Sunday, November 27, 2011

Phoenix area housing market slips a bit

This year has been one of ups and downs for metro Phoenix's housing market, but the area's existing-home median price is now exactly what it was a year ago.

The price is hovering around $115,000, according to housing-data company the Information Market. The price fell to $115,000 a year ago, and stayed there for half of 2011 before climbing and falling by a few thousand dollars each month during the summer.

The number of foreclosures, however, has clearly dropped during the past year. In October, lenders took back 2,233 homes in the Phoenix area, down from 2,687 in September, and nearly half the area's foreclosures two years ago.

Notices of trustee sales, the alerts commonly called pre-foreclosures, also dropped in October, typically a good indicator that foreclosures will continue to fall. Lenders sent notices to 4,180 borrowers last month in Maricopa County, down from 4,335 in September. By comparison, in March 2009, pre-foreclosures hit a record 10,099.

Home sales across the Phoenix area fell last month despite low mortgage interest rates. In October, there were 7,151 homes sold in the region, down from 7,673 the month before.

"There was a lot of drama and speculation about Phoenix's housing market this year," said Tom Ruff, real estate analyst with the Information Market. "People spooked the market by forecasting for the area's median to fall below $100,000, and for foreclosures to soar again. Neither happened this year."

by Catherine Reagor The Arizona Republic Nov. 25, 2011 12:00 AM

Phoenix area housing market slips a bit

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