Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Reagor: Building of homes slows a bit

Homebuilding across metro Phoenix is slowing slightly but still is up more than 50 percent from last year's sluggish pace. But some market-watchers are concerned the nascent rebound in new home construction is due solely to a decline in affordable and desirable existing homes for sale instead of an economic recovery.

In July, there were 1,062 homebuilding permits issued across the region, compared with 692 a year ago, reports the Phoenix Housing Market Letter. New-home sales climbed to 979 from 632 during July 2011.

The report's publishers, RL Brown and Greg Burger, say skeptics may not see the increase in homebuilding as a sign of the economy improving but as simply as a redistribution of the same level of homebuyer demand metro Phoenix has been experiencing during the past two years. But they disagree and believe new home sales and resales will continue to climb slowly as more regular homeowners see they can sell for a profit.

Resales in metro Phoenix this year peaked in March and have basically been slowing since then. The number of new houses built has topped 1,000 each month since March.

The housing analysts say real-estate agents are also helping the new home market.

"Today both builders and Realtors find themselves re-attracted to each other. The case for mutual benefit is easy to make with Realtors short of resale-home inventory, and builders desperate to attract buyers away from the resale projects," according to the latest Housing Market Letter.

Vacant homes

New census data show almost 18 percent of all the houses in the city of Phoenix were empty in 2011. But 13.2 percent of those are rental homes, and the rest are homes that are likely for sale.

The information comes from the federal government's one-year estimate after the 2010 American Community Survey. The report tracked a total of 601,370 housing units in Phoenix.

by Catherine Reagor - Sept. 21, 2012 The Arizona Republic | azcentral.com

Reagor: Building of homes slows a bit

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