Mortgage And Real Estate News

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Phoenix-area home price changes vary greatly

Home prices continued to drop from 2010 to 2011 in all but a handful of metro Phoenix communities, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of Valley Home Values data provided by Glendale-based Information Market.

In metro Phoenix, just three communities - Carefree, Litchfield Park and Rio Verde - experienced positive growth in the median home price from Dec. 31, 2010, to Aug. 31, 2011.

Wittmann had zero growth in its median home price, and all other communities had negative growth.

Jim Sexton, owner and designated broker of Phoenix-based residential real-estate brokerage John Hall & Associates Inc., said it isn't unusual to see such wild swings in housing-market performance.

He said metro Phoenix is filled with distinct "pockets" of housing activity, some showing a healthy rebound while others continue to stagnate.

"Phoenix has always been a pocket market," Sexton said.

The biggest positive home-price growth among communities was in Carefree, in the northeast Valley. Carefree's median home price increased 9.4 percent to $625,000.

The biggest negative growth was in Tonopah, far in the West Valley, where the median home price fell 18.5 percent to $55,000.

Overall, the Phoenix area's median price fell to a 10-year low of $116,500 in September.

At the ZIP code level, the biggest positive median-price growth was in central Scottsdale's 85262, where the median increased 12.7 percent to $620,000.

The biggest negative growth was in ZIP code 85051 in northwest Phoenix, where the median fell 25.4 percent to $55,000.

The community with the highest overall median home price was Paradise Valley, with a median of about $1.1 million. Tonopah had the lowest median price ($55,000).

At the ZIP code level, the highest median home price was in Paradise Valley's 85253 ($1.1 million), followed by 85377 in Carefree ($625,000).

The ZIP code with the lowest overall median price was 85009 in west-central Phoenix ($26,000), followed by the nearby 85017, also in Phoenix ($35,000).

In terms of home-sales volume by community, Phoenix was the leader by a huge margin from January through August, with more than three times the sales volume of runner-up Mesa. Phoenix had 15,992 home sales, and Mesa had 5,058 sales. The difference was commensurate with the population gap between Phoenix, which has about 1.4 million residents, and Mesa, which has about 439,000 residents, according to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau data.

The single ZIP code with the highest sales volume was 85326 in Buckeye, which had 1,186 home sales. It was followed by 85339 in Laveen, with 1,066 sales.

On the home-foreclosure front, Tonopah fared the worst of all Phoenix-area communities, with foreclosures accounting for 53.6 percent of all home-sale transactions. Sun City West had the lowest foreclosure rate in metro Phoenix, with home foreclosures representing 4.4 percent of all sale transactions.

Sue Miller, co-owner of Phoenix-based appraisal firm Miller Pipher Inc., said the traditional laws of real estate still apply in a depressed housing market.

"It's all about location, location, location," she said.


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