Jay Butler of Realty Studies at ASU came out with his Phoenix area residential real estate sales and median price numbers for January 2009. Realty Studies is associated with the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus (although they are apparently going to become part of the W.P. Carey School of Business).

January is typically the slowest month of the year for home sales (closings) reflecting reduced house hunting during the December holidays. The number of sales typically, if there is such a thing anymore, start to increase in February and Phoenix home sales usually take off in March (data available in mid-April). The strength of home sales in March is a pretty good barometer of how the rest of the year will play out.

Phoenix Median Home Price – Non-Foreclosures

January 2009: $136,000
January 2008: $243,000

The median home price in Greater Phoenix therefore fell 44% in one year, according to this data.

Said another way, the median home price in Phoenix was 79% higher in January 2008, just one year ago.

The median home price in Greater Phoenix was $146,000 in December so that was a 7% decline in one month!

Phoenix Number of Homes Sold – Non-Foreclosures

January 2009: 3,590
January 2008: 2,405

The number of homes sold in January in Greater Phoenix INCREASED 49% in one year.

When the higher number of sales eventually brings down the high inventory of homes for sale to “normal” levels, the fall in the median home price should stop. I expect prices in a few zip codes in Greater Phoenix to start leveling off now. Time will tell.