Sunday, March 14, 2010

Northeast areas hit hard in 2009

Northeast areas hit hard in 2009

by Michael Clancy The Arizona Republic Mar. 13, 2010 12:00 AM

Things got worse in 2009 for homeowners and sellers in northeast Phoenix.

Until last year, the northeastern ZIP codes that cover the area between the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and Pinnacle Peak Road were holding up to the economic recession reasonably well.

Yes, home values were declining and foreclosures were increasing in 2008 and even 2007.

But not at the rate they were doing so last year.

Across the five ZIP codes, prices declined from 17 to 33 percent. In 2008, the declines ranged from 10 to 20 percent.

There was one area of improvement: Home sales were up throughout the area, prompted by the lower prices.

More than 2,500 home sales took place in 2009 compared with about 2,000 in 2008.

"The listings are starting to recover," said Holly Eslinger, president of the Arizona Association of Realtors. "The question is, what are they?"

Many of the sales - as many as half in ZIP code 85032 - are foreclosures, and a good number of regular resales are short sales, where lenders agree to take lesser amounts to pay off a loan.

"It is still a fairly tough market for the general seller," she said. "It is hard to compete with foreclosures and short sales."

More than 900 of northeast Phoenix's sales were foreclosures in 2009, whereas in 2008, only 346 foreclosure sales took place.

Although figures are not broken down into specific areas, preforeclosures are up so far in 2010, although foreclosures are down slightly. Depending on what happens to homeowners in preforeclosure, when they are attempting to modify their loans or make short-sale deals, foreclosures could start climbing, too, according to Arizona State University experts Jay Butler and Karl Guntermann.

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