How’s The Market?

Are you trying to understand how the real estate market is doing in your area but don’t know where to begin?

If you are like most people then you are probably hearing mixed information reported from a variety of media outlets, real estate institutions and companies, and various other economic think tanks. This unfortunately creates confusion and causes most people interested in real estate (as a buyer, seller, or investor) to make inaccurate judgments and conclusions about the market.

Think about it, with all this mixed information on whether we are in a good, bad, or flat market, who’s information is the “correct” answer? Also, who is the information you are reading in reference to? A great market for a buyer may be a bad one for a seller while a bad market for a seller may be a great one for a investor/buyer.

The point is, depending on what kind of real estate consumer you are (buyer, seller, investor) then the information you take in needs to be interpreted in light of your objectives. At any given time the market is always “Good”, “Bad”, “Flat”, or “Great”…but that depends on what you are looking to specifically do with real estate.

We can provide you with the proper information to accurately answer “How’s the market?” for you, based entirely on what you are looking to do with real estate.

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The Cromford Report

February 13 – January 2018 was a particularly strong month for second-home purchases in Maricopa County. We saw 15.1% of sales classified in their Affidavit of Value as owner-occupied but not primary residences. This is the highest percentage we have recorded since March 2014 and it is up from 12.2% in January 2017. After a distinct lull between 2013 and 2017, second home purchases appear to back on an up-trend.

With investor purchase high and second-homes also high, January was a very weak month for the dominant sector – owner-occupied primary residences. These came in at just 70.0% of transactions, down from 73.9% in January 2017, 74.2% in January 2016 and the weakest percentage since January 2015.

February 12 – Just as we observed yesterday that cash sales were strong last month, purchases by investors were also hitting a high point.

The percentage of single-family homes in Maricopa County that were purchased by investors jumped to 13.2%. This is the highest reading we have seen since February 2016 and is up from 12.3% in January 2017.

The investor percentage for townhouse / condo properties is almost always much higher than for single-family homes. The percentage on January 2018 was 24.1%, the highest reading since October 2016 and up from 23.1% in January 2017.

There was a significant jump in the percentage of new homes purchased for investment in January 2018. This was 4.7% of new homes in Maricopa County which is the highest we have seen since June 2013.

We also note that the percentage of Maricopa County sales that were attached homes increased to 17.8%. This is the highest reading since January 2015. It has not been true every month, but the market share for attached homes has been on an increasing trend in Maricopa County since April 2017. Pinal County is still dominated by single-family homes and mobile homes with relatively few townhouse or condo sales. However, these have begun to grow from a very small base as Active Adult communities in Pinal have added a few attached homes to their product mix..

February 11 – The percentage of homes purchased with all-cash in Maricopa County was on a downward trend between February 2011 and July 2016. Since then the trend has reversed and the percentage has been gradually increasing. We suspect this is due to the increased market share by fix and flip investors and the introduction of the i-Buyers, Opendoor and OfferPad. Most flip transactions will have their first stage financed by cash. We also see cash used in many of the highest value luxury purchases as the very wealthy see no need to go through the hassle of applying for a home loan.

You can see the percentage of homes purchased with cash in this chart.

There is a seasonal tend with January and February usually being strong months for cash purchases and July and August being relative weak (i.e. strong for financed purchases).

The percentage of homes purchased with all-cash in January 2018 was 25.3%, our highest observed reading since February 2015 and up from 23.4% in January last year.

Thanks to the strong contribution from the high-end of the luxury market, the percentage of dollars from all-cash transactions was even higher at 26.7%, up from 25.5% a year ago.

February 10 – The annual sales rate is no longer growing and has reached a plateau at just over 96,000 for all areas & types. Single-family sales are declining in the following areas, in most cases due to inadequate supply of affordable homes:

  • Anthem (peaked May 2017)
  • Apache Junction (peaked January 2018)
  • Arizona City (peaked November 2017)
  • Avondale (peaked May 2017)
  • Casa Grande (peaked June 2017)
  • Cave Creek (peaked August 2017)
  • Chandler (peaked April 2017)
  • Gilbert (peaked February 2017)
  • Glendale (peaked August 2017)
  • Goodyear (peaked April 2017)
  • Laveen (peaked July 2017)
  • Maricopa (peaked January 2018)
  • Mesa (peaked October 2017)
  • Sun City (peaked December 2017)
  • Sun City West (peaked August 2017)
  • Sun Lakes (peaked May 2017)
  • Tempe (peaked December 2017)
  • Tolleson (peaked July 2017)

Some of these declines are very gentle, others more severe.

New highs for the annual sales rate are still being set in the following areas:

  • Buckeye
  • El Mirage
  • Fountain Hills
  • Gold Canyon
  • Litchfield Park
  • Paradise Valley
  • Peoria
  • Phoenix
  • Queen Creek
  • Scottsdale
  • Surprise

February 9 – Here is the table showing the Cromford® Market Index values for the single-family markets in the largest 17 cities:

We have 11 cities showing improvement for sellers over the last month and 6 showing deterioration.

