March 2019 Phoenix Real Estate Report

phoenix real estate market updateHighlights of my March 2019 Phoenix Real Estate Market Report:

1. How fast are homes selling? Average number of days on market for homes sold is 72 (down 2 from last year)
2. How many homes are for sale? We currently have 21,869 properties for sale (up 13.2% from last year)
3. What is the average sales price? Homes across the valley are selling for $328,743 (up 6.4% from last year)

February’s supply (measured by 9,635 homes listed for sale last month) was down 3.1% from February 2018 and February’s demand (measured by 6,530 homes sold last month) was down 7.6% from February 2018. In the latest rolling 12 months, home values increased 6% and our current market absorption rate sits at 3.63 months (keep in mind, lower is better if you are selling) which is at its second-highest level in the past year and up about 75% from our 2018 summer selling season (March through August).

What is going on? Total home sales for the first two months of 2019 were 9.4% below the pace of 2018. With March, our selling season takes off and we’ll see our first significant numbers for 2019. The median sales price will continue to rise, most likely through June. Last month we discussed rising prices and affordability in our market. Now I’d like to explain the main reason home prices continue their ascent: persistent under-supply. Since the housing crisis, people have been living in their homes longer. I’ve seen reports of 10-12 years today compared to 6-7 prior to the collapse. With people living in their homes for longer periods of time and with lower new construction numbers, the number of homes for sale remains low.

According to Freddie Mac: “The United States is not building enough housing to meet demand. The current annual rate of construction is about 370,000 units below the level required by long-term housing demand. After years of low levels of building, a significant shortfall has developed, with between 0.9 and 4.0 million too few housing units to accommodate long-term housing demand. We forecast housing construction to pick up gradually. However, it will still be a year or more before the level of building matches incremental annual long-term housing demand. Until construction ramps up, housing costs will likely continue rising above income, constricting household formation and preventing homeownership for millions of potential households.”

One bright spot for our housing market comes from the 2016 government census. It shows data indicating that, in defiance of many prognostications that the US was becoming a “renter nation”, the decade-long decline in the homeownership rate abruptly reversed. The once rapid growth in renter households stalled and the long stagnant number of owner households began rising. So we have growing demand for homes, still relatively low mortgage rates, supply of new construction below historical levels and homeowners remaining up to twice as long in their current home. Translation? Highly reduced inventory of available homes to purchase and thus rising home prices – for now.

Curious about your current Phoenix home value? Ask me for your Phoenix Property Value report created especially for your home and emailed to you within 24 hours. It is filled with local market data, demographics, pricing trends, your home’s estimated value and my confidence rating.

Realistic pricing and professional photography to showcase a property are essential in maximizing value and minimizing time on market. Ask about my written guarantee to sell a home within 67 days at a price acceptable to the owner or they get $1,000 from me at closing.

Data from ARMLS® COPYRIGHT 2019.

Opendoor Reviews Offerpad Reviews

Opendoor reviews Offerpad reviewsLooking for Opendoor reviews or Offerpad reviews on Yelp? Good luck.

On February 11, 2019 Inman News reported that Yelp made finding these reviews almost impossible, by removing them from Yelp’s online search tool and from Google search results. The review pages are still accessible with direct links so consumers can still read old reviews and post new reviews – you just can’t search for the review pages any more since Yelp has stopped them from turning up in searches. When the review pages became unsearchable, Opendoor had a 3.0 star rating from over 180 reviews, while Offerpad had a 1.0 star rating from only 1 review. Interestingly, Opendoor has received financial backing from Yelp’s CEO as well as two former Yelp board members though they state the Yelp policy change has nothing to do with this relationship.

Why are reviews so important to a business? Consider when you make a small purchase decision, such as buying a new toaster or going out to eat. How often do you read reviews before making your choice? Let’s be honest, most of us hardly doing anything today with a little research first, which includes reading customer reviews and looking up star ratings. Would you buy a toaster with a rating of 3.0 stars in their reviews? Would you eat at a restaurant that only gets 3.0 stars from hundreds of patrons? And we’re talking about spending less than $100 in each of these situations. Consider then that selling a home is one of the biggest and most important financial transactions of many people’s lives. So if you won’t eat at a Chinese buffet with a questionable 3-star rating, would you sell your home with a company that gets the same rating?

Here is a link, which is also fully searchable on Google, to my rating and reviews from Zillow: Andrew Robb reviews.

First Time Home Buyer

Phoenix First Time Home BuyerLooking to buy your first home in Phoenix? There are three loan types and one down payment assistance program that may be ideal for you, depending on your situation:

1. Conventional loan is a mortgage available to buyers with as little as 3% (of property sales price) down payment. This will require mortgage insurance (in the form of a monthly premium built-in to the mortgage payment) unless the down payment is 20% or more of the sales price. Generally, mortgage insurance can later be removed by the lender once the equity in the home exceeds 22%. Borrowers will need to have a FICO credit score of at least 640 and typically the higher the credit score, the lower the insurance premium will be.

