(“MLS Listings” are measured at one point in time, usually the 15th day of the current month. “Median Price” of homes sold and the total number of home “MLS Sales” are for the entire preceding month.)
Price (green line)
After its surprise jump from $118,000 in April to $135,500 in September, the median price in metro Phoenix for single family detached homes sold via the MLS was $134,900 in December.
The fact that the median single family home price was essentially flat in December was a sign of strength in the residential resale housing market. The median home price often falls in December.
Sales (blue line)
The number of single family homes sold increased in December. That surprised me.
After the strong sales in October and November caused by the expected end to the first-time homebuyers’ $8,000 tax credit (the program was subsequently extended and expanded), I thought sales would fall in December.
Phoenix area home sales in December 2009 were 32% higher than in December 2008. December 2009 single family home sales were more than double December 2007 single family home sales.
Listings (red line)
Single family detached homes listed for sale on January 15 were down 29% compared to a year earlier.
The inventory of single family homes listed for sale in December was in the normal range with the equivalent of a 5-month supply of homes for sale.
A year ago, in December 2008, we had an 9-month inventory. The inventory peaked at over 17 months in November 2007.
This autumn, the months supply of homes available for sale is similar to what we saw in the autumns of 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. That is, we had a pretty normal supply of homes for sale.
Be aware that the supply situation varies tremendously within metro Phoenix depending on the geographic location and the price range of the homes you’re looking at.
It’s been a pretty strong autumn for home sales and median home prices for the Phoenix area MLS.
The strong autumn suggests a strong high season, February-May.
However, if the Fed stops buying mortgage backed securities as planned, mortgage interest rates could increase which would, of course, put downward pressure on home sales and home prices.
Another downside risk is the huge overhang of homes in the foreclosure process in Maricopa County. If the banks release more foreclosed homes onto the real estate market, that would, of course, put downward pressure on home prices as well.