3 cities show significant deterioration – Maricopa, Fountain Hills and Cave Creek, all 3 at the bottom of the table. In Fountain Hills, the supply index increased at the same time as the demand index fell, which is never a popular combination with sellers. It was a similar story in Cave Creek and Maricopa. Goodyear too went backwards, but the here the fall in the demand index was less significant and the main reason for the lower market index was an increase in the supply index.

Tempe was the outstanding city for sellers this week with demand almost flat but a large decrease in the supply index. The current supply index level (52.3) is the lowest we have recorded for Tempe since June 2005. It is a tough spot for buyers right now.

The other Southeast Valley cities also improved, though not as dramatically. Chandler`s supply index remains very low at 41.8 while the demand index increased to 96.2, its highest level since last September. It remains comfortably at the top of the table, although its CMI has not changed very much over the last 2 weeks.

Paradise Valley improved by 9% despite an increase in its supply index. This is because its demand index has jumped to 129.3, second only to Buckeye at 132.0. Demand in Buckeye remains very strong, but it is balanced by a supply index that is the only one we see above 100 at the moment. Scottsdale also has a relatively strong demand index, but went backwards over the past month because of increasing supply.

February 6 – Here is how the townhouse / condo annual average $/SF has changed over the past 12 months:

  1. Queen Creek +60.5%
  2. Paradise Valley +56.4%
  3. Wickenburg +33.5%
  4. Casa Grande +23.4%
  5. Arizona City +22.6%
  6. Litchfield Park +15.9%
  7. Sun City +13.7%
  8. Phoenix 12.8%
  9. Avondale +12.2%
  10. Anthem +11.6%
  11. Surprise +11.4%
  12. Mesa +11.3%
  13. Gilbert +9.7%
  14. Glendale +9.5%
  15. Apache Junction +9.3%
  16. Fountain Hills +9.2%
  17. Peoria +8.6%
  18. Chandler +8.5%
  19. Buckeye +8.3%
  20. Scottsdale +8.1%
  21. Eloy +7.8%
  22. Tempe +7.1%
  23. Florence +7.0%
  24. Maricopa +7.0%
  25. Sun City West +6.0%
  26. Cave Creek +5.2%
  27. Goodyear +5.1%
  28. Gold Canyon -0.7%
  29. Sun lakes -1.8%
  30. Carefree -2.0%
  31. Rio Verde -2.0%
  32. Youngtown -3.0%

The top two cities were favorably influenced by new builds that were not marketed until 2017. The overall appreciation for attached homes has been stronger than for detached single family homes.

February 4 – We have seen a very strong upward movement in average price per square foot for closed listings over the last 3 months, even though median prices have not followed through to the same extent.

Here is how the single-family annual average $/SF has changed over the past 12 months:

  1. Coolidge +20.7%
  2. Arizona City +14.8%
  3. Wickenburg +13.7%
  4. El Mirage +12.7%
  5. Apache Junction +10.4%
  6. Avondale +9.3%
  7. Sun City +9.3%
  8. Queen Creek +8.3%
  9. Florence +8.1%
  10. Youngtown +8.0%
  11. Surprise +7.9%
  12. Casa Grande +7.8%
  13. Sun Lakes +7.8%
  14. Wittmann +7.7%
  15. Maricopa +7.5%
  16. Desert Hills +7.4%
  17. Mesa +7.3%
  18. Litchfield Park 7.3%
  19. Tolleson +7.1%
  20. Peoria +6.9%
  21. Glendale +6.8%
  22. Buckeye +6.8%
  23. Eloy +6.7%
  24. Laveen +6.2%
  25. Goodyear +5.9%
  26. Rio Verde +5.9%
  27. Phoenix +5.4%
  28. Gilbert +5.2%
  29. Chandler +5.1%
  30. Tempe +4.7%
  31. Anthem +4.2%
  32. Scottsdale +4.2%
  33. Sun City West +3.9%
  34. Cave Creek +3.5%
  35. New River +3.0%
  36. Waddell +2.7%
  37. Fountain Hills +1.4%
  38. Gold Canyon +1.1%
  39. Paradise Valley -0.2%
  40. Carefree -1.6%
  41. Tonopah -2.8%

Pinal County and the Northwest Valley look particularly strong in this list, while the North and Northeast look relatively weak.

You will generally find the most affordable areas at the top of the list and the least affordable towards the bottom.

February 3 – Here are a few observations on the rental market based on the ARMLS database.

