Hello Family and Friends,
As we begin 2018, I’d like to update you on the trends we saw throughout 2017, explain statistics collected by the Arizona MLS, and give insight into what we can expect in the upcoming months. The Arizona housing market in 2017 was strong and steady, 2018 looks to be even better! Our housing trends are best described in three groups. For homes at the low price point, $200,000 or less, the market was favorable for sellers which resulted in higher sales price and fewer days on market. With the higher priced homes, $800,000 and above, it was a buyer’s market. Homes in this group spent longer time on the market and buyers were able to negotiate more in their favor. The middle-price point homes were a combination of both a sellers’ and buyers’ market depending on the price and condition of the home. The 2017 housing market in this price range was definitely a push-pull market with sellers trying to push the sales prices higher and buyers better educated on home values trying to pull down prices. It was an active housing market! In fact, by the end of June we were experiencing the third highest sales volume in the 17 years that the ARMLS STATs group have been reporting sales numbers.
In 2017, there were 113,367 homes sold in Maricopa Country. This is a 7% increase from 2016. Two noticeable changes took place with conventional and FHA loans. The 2017 ARMLS Statistics Report outlines that “there were 8,819 more conventional loans and 3,283 fewer FHA loans made in 2017 compared to 2016. Cash buyers accounted for 21.8% of all purchases in 2017 compared to 21.9% in 2016. Translation: the same percentage of buyers are financing their purchases as in 2016. Of those financing their home purchases, a greater percentage of homebuyers chose conventional financing over FHA.” One possible explanation is that buyers using conventional financing with low down payments and having to pay the required mortgage insurance can have that mortgage insurance removed after reaching 20% equity in the home. FHA financing does not offer this option.
After a year of lower interest rates we are now seeing the Federal Reserve pushing up the rates. Recently our buyers have received quotes on mortgage rates up to 4.625% .
Foreclosure numbers are not talked about as much as they used to be, however they are still just as important. There were 25.6% fewer foreclosures in Maricopa County in 2017 than in 2016.
There are a couple reasons for this. “First, buyers are more qualified and putting large amounts down on their purchases in 2017. Second, last year we saw 8% overall appreciation rates from December 2017 to December 2016. And lastly because banks are following consistent and well based loan standards. The pool of bad loans during the bubble will eventually dry up, however, the lingering effects are still present.” (2017 ARMLS Statistics Report)
Our market has followed a similar, positive trend for about the last 4 years. We continue to see declines in foreclosures and increasing average home price. The sale of newly built homes increased 14.4% from December 2016 to December 2017. According to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz, “As the overall economy strengthens, owner-occupied household formation increases, and the supply of existing home inventory tightens, we can expect the single-family housing market to make further gains this year.”
The average sales price increased 9.5% from 2016 to 2017 .
2018 – The Year Ahead
In 2018, we will see that low inventory numbers will lead to higher prices. Higher prices partnered with rising interest rates will even out demand and bring a comparable or lower sales volume number than in 2017. We can also expect homes buyers to become continuously better qualified. Personally I believe if interest rates continue to go up this will compromise the purchasing power of the buyers and will affect the average sales price in 2018.
One thing is certain in our world – people will make life changes and will need to buy or sell homes. Give me a call at (602) 618-6764 if you are contemplating a change and need real assistance this coming year.
Your Real Estate Broker,