Dr. Jay Butler of Realty Studies at Arizona State University came out with his Phoenix area residential real estate sales and median home price numbers for June 2010.

Greater Phoenix – Median Home Price

(Single-family resale homes. Excludes repossessions but includes sales by banks after they repossess. ASU calls these “Traditional Sales”)

June 2010: $143,000
June 2009: $134,000

The median home price in Marcopa County bottomed out in April 2009 at $125,000 and rose 15% to $144,000 in April and May 2010, and then faded a tad in June 2010 to $143,000.

Greater Phoenix – Number of Homes Sold

(Single-family resale homes. Excludes repossessions but includes sales by banks after they repossess. ASU calls these “Traditional Sales”)

June 2010: 6,885
June 2009: 7,760

The number of homes sold in metro Phoenix in June was down 11% from an incredibly strong June 2009.

Why the big decrease in sales from last June?

Well, last year in June sales in super cheap areas like Maryvale in Phoenix were so high they were higher than at the peak of the real estate boom in 2005 because prices were incredibly cheap. Since then the number of home sales has been much less even though sold prices in Maryvale aren’t much higher now than last year.

Nearly all the sales in June 2009 were bank-owned, previously-foreclosed homes. I guess the banks have now worked their way through the foreclosure boom in Maryvale and there are far fewer foreclosures now or, perhaps, the banks are holding on to their foreclosures now and not putting them on the market. (Anybody know the answer to that?)

Anyway, last June the cheaper areas were super cheap and homes flew off the shelf while in higher priced areas homes didn’t sell well. Now, however, prices in higher priced areas have decreased and the number of homes sold in the higher priced areas has increased.

Thus the “composition” of homes sold has changed from June 2009. Really cheap homes dominated in June 2009 but now more expensive homes are selling better and that change in composition of homes sold tends to increase the Maricopa County median home price. That change in composition tends to bring up the median home price even if home prices haven’t gone up for Maricopa County as a whole… or at all really, for medium priced and higher priced homes.

In conclusion, the number of homes sold in June 2010 in Maricopa County was very high (spurred by the end of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit) even though sales in June 2010 were significantly less than in June 2009.

BTW, July should be a cliff in the number of homes sold and I expect a big fade in the median price.

NOTE: Dr. Butler’s ASU data measures median home price. He doesn’t measure home price appreciation directly, although the median price follows appreciation very closely. Case-Shiller data, however, directly measures home price appreciation and depreciation. Dr. Guntermann at ASU uses the same technique as Case-Shiller but Dr. Guntermann breaks down the data further to look at appreciation in the major cities within metro Phoenix as well as metro Phoenix as a whole. Case-Shiller and Guntermann release their numbers 2 months after the end of a month while Butler releases his numbers 2 weeks after the end of a month.