Saturday, September 25, 2010

Phoenix-area home-price forecast mixed

Home prices in the Phoenix area could hold steady and even tick up slightly during September, according to the latest research from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.

The group's pending-price index shows the region's median home-sale price this month will be $120,000, compared with $119,000 in August. Then, prices could tick up to $126,000 in October, only to fall back to $120,000 in November and drop to $110,000 in December.

But ARMLS pending-sales price predictions for November and December are the most likely to change because of new sales expected to close during those months that haven't been negotiated yet.

The group's home-sales database, set up for the state's real-estate industry, began tracking home prices in pending-sales agreements earlier this year. If metropolitan Phoenix home prices fall below $119,000, it will be a new post-boom low for the housing market.

Metro Phoenix home sales climbed 3.6 percent, to 7,358, in August and pending sales for September show another slight increase.

Home permits flat

New-home construction across metro Phoenix also was flat in August, according to the "Phoenix Housing Market Letter." There were 504 single-family permits issued, compared with 548 in July. The August figure doesn't include Buckeye's permits because those data weren't available yet.

Valley home construction for the year peaked in March, when 908 permits were issued as homebuilders rushed to complete houses for buyers trying to tap the federal homebuyer tax credit before it expired June 30.

"Phoenix Housing Market" publishers RL Brown and Greg Burger don't expect a significant increase in homebuilding for at least the next year.

Mortgage-fraud funds

Arizona is receiving $1.7 million to help prosecutors fight mortgage fraud. The money will go to creating a six-person division in the Arizona Attorney General's Office that will exclusively investigate mortgage-related crimes. The U.S. Office of Justice Programs awarded the funds.

Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said the new unit will go after more mortgage "rescue" firms that take advantage of people struggling to keep their homes. The new division should be operational in three months.

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic September 22, 2010

Phoenix-area home-price forecast mixed

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