Dr. Jay Butler, the head of the Arizona Real Estate Center at ASU, made a presentation yesterday at the Industry Partners Conference, an annual meeting of real estate industry folks – agents, escrow officers, mortgage brokers and many others.

Looking at listings for sale as a percentage of the total number of homes in the Valley (the housing stock), Dr. Butler said the normal number of listings today would be 32,000 to 35,000. I found the actual number this morning to be 41,014 (all home types) in Maricopa county. So, listings are high right now… but not super high.

Another gem from Dr. Butler was that the median annual appreciation in Maricopa County from 1981 to 2002 was 4.4%.

This is the actual “appreciation”, not the change in “median home price.” The graphs and tables below use median home price which is widely used as a proxy (approximation) for appreciation. The change in median home price is not the actual appreciation, however.

To calculate appreciation you have to look at how much individual homes increase in price between sales. It’s difficult to calculate.

It’s better to know appreciation rather than median home price. Median home price, however, makes a good proxy for appreciation and median home price is readily available.

The time range used, 1981 to 2002, includes the savings and loan debacle of the early 1990’s so the 4.4% estimate is not biased on the up side.