Phoenix-area January home sales rose to the highest level for that month in five years as several price measures trended higher again on a year-over-year basis, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records. A total of 7,123 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow during January in the combined Maricopa-Pinal counties metro area. That was down 17.9 percent from the month before but up 3.2 percent from a year earlier. It’s normal for sales to drop between December and January, with that decline averaging 21.7 percent since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Phoenix region statistics begin.
Total January home sales fell 3.1 percent short of the average number sold in January since 1994, but that was only because new-home sales remained very low. Resale volume in January was 17.5 percent higher than the January average, and it was the highest for that month since January 2006. January sales of newly built homes rose 31.3 percent year-over-year, to the highest level for a January since 2009. But this January’s new-home sales were still 66 percent below average for the month.
January 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 7.3 percent from a year earlier, while sales between $100,000 and $200,000 increased 3.3 percent. Deals in the $200,000 to $600,000 range rose nine percent from a year earlier, while above $800,000 sales increased 3.6 percent.
The median price paid in January for all new and resale houses and condos sold in the Phoenix region was $127,500. That was down 1.2 percent from the month before but up 7.1 percent from a year earlier. January marked the second month in a row in which the overall median sale price rose year-over-year. In December 2011, the Phoenix area’s median posted a 7.5 annual gain.
January’s median was 51.7 percent below the all-time peak of $264,100 in June 2006, but it was 7.7 percent above the median’s post-peak trough of $118,347 last August.
The median price paid for resale single-family detached houses in January rose to $125,900, up 0.7 percent from the prior month and up 5.0 percent from a year earlier, marking the second consecutive month to post a year-over-year gain (the December 2011 resale house median rose 4.2 percent from a year earlier). The $78,500 median resale price for condos in January dipped slightly month-to-month, but rose nine percent from a year earlier–the third 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 January to $71–the highest since August 2010. January’s figure was up from $70 the month before and up 9.2 percent year-over-year, marking the second consecutive month to post an annual gain, and the third consecutive month without an annual decline. The January figure stood 58.5 percent below the $171 peak median price paid per square foot in May and June of 2006.
At the county level in January, the median price paid per square foot for resale single-family detached houses in Maricopa County rose to $74, up 1.4 percent from the prior month and up 8.6 percent from a year earlier. It was the second consecutive month with a year-over-year gain. The Pinal County median paid per square foot rose to $51 in January, up two percent from the prior month and up 13.7 percent from a year earlier, marking the fourth consecutive month to post a year-over-year gain.
Other Phoenix region January highlights:
►Buyers paying cash represented 45.6 percent of all January sales, up from 41 percent the month before and down from 46 percent a year earlier. The record for cash buying was 48 percent in February 2011. January’s cash buyers paid a median $97,700, up from $94,900 the month before and up 10 percent from $88,854 a year earlier.
►Distressed property sales dropped to 52.1 percent of all January resale activity–the lowest level for any month since the figure was 48.2 percent in June 2008. Distressed sales are made up of sales of foreclosed properties, as well as short sales.
►Foreclosure resales, defined as homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, fell to 36.3 percent of January resales–the lowest level since May 2008. January’s figure was down from 37.7 percent the month before and 54.5 percent a year earlier. The peak level for foreclosure resales was 66.2 percent in March 2009.
►Short sales represented an estimated 15.8 percent of January’s resale activity, down from 17.2 percent the prior month but up from an estimated 12.9 percent a year ago.
►Lenders foreclosed on 2,939 Phoenix-area homes in January, down 9.2 percent from the month before and down 41.3 percent from a year earlier.