,055). Clearly the market will feel very different for buyers under $500,000 than for those with a budget over $1 million.

    The supply over $1 million has not grown because of a lack of sales. Indeed, the quarterly sales rate for June through August was up a strong 32% from 222 to 293. With its limited supply, sales activity below $500,000 was weaker than in 2016 with a 10% drop in quarterly closings from 914 down to 823. Overall we see a modest 4% increase in sales across all price ranges.

    As you might expect, appreciation is strongest for homes under $500,000 with the average $/SF moving up 5.3% from $184.08 to $193.81. For homes over $1 million the average $/SF fell 1.4% from $329.73 to $325.18. So despite the strong demand the excess supply prevented the high end of the market from enjoying the appreciation rates seen by the rest of the market.

    September 14 – The Cromford® Market Index for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities by dollar volume:

    With the exception of Fountain Hills and Paradise Valley (two of the smallest markets in this list), there has been no change greater than 4% over the last month.

    However the balance still favors sellers with 12 cities showing improving conditions for sellers and only 5 showing improvements for buyers. The Southeast Valley still looks strong with Chandler and Gilbert up 4% , but Tempe, Mesa & Queen Creek all slipped a little. Avondale has regained its footing and is now challenging Surprise for the highest ranked West Valley city.

    September 11 – For single-family homes in the mid-price range the supply situation looks like this:

    Price Range Active Sep 2015 Active Sep 2016 Active Sep 2017 2 Year Change 2015 Days of Inventory 2017 Days of Inventory
    $250K-$275K 988 1,142 1,196 +21% 87 71
    $275K-$300K 1,097 1,204 1,197 +9% 94 71
    $300K-$350K 1,680 1,758 1,716 +2% 117 83
    $350K-$400K 1,543 1,518 1,525 -1% 146 101
    $400K-$500K 1,682 1,934 1,884 +12% 155 117
    All the above 6,990 7,556 7,518 +8% 119 88

    The number of active listings is 8% higher than 2 years ago and a shade lower than in 2016, so at first sight the market looks well-supplied. However the annual sales rate has increased 46% from 21,430 to 31,248 over the last 2 years, so the extra supply is completely overwhelmed by the growth in demand in this price range. Inventory has declined from 119 to 88 days which means sellers have a strong advantage and continued appreciation is in the short-term forecast.

    September 10 – Above $500,000 the market conditions have improved for single-family homes up to $1.5 million. Above that price point the mood is rather different:. Let us take a look at supply above $500,000:

    Price Range Active Sep 2015 Active Sep 2016 Active Sep 2017 2 Year Change 2015 Days of Inventory 2017 Days of Inventory
    $500K-$600K 1,030 1,374 1,048 +2% 204 142
    $600K-$800K 1,063 1,419 1,163 +9% 232 180
    $800K-$1M 535 800 651 +22% 258 229
    $1M-$1.5M 532 751 582 +9% 301 268
    $1.5M-$2M 272 436 372 +37% 362 438
    $2M-$3M 254 369 307 +21% 475 529
    Over $3M 211 302 227 +8% 733 618
    All the above 3,89 4,396 4,350 +12% 259 211

    We have 12% more supply than 2 years ago, so there is still plenty of choice for buyers. However, the annual sales rate for homes over $500,000 has increased from 5,491 to 7,531, a rise of 37%. So here we can see that the growth in demand is much faster than the growth in supply and after a weak period since peaking in mid-summer 2015, prices in most luxury areas are starting to rise again, particularly for homes under $1.5 million. It is between $1.5 million and $3 million where the market starts to change for the worse.

    Days of inventory have increased from 409 to 475 for single-family homes priced between $1.5 million and $3 million. In this price range annual sales have risen from 547 to 596, an increase of only 11%, while supply is up from 526 to 679, a rise of 29%. Now we see a problem. When supply increases as a faster rate than demand, sellers are at a disadvantage. Pricing for homes between $1.5 million and $3 million will have a hard time making substantial upward progress until this condition changes.

