AgentMarkets & Economy

What’s up with the Arizona housing market?

The supply and demand in Phoenix and other cities
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We might have the jobs back in Arizona and that should help the housing market — especially affordable housing, but what is of concern is the current supply-demand trend in the mid-to-upper ranges.

Our problem right now is specific — it’s people with money not buying. And actually that’s not quite right. Because there are definitely sales and depending on the market segment, sales are similar to and maybe a little better or a little worse than last year at this time, depending on where you look.

The issue, most succinctly, is that high-end listings have outpaced sales by three to five new listings for every one sale here in the Phoenix market. That’s the problem. The imbalance in supply versus demand.

I don’t know if this is a national problem or more local. I know the Seattle, San Francisco and New York City market, for example, are still on fire — but then again, look at the employment picture — they have all those high paying jobs.

We’re getting some of that, but I don’t think we’re in the same league in terms of high paying job growth. I would love to be wrong about this.

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But then we look pretty good compared to the oil-producing states such as Texas whose fortune are on the wane with the crash in oil prices. So, as per usual, it depends on where you look and what you’re looking at — price point.

My concern is the worldwide economic slowdown. The drop in commodity prices and something I have not seen in my lifetime — deflation, and not just oil.

The faltering world economy and the systemic issues around global markets and whether or not, or at what point it really hits our stock market and causes the major correction many think is imminent — these are the kinds of thoughts that I think people with money might have.

Cromford daily observation

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index report has been published for January. This covers sales that closed between November 2015 and January 2016. Ranking the 20 cities reported by their month to month price changes we see the following:

  1. Los Angeles 0.53 percent
  2. San Diego 0.42 percent
  3. Portland 0.42 percent
  4. Miami 0.38 percent
  5. Las Vegas 0.28 percent
  6. Tampa 0.24 percent
  7. Denver 0.22 percent
  8. Seattle 0.19 percent
  9. Detroit 0.11 percent
  10. Dallas 0.11 percent
  11. Cleveland 0.08 percent
  12. Atlanta 0.00 percent
  13. Charlotte -0.05 percent
  14. Washington -0.10 percent
  15. Phoenix -0.20 percent
  16. New York -0.27 percent
  17. Chicago -0.38 percent
  18. Boston -0.39 percent
  19. Minneapolis -0.50 percent
  20. San Francisco -0.69 percent

At 15th place, Phoenix has dropped dramatically from last month when it was third. We are a little puzzled why this would happen as we are not seeing the same price trend that Case-Shiller is reporting.

Our average price per square foot for Oct. 2015 to Dec. 2015 was $136.13 for all areas and types while the same number for Nov. 2015 to Jan. 2016 was $137.70. This is a month to month increase of 1.2 percent, which would put us on top of the table above.

If we restrict our analysis to Greater Phoenix, the increase is still 1.2 percent using ARMLS closed sales.

Looking at all the recorded sales across Pinal and Maricopa County we get an average price per square foot of $134.24 for the fourth quarter of 2015 moving to $135.58 for November through January 2016, an increase of 1.0 percent.

So the latest Case-Shiller number for Phoenix looks a little suspect.

The annual change table is as follows:

  1. Portland 11.8 percent
  2. Seattle 10.7 percent
  3. San Francisco 10.5 percent
  4. Denver 10.2 percent
  5. Dallas 9.2 percent
  6. Tampa 7.4 percent
  7. Detroit 7.1 percent
  8. San Diego 6.9 percent
  9. Miami 6.8 percent
  10. Los Angeles 7.0 percent
  11. Phoenix 6.1 percent
  12. Las Vegas 6.0 percent
  13. Atlanta 5.7 percent
  14. Charlotte 4.9 percent
  15. Minneapolis 4.5 percent
  16. Boston 3.6 percent
  17. Cleveland 2.9 percent
  18. New York 2.8 percent
  19. Washington 2.2 percent
  20. Chicago 2.1 percent

The national increase was 5.4 percent, so Phoenix remains modestly ahead of that and still in the middle of the pack. Washington has been going backward since July; Chicago and Boston have been going backward since August and New York since September.

Chicago appears to be the weakest of the major markets covered by Case-Shiller while the Pacific Northwest (Portland and Seattle) are the strongest.

It’s the continuing story of a trifurcated market — hot low end; simmering low to mid-range; and soft upper-mid to high-end market with supply continuing to increase relative to demand.

That’s the story in a nutshell.

I always have to add the caveat that no small part of what you bring to the table is your ability to parse the sub-market interests of your buyers and sellers.

Frank Aazami is a real estate agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty. Follow him on Twitter

Email Frank Aazami.