  • new rental listings are being added at a rate which is roughly 15% lower than in 2017.
  • we have seen 2,838 new listings in 2018 so far, compared with 3,298 in 2017 at the same point
  • we have 2,431 active rental listings, down from 2,726 in 2017, 2,485 in 2016, 3,712 in 2015, 5,188 in 2014 and 7,339 in 2013
  • the average asking price for active rentals is $2,021, up from $1,980 in 2017, $1,931 in 2016, $1,709 in 2015 and $1,454 in 2014
  • the latest monthly average lease rate is 87.2 cents per sq. ft., up from 84.5 cents last year, an annual increase of 3.2%
  • the average rent agreed is $1,512 per month, up from $1,465 last year, $1,405 in 2016, $1,296 in 2015, $1,251 in 2014 and $1,235 in 2013
  • the average rent agreed is 99.46% of the rent asked, little changed from 99.50% last year

A new record high rent of $28,000 per month was recorded as signed in January for a 12,547 sq. ft. home on 46th Street in Paradise Valley.

February 2 – The table below compares active single-family listings (excluding UCB and CCBS) for Feb 1, 2018 with Feb 1, 2017

Price Range Active Feb 2017 Active Feb 2018 Change
Under $100K
Over $3M

There were only 3 price ranges that increased over last year – those between $1M and $2M and over $3M.

Of course the largest declines were at the low end below $200,000 where a long term extinction event appears to be developing. However supply dropped significantly for the lower end of the luxury sector between $500K and $1M too.

February 1 – Let us take another look at the Cromford® Market Index for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities:

This is not quite a positive for sellers as in January with 5 cities showing some deterioration, although Avondale’s is very small. All cities remain above 120 and firmly in the seller`s market zone.

The Southeast Valley cities are consolidating their dominant position at the top of the table. A huge 25% increase for Tempe has allowed it to join with Mesa, Gilbert and Chandler. All are suffering from extreme shortages of affordable supply. Queen Creek seems to be in something of a hurry to join them.

Paradise Valley and Glendale also improved significantly for sellers over the last month.

January 31 – We now have an agent production table for 2018 year to date. It can be found here.

Congratulations to Robert Joffe – current dollar volume leader with $16,964.500 from 9 sides.

Also congratulations to Dan Noma, current transaction leader with 37 sides for $8,471,455.

Jeff Sibbach (22 sides) and Deborah Beardsley ($11,350,000) are in the runner-up positions at this early stage.

January 30 – The latest S&P / Case-Shiller® Home Price Index® numbers were released today. These include sales recorded between September and November 2017.

The month to month changes are as follows:

  1. San Francisco +1.40%
  2. Tampa +0.99%
  3. Las Vegas +0.71%
  4. Los Angeles +0.66%
  5. Denver +0.35%
  6. Seattle +0.18%
  7. New York +0.16%
  8. Miami +0.15%
  9. Washington +0.15%
  10. Dallas +0.12%
  11. Atlanta +0.05%
  12. Portland +0.00%
  13. Phoenix -0.06%
  14. Minneapolis -0.07%
  15. Boston -0.08%
  16. Detroit -0.26%
  17. Charlotte -0.30%
  18. San Diego -0.32%
  19. Chicago -0.42%
  20. Cleveland -0.45%

8 out of 20 cities declined from the August through October 2017 reading. Phoenix was one of those 8 but had the smallest decline. This should not be too much of a surprise since we have seen a similar decline in 4 out of the last 5 years. It is a seasonal effect.

The national index increased 0.24%. Only 5 of the 20 cities above did better than the national index, but San Francisco saw a very strong increase of 1.4% in a single month.

Year over year the changes were as follows:

  1. Seattle +12.70%
  2. Las Vegas +10.58%
  3. San Francisco +9.09%
  4. San Diego +7.42%
  5. Tampa +7.07%
  6. Dallas +7.04%
  7. Los Angeles +7.03%
  8. Denver +6.96%
  9. Detroit +6.95%
  10. Portland +6.93%
  11. Boston +6.27%
  12. Charlotte +5.81%
  13. New York +5.72%
  14. Phoenix +5.56%
  15. Minneapolis 5.40%
  16. Atlanta +5.20%
  17. Cleveland +4.11%
  18. Miami +4.08%
  19. Chicago +3.59%
  20. Washington +3.30%

Las Vegas has accelerated in the last year and is now approaching the point where its index may overtake Phoenix. This was last the case in May 2009.

The national index increased 6.21%, so Phoenix fell slightly below that measurement.

We saw significant increases in the average $/SF during December and January, so anticipate a rather stronger performance from Phoenix when the next Case-Shiller numbers are released.