    September 9 – Last year the minimum number of active listings across all areas and types but excluding UCB and CCBS was 19,186, the reading on September 1, 2016. This year the minimum reading was 17,315 which occurred on August 16. So our peak was about 10% lower than last year, but our autumn season increase started 2 weeks earlier.

    Average days on market for these active listings is currently 113, down from 120 this time last year.

    Last year we had seen 62,800 sales through ARMLS while this year to date total is 67,728, up 8.2% on 2016. This is a very healthy increase in sales volume, but the year over year comparison is weakening. Last month we had 9.2%, while July was 9.9% and June 11.1%.

    September 8 – The Cromford® Market Index peaked at 158.3 on September 1 and is now starting to slip gently backwards. The reasons are that supply is no longer in decline and demand is slowly weakening. The changes are very small and hard to detect out in the marketplace, although some areas will be affected more than others. Last year we saw the peak CMI on September 23, three weeks later than in 2017.

    September 7 – Once again we take a look at the Cromford® Market Index for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities by dollar volume:

    This paints a pretty picture for sellers with 12 cities improving and only 5 deteriorating compared with a month ago. However 6 of those 12 improvements were of only 1% and if we look at the changes over the last week, several of them have reached an inflection point and are now in decline. These include Mesa, Chandler, Surprise and Goodyear.

    We often see the market weaken during September and October as more new listings arrive ahead of the influx of snowbird buyers. However, to put things in their proper context, we remain in a seller’s market with no index below 100 and only one (Buckeye) below 110.

    September 6 – The preliminary August sales counts from the Maricopa County Recorder are now available. We see 9,899 in total, up from 9,167 in July and 9,353 in August 2016. That`s a 6% increase year over year, healthy but not as dramatic as we were seeing earlier in the year. As both August 2016 and August 2017 had 23 working days, the 6% is a fair comparison. The 8% increase over July 2017 is not so fair, since July only had 20 working days. The rate of sales per working day declined 6% between July and August, in line with normal seasonal patterns.

    The overall median sales price in August was $251,000, up 5% from $238,888 a year ago. This includes single family, townhomes and condos.

    For new homes, the sales count in August was up 15% from 2016 to 1,406. The new home median sales price was up just 1% to $319,430.

    Re-sale counts grew 4% year over year and the re-sale median sales price was up 6% to $239,000.

    Clearly new home sales are growing much faster than re-sales, though their median price is not increasing as fast. This is partly because we are seeing more new homes at the lower price points with smaller square footage.

    September 5 – Phoenix as a whole only managed to rank 27th with 5.7% in the table of appreciation rates that we created yesterday. However we can find a wide range of rates within the city of Phoenix.

    1. 85004 19.7%
    2. 85009 19.0%
    3. 85035 13.4%
    4. 84040 13.3%
    5. 85041 12.1%
    6. 85051 12.0%
    7. 85031 11.5%
    8. 85033 11.2%
    9. 85006 10.5%
    10. 85007 10.5%
    11. 85019 10.0%
    12. 85027 10.0%
    13. 85029 10.0%
    14. 85037 9.9%
    15. 85043 9.3%
    16. 85053 9.2%
    17. 85008 8.7%
    18. 85003 7.7%
    19. 85017 7.4%
    20. 85015 7.2%
    21. 85032 6.7%
    22. 85024 6.5%
    23. 85021 6.1%
    24. 85054 6.0%
    25. 85023 5.7%
    26. 85028 5.4%
    27. 85083 5.3%
    28. 85018 5.2%
    29. 85042 4.8%
    30. 85012 4.7%
    31. 85045 4.5%
    32. 85014 4.4%
    33. 85020 4.4%
    34. 85022 4.3%
    35. 85085 4.1%
    36. 85050 4.1%
    37. 85013 3.8%
    38. 85016 3.6%
    39. 85086 3.4%
    40. 85048 2.7%
    41. 85044 0.8%

    There were too few sales in 85034 to come up with a realistic appreciation rate.

