We'll start with the basic ARMLS (MLS) numbers for January 1, 2017 and compared with January 1, 2016 for all areas & types in the Phoenix Metro area:
• Active Listings (including those under contract): 22,313 versus 22,883 last year – down 2.5% – and down 9.0% compared with 24,514 last month
• Under Contract Listings: 7,801 versus 7,675 last year – up 1.6% – but down 16.7% from 9,368 last month
• Monthly Sales: 7,183 versus 6,770 last year – up 6.1% – and up 4.0% from 6,906 last month
• Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $144.77 versus $138.07 last year – up 4.9% – and up 0.2% from $144.55 last month
• Monthly Median Sales Price: $225,000 versus $217,000 last year – up 3.7% – but unchanged from $225,000 last month
As suggested they might last month, sales volumes in December were back to a normal comparison with a year earlier. In fact 6.1% annual growth is slightly less than we saw for most of 2016. The increased interest rates may have taken just a little wind out of the sails.
However the large increase in loan approval rates more than compensates for the reduced affordability.
The 1.6% increase in under contract listings compared with a year ago suggests that we still have a decent level of demand and the active listing counts above mean that those looking for homes have relatively slim pickings to choose from right now. No doubt buyers are hoping for a deluge of new listings arriving over the next 3 months. We will need to wait to see if sellers are willing to oblige.
The mid-range price point from $250,000 to $400,000 is where we see the greatest disparity between supply and demand at this point. Supply is not weak in this price range, but demand has grown a lot since this time last year, roughly 25%, and if it continues there should be no difficulty or delays for sellers who price their homes right.
At the higher price ranges, the market is somewhat stronger than it was last year in January, but demand varies greatly depending on location and the style of the homes. Locations within close reach of downtown facilities are in strong demand and modern contemporary styles are very popular at the moment. Distant spots with mountain and golf course views are suffering from reduced enthusiasm. We can attribute some of this to the lack of Canadian buyers, who have been conspicuous by their absence since mid 2015. The stronger dollar has kept most foreign buyers away and made sellers of many foreign residents who already own property here.
In summary, the market is looking very healthy and favoring sellers over buyers in most segments.