January 29 – We are now ready to publish the top 10 brokers of 2017 for the Greater Phoenix area, based on dollar volumes. They are:

  1. Trudy Moore – Homesmart – $4,228,555,613
  2. James Sexton – Realty ONE Group – $3,221,208,166
  3. Dale Hillard – West USA Realty – $2,140,449,668
  4. Deems Dickinson – Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty – $2,080,129,311
  5. Gerry Russell – Realty Executives – $1,582,959,964
  6. Martha Appel – Coldwell Banker – $1,443,263,018
  7. Jereme Kleven – My Home Group – $1,258,531,285
  8. Angela Fazio – West USA Realty Revelation – $1,168,493,262
  9. Charles McLean – Berkshire Hathaway – $1,157,944,006
  10. Sandy Karpen – RE/MAX Fine Properties – $655,477,321

January 28 – The first release of the Agent Production Tableau chart is now available here.

This table chart allows you to see the production for each agent that had at least 1 transaction in 2017. We measure dollar volume and transaction sides.

The columns can be sorted as required.

You can filter by County, City and ZIP Code

You can also filter to exclude home builders and iBuyers if you wish.

For example, using the filters we were able to see that in 2017:

  • Top agents in Pinal County were Robin Rotella (highest dollar volume) and Joyce Thomas (highest number of sides)
  • Top agent in Fountain Hills was Susan Pellegrini
  • Top agent in Scottsdale was Jeff Sibbach
  • Top agent in Paradise Valley was Walter Danley, followed by Chris Karas
  • Top agent in Phoenix was Robert Joffe followed by Bobby Lieb (based on dollar volumes)
  • Top agent in Ahwatukee was Bonny Holland
  • Top agent in Anthem was Christopher Prickett
  • Top agent in Buckeye was Kathy Anderson

I hope you find this table useful and interesting. If you have any comments or requests, please email

We hope to publish a similar table for 2018 and keep that updated as the year progresses.

It is satisfying to note that a high percentage of the top agents are subscribers to the Cromford® Report. Thanks!

Modesty prevents Tina and me from claiming any cause and effect relationship.

January 27 – The Census Bureau provides multi-family permit counts each month and these are featured in new charts published by us under the Cromford Public subscription.

The total for Maricopa & Pinal counties in 2017 was 8,873 units, down from 9,645 in 2016 but still the 5th highest total in history.

The 2017 ranking of the cities for multi-family permits looks like this:

  1. Phoenix 3,916 (4,493 in 2016)
  2. Chandler 1,616 (1,143)
  3. Mesa 716 (711)
  4. Tempe 636 (1,486)
  5. Glendale 471 (10)
  6. Peoria 456 (0)
  7. Goodyear 339 (134)
  8. Scottsdale 317 (400)
  9. Surprise 135 (100)
  10. Gilbert 115 (938)

January 26 – With the final December housing permit numbers from the Census Bureau we now know that 20,455 single-family permits were issued in 2017. This is the highest annual total since 2007 when there were 25,352. However it is somewhat below most analysts’ forecasts for 2017. My forecast was among the lowest at 20,750 and it still turned out to be too high. The 2016 total was 18,387, so we are looking at a growth rate of 11.2%.

December’s total was 1,498, not far above the 1,421 of December 2016.

The ranking of the cities for 2017 looks like this:

  1. Phoenix 2,852 (2,462 in 2016)
  2. Mesa 2,261 (2,116)
  3. Buckeye 2,195 (1,521)
  4. Unincorporated Pinal County 2,089 (1,529)
  5. Peoria 1,741 (1,636)
  6. Gilbert 1,606 (1,601)
  7. Maricopa 1,096 (532)
  8. Goodyear 1,095 (994)
  9. Queen Creek 1,076 (1,090)
  10. Unincorporated Maricopa County 869 (1,027)

Surprise, Scottsdale and Chandler failed to make the top 10

We note the very large percentage increases in Buckeye, Unincorporated Pinal County (primarily San Tan Valley) and Maricopa. These are some of the cheapest places to buy a new home so there is clearly a lot of demand for lower-priced new homes anticipated in 2018. Not at all surprising given the dearth of low-end re-sales coming to the market.

January 25 – The Cromford® Market Index table for the 17 largest cities and their single-family markets is shown below:

The top half of the table is storming ahead from a seller’s perspective with only Avondale putting in a weak 1% advance over the past month.

The supply situation in the Southeast Valley goes from bad to worse and all 5 cities in the southeast made major advances in favor of sellers.

The lower half of the table is more mixed with Buckeye, Paradise Valley, Peoria and Scottsdale advancing but Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Maricopa and Goodyear moving backwards.

This table is now more favorable to sellers than at any time since the first half of 2013.

January 23 – Here is the promised top 20 list for agent production in 2017. This is based on counting transaction sides. Homebuilders and i-Buyers are included for completeness, but I ensured we included at least 20 regular agents. Jeff Sibbach’s team has now been consolidated into a single record. The data reflects the ARMLS database on January 23.