    The West Phoenix, Downtown and South Phoenix areas are generally dominating the top of the table, while Ahwatukee, North and Northeast Phoenix are clustered at the bottom.

    September 4 – Appreciation has been gradually getting stronger over the past few months but it is not spread equally over the Greater Phoenix area. Here is a table ranking the cities by annual appreciation rate based on the change in the annual average $/SF between August 2016 and August 2017. The data is for single family homes only.

    1. Coolidge 14.0%
    2. El Mirage 13.9%
    3. Arizona City 12.4%
    4. Florence 10.7%
    5. Wickenburg 10.0%
    6. Avondale 9.8%
    7. Youngtown 9.7%
    8. Eloy 9.6%
    9. Sun City 8.7%
    10. Laveen 8.1%
    11. Litchfield Park 8.1%
    12. Casa Grande 8.0%
    13. Surprise 8.0%
    14. Tolleson 8.0%
    15. Apache Junction 7.9%
    16. Queen Creek 7.8%
    17. Goodyear 7.1%
    18. Glendale 6.9%
    19. Buckeye 6.8%
    20. Mesa 6.7%
    21. Sun City West 6.4%
    22. Gold Canyon 6.4%
    23. Peoria 6.2%
    24. Maricopa 6.1%
    25. Waddell 6.0%
    26. Gilbert 5.8%
    27. Phoenix 5.7%
    28. Chandler 5.5%
    29. Sun Lakes 5.4%
    30. Rio Verde 5.0%
    31. Tempe 4.8%
    32. Scottsdale 4.4%
    33. Paradise Valley 3.2%
    34. Anthem 3.0%
    35. Cave Creek 2.7%
    36. New River 2.7%
    37. Fountain Hills 0.9%
    38. Carefree 0.7%
    39. Wittmann -1.1%
    40. Tonopah -9.5%

    Pinal County and the West Valley are well represented at the top of this list. Given that Queen Creek (which includes the unincorporated San Tan Valley area) encompasses a lot of Pinal County territory, we have to get down to 20th placed Mesa before we find a city or town from some other area.

    The North Valley is dominating the bottom of the list with Anthem, Cave Creek, Carefree and New River at position 34 or lower. The Northeast Valley locations also remain near the bottom, despite significant improvement compared to this time last year.

    September 3 – It is interesting to compare days of inventory by price range and how this has changed over the last year. Here is the chart for September 2017:

    and here is what it looked like a year earlier:

    As a buyer you would like as many days of inventory as possible, to give you more choice and put sellers under pressure from their competitors. In only 2 price ranges have we seen days of inventory increase – between $25K and $50K (up 31%) and between $1.5M and $2M (up 3%). The largest drops can be seen between $50K to $75K (down 58%) and over $3M (down 35%). The latter makes a big difference to the top end of the market. It is not due to a decrease in active listings, but to a large increase in the annual sales rate.

    Significant falls in days of inventory apply all the way from $50K up to $1.5M. This is no surprise for the price ranges up to $500K, but unlike last year we are seeing major improvements between $500K and $1.5M.

    All the above are for single-family detached properties within Greater Phoenix.

    September 2 – At 7.9% the annual appreciation rate (based on monthly average $/SF) just hit the highest mark in August since June 2014. This is measured for all areas & types within the ARMLS database. The lowest point in between then and now was March 2015 with just 1.0%.

    September 1 – In August we saw the largest number of Notices of Trustee Sales since August 2016, when there were 698. The August 2017 total of 689 was up 29% from July. Mind you, 15% of that increase was due to the trustees having 15% more working days in August over July. The remaining 14% was a real increase and is the first time in several years that we have seen any negative signals from foreclosures.

    One month does not make a trend, but it does suggest we need to pay a little more than zero attention to the foreclosure notices over the next few months.

     

    © 2017 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.

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