2. FHA loan is a mortgage available to buyers with as little as 3.5% (of property sales price) down payment. Mortgage insurance will also be required (in the form of a monthly premium built-in to the mortgage payment) but allows for borrowers to have a FICO as low as 580. For borrowers with a 500-579 FICO credit score, they must put down 10% of the sales price. Mortgage insurance remains for the life of the loan, so the only way to avoid paying it is to refinance out of an FHA loan into a conventional loan when possible for the borrower.

3. VA loan is a mortgage available to military (active or retired) buyers with as little as 0% (of property sales price) down payment. There is no mortgage insurance required however there is a VA funding fee of about 2.5% that is added to the loan balance at time of origination. Typically a borrower will need a FICO credit score of at least 640 to qualify, along with their military certificate of eligibility from the VA.

Arizona also offers a down payment assistance program to help first time home buyers in Phoenix. The main benefits of the Home Plus loan program are down payment assistance, closing cost assistance and reduced mortgage insurance premiums. To be eligible, buyer must occupy home as their primary residence, the home price cannot exceed the program limit, buyer must meet income and credit score requirements, and finally the buyer must also complete an educational course about borrowing and home ownership. Borrowers who qualify for Home Plus can get up to 5% of the purchase price in the form of down payment assistance. This gift is by way of a no-interest (silent) second mortgage that is 100% forgiven as long you do not sell or refinance your home for 3 years.

Questions about these loan types or down payment assistance program? I can put you in touch with a variety of reputable local Phoenix lenders to handle all your inquiries.

Oldest Home in Phoenix

Oldest Home in Phoenix
Happy 135th Birthday! If the Farmer-Goodwin property is not the oldest remaining home in Phoenix, it is certainly tied for first and features the most interesting history.

Originally built in 1883 by a saloon keeper on land he bought in 1880, it was then purchased by Hiram Farmer in 1886 for $3000 and situated on 160 acres. It served as Farmer’s home during his work as (what is now) Arizona State University’s first professor and principal.

So where does Goodwin fit in? When the railroad arrived in 1887, Farmer developed his land into one of Tempe’s early subdivisions but when he left the area in 1890, the property passed through several owners until it was acquired in 1897 by James Wilson, whose daughter Libbie married James Goodwin in 1902 and the house was deeded to her.

Goodwin was a successful Tempe rancher and businessman. He was a member of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War and served in the Arizona State Legislature from 1915 to 1918. The house continued to be owned by the Goodwin family until the death of James and Libbie’s son, Woodrow Wilson Goodwin, in 1992.

The home represents Victorian-era architecture but lacks the “gingerbread” detailing often found in Victorian-era buildings. It is a two level adobe structure, rectangular and symmetrical in floor plan, with exterior adobe walls finished in plaster and scored with lines to simulate the look of cut stone.

Inside the house has a central hall with approximately equal-sized rooms symmetrically on either side of it. The room layout is identical on the upper level and access is by a stairway in the central hall, located in the very middle of the home.

Today the mansion sits on a 25,000 sqft lot and features just over 4,000 sqft living space along with a pool and detached 2-car garage with guest casita. It resides (aptly) at 820 S Farmer Ave and is in the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Farmer-Goodwin floor plan

Real Estate Then and Now

How Technology Changed Real Estate
After 8 years as a full-time realtor, I’ve seen some changes in my career and that got me thinking about how much buying and selling a home in Phoenix has changed in the last 20 years:

– MLS (all listed homes are online in our searchable realtor database vs found in a printed book much like a telephone book)
– Docusign (approve documents with a few taps on your phone, table or laptop vs having to sign paperwork with a pen)
– Pictures (homes for sale have lots of professional photos online vs one blurry shot of home exterior taken by agent to print in book)
– Lockbox (agents obtain key at property using their phone vs driving to listing agent office for key and returning it)
– Internet (nothing could function without it today vs somehow millions of homes have been bought and sold without it)
– Zipform (documents generated and completed online vs having to press hard with a pen to be sure you could read carbon copies)
– Drone (home pictures and video taken from remote controlled aircraft vs nothing like it)
– Matterport (gives viewer 3D experience of walking through home vs nothing like it)
– Phone apps (closing cost estimator, mortgage calculator, value estimates and MLS search vs nothing like it)
– Texting (texting for property info vs calling an agent for details)
– Short sale and foreclosure (very common in 2011-2014 vs essentially non-existant)
– Mortgage interest rate (30-year fixed 7% then vs 4.75% now)

These are the big changes I could think of and I’m sure there are many other smaller ones I have omitted. As with most everything the past 20 years, technology has revolutionized how we work, play and function.



RE/MAX Renaissance Realty
9059 W Lake Pleasant Pkwy #B200
Peoria, AZ 85382