Rank Rank excl. Special Cases Agent Office
2017 Sides
Special Case
1 Jacqueline Moore Opendoor
2 Brian Bair OfferPad
iBuyer also Liberty Properties
3 Tracy Norton LGI Homes
home builder
4 1 Beth Rider Keller Williams Arizona Realty
5 2 Kenny Klaus Keller Williams Integrity First
6 3 Jeff Sibbach Realty ONE Group
7 4 Russell Shaw Realty ONE Group
8 Taylor Mize Pulte
home builder
9 5 Jason Mitchell My Home Group
10 Joseph Elberts Mertiage
home builder
11 6 George Laughton My Home Group
12 7 John Gluch RE/MAX Platinum Living
13 8 Carin Nguyen Keller Williams Realty Phoenix
14 9 Carol Royse Keller Williams East Valley
15 10 Jason Penrose RE/MAX Excalibur
16 11 Brett Tanner Keller Williams Realty Phoenix
17 12 Shannon Cunningham Keller Williams Realty Professional Partners
18 13 JoAnn Callaway Those Callaways
19 14 Jennifer Wehner RE/MAX Fine Properties
20 15 Marlene Cerreta Cerreta Real Estate
21 Dawn Faraci Lennar
home builder
22 16 Curtis Johnson eXp Realty
23 17 Joyce Thomas RE/MAX Home Expert Realty
24 18 Daniel Barraza My Home Group
25 19 Damian Godoy Argo Real Estate Professionals
26 Brandon Cleveland Taylor Morrison
home builder
27 20 Stephen Allphin Realsense

The table based on dollar volume was published on January 15 (below) and it has also been updated to reflect the database as of January 23

January 22 – After 3 complete weeks we can again validly compare the number of new listings with prior years.

There have been a total of 7,142 new residential listings added to the ARMLS database. The third week saw some acceleration so that this total is 1.4% higher than in 2017 when we counted 7,041. This reverses the situation a week ago when we were down 1.4%. Year to date 2018 is up 0.8% compared with 2016 and up 4.6% compared with 2015.

So the good news for buyers is that we do have slightly more homes coming onto the market.

The bad news is that this is not enough to ease the supply shortage. In fact it is not even enough to compensate for the higher sales rate in 2018 over 2017. Closings are so far up 3.2% year over year so a 1.4% increase is less than half what is required to replace homes sold.

Looking specifically at Greater Phoenix we have 6,859 listings with a list date of Jan 1 through Jan 21, 2018. Compared with last year we have seen

  • 26% fewer new listings under $200,000
  • 5% more new listings between $200,000 and $300,000
  • 5% more new listings between $300,000 and $400,000
  • 12% more new listings between $400,000 and $500,000
  • 21% more new listings between $500,000 and $1 million
  • 5% more new listings between $1 million and $1.5 million
  • 36% more new listings over $1.5 million

So perversely, but not unexpectedly, we are getting the largest percentage increases at the high end of the market where more supply is not really needed. Below $200,000, where supply is already extremely thin, the new listing flow has dropped even further from last year’s rate.

January 19 – In January 2017 a new record high MLS sales price was set of $12,750,000, beating the old record which was established as long ago as 2000. To close the 2017 year, this record was broken again with the sale of 7100 N Mummy Mountain Road. This sold for $15,650,000 on December 14 according to the Affidavit of Value. This big jump of almost $3 million makes it by far the most valuable single-family residential closing that has been recorded through ARMLS. The buyer (a CEO and Chairman of a chip technology company) paid cash.

Congratulations to Joan Levinson of Realty ONE Group who acted as listing and selling agent.

I should point out that the property was never really marketed on the MLS – the listing was created 1 day prior to close of escrow. This seems to be a growing trend these days. Retrospective listings are one of the reasons the pending count is so weak compared to the sales rate. It also means we cannot enjoy browsing MLS photos of the 14,200 home built in 2011.

It is also an example of how measuring something sometimes causes the something that is being measured to change its nature. This is a characteristic that the housing market shares with quantum mechanics. If the last point seems too weird to you, please put it down to the flu. .

However, if it is in the ARMLS database and confirmed by a deed then it definitely goes into our numbers, and $1,102 per sq. ft. is a pretty impressive number.

January 18 – Brain not 100% functional, but it does not take much brain power to see interesting messages in the regular table of Cromford® Market Index numbers. These are for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities by dollar volume.

13 of the 17 cities show movements in favor of sellers and several of these movements are massive.

  1. Tempe up 26%
  2. Chandler up 21%
  3. Glendale up 17%
  4. Gilbert up 12%
  5. Phoenix up 10%
  6. Queen Creek up 10%

Of the 4 cities that moved in favor of buyers two (Fountain Hills and Paradise Valley) moved only a very small amount, and the remaining two (Maricopa and Cave Creek) by moderate amounts.

This table suggests we are likely to see strong price rises during the next 5 months. However transaction volume will probably be limited by the scarcity of homes for sale.

January 17 – Mike is down with the flu. Observations are suspended until his brain is working properly again. Sorry!

January 15 – Last year we published ranking tables for agents based on unit and dollar volumes and this generated a lot of interest. In 2018 we are going to publish a Tableau chart that allows you to create your own agent production statistics filtered by county, city, ZIP code etc. This will be available shortly.

We are going to add special codes for agents that work for home builders and also those that work for iBuyers like Opendoor and OfferPad. You can therefore choose to include or exclude them as you wish.

For agents that work in teams, there are some teams that use a single Agent ID for every transaction so that the whole team looks like a single person. Others split the listings up so that different agents are credited with closings although they may be on the same team. Unfortunately ARMLS does not maintain accurate team composition information, but if you want to group agents together under a team name just let me know and I will create a combined entity instead of the individual agents.

So let us kick things off with a Greater Phoenix table ranked by 2017 closed dollar volume on ARMLS. This counts each side of a closed transaction separately unless the selling agent is a non-MLS person or does not exist. So dual agency transactions will count twice for the agent concerned.

Rank Rank excl. Special Cases Agent Office
2017 $
2017 Sides
Special Case
1 Jacqueline Moore Opendoor
2 Brian Bair OfferPad
iBuyer also Liberty Properties
3 1 Beth Rider Keller Williams Arizona
4 2 Jeff Sibbach Realty ONE Group
5 Tracy Norton LGI Homes
home builder
6 3 Jason Mitchell My Home Group
7 4 Robert Joffe Launch
8 5 Kenny Klaus Keller Williams Integrity First
9 Joseph Elberts Mertiage
home builder
10 Taylor Mize Pulte
home builder
11 6 Walter Danley Walt Danley Realty
12 7 Chris Karas Launch
also Russ Lyon Sotheby’s
13 8 JoAnn Callaway Those Callaways
14 9 Joan Levinson Realty ONE Group
15 10 Andrew Bloom RE//MAX Platinum Living
also Keller Williams Arizona
16 11 Russell Shaw Realty ONE Group
17 12 John Gluch RE/MAX Platinum Living
18 13 Lisa Lucky Russ Lyon Sotheby’s
19 14 Kristen Ryan RE/MAX Fine Properties
20 15 Carol Royse Keller Williams East Valley
21 16 Jennifer Wehner RE/MAX Fine Properties
22 17 George Laughton My Home Group
23 Brandon Cleveland Taylor Morrison
home builder
24 18 Carin Nguyen Keller Williams Realty Phoenix
25 19 Jason Penrose RE/MAX Excalibur
26 Dawn Faraci Lennar
home builder
27 20 Bobby Lieb HomeSmart

Shortly we will look at the top 20 by sides, which of course is tougher for the agents who specialize in the luxury sector.

January 12 – Let us take a closer look at the West Valley single-family market to see what trends are showing up there.

The first thing we notice is that active listings (excluding UCB and CCBS) are down 14% compared to this time last year. That`s a drop from 3,864 to 3,323. However all of that decline (and then some) was driven by homes priced under $250,000 which plummeted 33% from 1,754 to 1,169. The number of active homes over $250,000 increased slightly from 2,105 to 2,150.

Quarterly sales volume (4Q) increased by 3% over Q4 2016. Again this obscures a huge difference between the price ranges. Due to the weak supply, sales of homes under $250,000 dropped 9% to 3,067 while sales of homes over $250,000 rose 26% to 2,158.

The imbalance between supply and demand under $250,000 led to appreciation averaging 8.3% during the fourth quarter of 2017. Over $250,000, appreciation was a more modest 2.3%

Based on the average $/SF for the fourth quarter the strongest areas for appreciation were:

  1. Wittmann 85361
  2. Glendale 85301
  3. Glendale 85303
  4. Surprise 85387
  5. Sun City 85351
  6. El Mirage 85331
  7. Youngtown 85363

The weakest price trends were in:

  1. Goodyear 85395
  2. Laveen 85339
  3. Sun City West 85375
  4. Litchfield Park 85340
  5. Buckeye 85396
  6. Glendale 85310
  7. Sun City 85373

Generally the Northwest outperformed the Southwest during 4Q 2017.

January 11 – We usually publish a table every week showing the Cromford® Market Index for the single-family markets in the largest 17 cities. However, rarely does it show as much drama as the one we publish today:

The larger cities tend to move more slowly than the smaller ones, but this is no longer the case. We have 6 cities with monthly changes of 10% of more. All of these are changes in favor of sellers and all of them are cities of considerable size.

  • Chandler up 20% to 218.7 – an extreme seller`s market
  • Tempe up 20%
  • Glendale up 19%
  • Gilbert up 12%
  • Phoenix up 10%
  • Avondale up 10%

Just under these we also have:

  • Queen Creek up 9%
  • Buckeye up 8%
  • Mesa up 8%
  • Surprise up 7%

For several of these cities this is the largest monthly move we have seen for many years.

Big changes are afoot in the market and we can expect the level of craziness to increase in all the above cities as buyers at the low and mid-range price points compete frantically over the tiny number of listings available to them.

Some places are being left out of the frenzy, at least for now. Examples include Cave Creek, Fountain Hills, Maricopa and Paradise Valley. However every city in the big 17 has a CMI over 120 so there is nowhere where the buyer has the upper hand.

January 10 – The preliminary data from deeds recorded by the Maricopa County Recorder in December shows the following:

  • total sales count for single-family and condo/townhouse properties was 8,817. This was up 1.5% from December 2017, a rather modest increase.
  • new homes came in at only 1,399 which was down almost 9% from December 2016. An unusual occurrence since most prior months gave us significant annual growth.
  • re-sales came in at 7,418, a 3.7% increase – better than we saw from the ARMLS numbers, suggesting that non-MLS activity is picking up.
  • the re-sale median monthly sales price rose 7.8% over the past 12 months
  • the new home median rose only 1.3%, although there has been a substantial fall in the average new home size to explain this small rise.
  • the overall median was up 5.1%

A few surprises to the downside there. However all the really influential numbers are related to supply. Because this is very low and dropping, any reduction in demand will probably go unnoticed.

We expect sales growth to stall over the next few months because of this lack of supply. Sales are declining in the southeast already and this is likely to spread to the central and western areas over time.

January 9 – What this market badly needs is a flood of new listings below $500,000. Is it going to get one? The answer looks like a no so far. With just over a week in 2018 gone the flow of new listings onto ARMLS is very similar to last year. This means it is barely adequate to meet normal demand and certainly not enough to make any impression on the supply shortage at lower end of the market.

It is is tricky to measure and compare new listing rates properly because of the unbalanced weekly pattern. Thursday and Friday are the big days for new listings, accounting for 44% of all the volume. Tuesday and Wednesday are next with 29%. Saturday, Sunday and Monday are quiet with just 27% across all 3 days. Consequently basing your calculation on calendar months is useless since it all depends on whether they have 4 or 5 Fridays in them.

Instead you must use either lunar months (28 day intervals) or other multiples of 7 to get counts you can accurately compare with similar periods of time.

For the past 28 days we have seen 5,965 new listings across all types, areas & prices. This is actually down 2.4% from last year when we saw 6,114, but up 4.9% from two years ago when we saw 5,688.

No sign of a flood. Just normality, which nowhere near enough to make a difference for exhausted buyers.

January 8 – The luxury re-sale market has enjoyed little to no appreciation over the past 3 years, but there are a few signs that this might be coming to an end at last. The average price per sq. ft. for listings under contract has been shooting up over the past few weeks and the luxury market has participated in that trend.

For all property types across Greater Phoenix:

  • The $/SF for homes under contract over $500,000 has risen from $236 in mid-August to $263 in early January
  • The $/SF for homes under contract between $800,000 and $2 million has risen from $276 in October to $288 in early January

New highs are being set that have not been seen since 2014 or early 2015.

January 5 – At the Cromford® Report we try to spot trends before they become obvious and at the moment we are looking at signs that transaction volume is declining, mainly due to lack of supply and certainly not due to lack of buyer interest. It is very hard to do this by looking at monthly sales numbers because months vary so much and the unit sales count is naturally volatile. However the annual sales count is something that can measured daily (by dropping the oldest day and adding the newest) and this is a very stable and accurate measurement.

Looking at the annual sales counts for single-family detached homes through ARMLS we see declining volumes in the following areas:

  • Anthem – peaked Feb through Jul 2017 and in decline for last 5 months
  • Avondale – peaked Jun 2017 and in decline for the last 6 months
  • Casa Grande – similar to Avondale
  • Chandler – peaked in Mar 2017 and in decline for the last 9 months
  • Eloy – similar to Chandler
  • Florence – peaked Jul 2017 and in decline for 5 months
  • Gilbert – peaked in Jan 2017 and in decline for the last 11 months
  • Laveen – similar to Avondale
  • Tolleson – similar to Avondale

These are the only significant examples so far. The other cities are either stable or growing. Those with better supply like Buckeye are growing fastest.

Gilbert was the earliest city to enter a declining volume pattern. Alongside Chandler, this area of the valley is suffering unusually low numbers of active listings. Mesa has yet to join the trend, though its growth has stalled over the past 5 months. The same can be said of Tempe.

It is possible that we see an unusually strong influx of supply during the first quarter. It is too early to judge at the moment. But unless we get this surge in new listings, we anticipate lower transaction volumes for the Southeast Valley in 2018 than in 2017. Parts of the Southwest Valley also look vulnerable to this effect (Avondale / Tolleson / Laveen) though not Goodyear or Buckeye.

So far Phoenix and the Northeast Valley look likely to grow transaction volume in 2018 over 2017, though nothing like as quickly as between 2016 and 2017.

January 4 – The significant reduction in supply that took place throughout December is reflected in the latest table of Cromford® Market Index values for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities.

Extreme shifts in favor of sellers took place in Glendale, Chandler, Tempe and Gilbert over the past month. Only Maricopa, Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills were excluded from the favorable trend for sellers.

The 3 largest cities in the Southeast Valley continued to lose supply and consolidated their position at the top of this table. Glendale overtook Surprise as the main challenger but Avondale made a strong move upwards too.

Phoenix is making a more significant move in favor of sellers than it has for many months.

Even the weakening cities are still over 120, so there is little comfort to be seen for buyers.

January 3 – Today would be a good time to look at how the various price ranges performed from an appreciation point of view, comparing sales during 2017 with those during 2016.

The charts here are useful for this purpose. We recommend focusing on the one measuring the annual average $/SF. The monthly $/SF tends to be very volatile for the higher price ranges due to the low sample size.

We can divide the market into the following sectors:

  1. Homes listed below $100,000. This market is now tiny, although it was huge between 2009 and 2011. Prices here went backwards by 0.4% between 2016 and 2017. These homes tend to need a lot of work.
  2. Homes listed between $100,000 and $175,0000. These saw the strongest appreciation rates of all, between 5% and 8%. Supply is fast disappearing.
  3. Homes listed between $175,000 and $400,000. Here we see appreciation between 3% and 5%, roughly double the general inflation rate.
  4. Homes listed between $400,000 and $600,000. These saw appreciation around 2%, about the same level as the general rate of inflation.
  5. Homes listed between $600,000 and $1,500,000. Here we see appreciation around 1%, roughly half the general inflation rate.
  6. Homes listed between $1,500,000 and $3,000,000. These depreciated by 3% to 4% over the last 12 months.
  7. Homes listed over $3,000,000. Here we see depreciation of around 1%.

Two things need to be borne in mind when considering these numbers:

  • appreciation measured by price segment understates the true appreciation rate because some homes migrate from one segment to another.
  • these numbers are based on ARMLS data so do not fully reflect the pricing of new homes, especially for the higher price segments. They are indicative of re-sale home appreciation.
  • individual homes may have behaved quite differently from their peers. These are numbers for the segments as a whole.
  • the vast majority of homes now fall into segments 3 and 4.

January 2 – At the end of every month we see a large number of listings closed At the end of December we also see the biggest number of expiring listings all year. Since we already had a low number of active listings we are now starting 2018 with even fewer homes for sales. A few top-priced areas are still well-supplied but the vast majority of areas are seriously short of homes for sale. We have been commenting on a short supply for many years but in 2018 the situation for buyers is more difficult than it has been since 2012. This makes life easier for sellers but not necessarily for agents. The supply shortage is causing transaction rates to fall in an increasing number of locations. Fewer transactions is not a trend that agents like to see, especially as we have 6.3% more agents than we did 12 months ago. In other words, we anticipate fewer transactions per agent.

What happens when supply is this low relative to demand? Prices have to rise at an increasing rate to balance the market, so reducing demand, in theory at least. The increasing prices compensate agents somewhat for the lower transaction rate by providing higher average commission per sale.

Here are the ZIP codes where total single-family supply (all active listings including those in UCB and CCBS status) has dropped the most over the past 12 months:

  1. Stanfield 85172 – down 67% [Pinal]
  2. Youngtown 85363 – down 48%
  3. Phoenix 85017 – down 46%
  4. Gilbert 85234 – down 46%
  5. Apache Junction 85119 -down 43% [Pinal]
  6. Casa Grande 85122 – down 41% [Pinal]
  7. Chandler 85286 – down 40%
  8. Glendale 85307 – down 39%
  9. Phoenix 85033 – down 39%
  10. Superior 85173 -down 37% [Pinal]

With 4 out of the 10 top ZIP codes, Pinal County is experiencing severe falls in supply. 115 out of 147 ZIP codes that we cover are down from last year.

The ZIP codes with the largest increases are:

  1. Phoenix 85004 – up 75%
  2. Phoenix 85051 – up 42%
  3. Wittmann 85361 – up 28%
  4. Phoenix 85054 – up 25%
  5. Black Canyon City – up 17%
  6. Phoenix 85034 – up 17%
  7. Phoenix 85024 – up 17%
  8. Phoenix 85053 – up 15%
  9. Maricopa 85138 – up 14%
  10. Fountain Hills 86268 – up 13%

Supply always increases sharply in January. We will be watching closely to see if it increases enough to make any significant change to the unusual imbalance that starts 2018.


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