In the past, the Phoenix housing market tended to run about 8-12 months ahead of the rest of the country. Over the past 18 months, our market has pretty much been on pace with the rest of the country until very recently. I would say that our market is running about a month ahead of the rest of the country so be mindful of national headlines, it is old news in Phoenix.
The economy is in growth mode and many economists expect huge employment growth in September when the additional $300 a week in pandemic unemployment benefits expire. There are two scenarios in which economists forecast a growth reversal and push us into recession. The first is if the increased COVID cases shuts down the economy again. The second is the Federal Reserve tapering its $120 billion in monthly bond and mortgage-backed security purchases too quickly because if they do, interest rates will spike. The Fed met this week and are keeping rates as is. They are also not planning on beginning to taper their purchases until late in 2022. Given that the Federal government is the nation’s largest borrower, the Fed is not in any hurry to raise rates.
Hopefully, the consumer inflation truly is transitory and settles down by the end of the year. It is the asset inflation that is impacting the economy. We have seen exponential asset inflation over the past 10 years. Economists, Wall Street, and Washington DC call it inflation. We call it appreciation. Houses in Greater Phoenix have appreciated 274% since 2011 when our median sales price bottomed out at $107,000. Today the median sales price is $400,000 which gives us a year-over-year appreciation rate of 27%.
The AZ Market:
On Wednesday I pulled the top 5 zip codes for year over year appreciation and was surprised that despite our nearly non-existent sub $300,000 inventory, it was not the lower-priced zip codes with the greatest appreciation rates. Only one zip code has a median sales price even close to the overall median. Luxury took the top spot.
The top 5 zip codes for year over year appreciation:
1.) 85253 at 49.8% with a median sales price of $2,397,500 (Paradise Valley)
2.) 85260 at 43.8% with a median sales price of $575,000 (Scottsdale)
3.) 85297 at 41.9% with a median sales price of $518,750 (Gilbert)
4.) 85022 at 41% with a median sales price of $375,000 (Phoenix)
5.) 85262 at 40.3% with a median sales price of $1,175,000 (Scottsdale)
This huge appreciation is not like the 2005 bubble. Today’s appreciation is based on low levels of supply. In 2005 it was the high levels of demand, and of course a bunch of other stuff. We did have pent up demand due to the lockdowns in Q2 2020 which caused the frenzied purchasing in Q3 and Q4 2020. Demand peaked in late November 2020 at 35.4% above balance and declined continuously until July 20 when it bottomed at 5.1% above balance. Demand today is 5.9% above balance. That is an 22% decline in demand since November. But it didn’t feel that way because inventory has been so extremely low. The market intensity peaked in March and inventory is up 42% since then.
“What a frantically interesting and engaging industry.”Mike DelPrete, Real Estate Tech Strategist
Monthly sales have decreased by about 12% in the past two months. This is seasonally normal and also to be expected due to the increased supply and decreased demand. The slowing intensity feels weird, but our market is actually moving in a healthier direction. If you have clients expecting a market crash or price decline, they will be disappointed. This moderation will only slow the appreciation.
An easy way to show anyone expecting a crash why we won’t see one is by using the Cromford Market Index, which is an awesome leading indicator. The index is available to anyone, without a subscription, at www.CromfordReport.com. Anything over 100 is a seller’s market. More importantly, the demand index would have to move below the supply index.
Today’s buyers are better educated than ever before and they are doing their homework and are not writing such high offers. From the low point in mid-February to now weekly price reductions are up 182%. The majority of the reductions are in the $400K to $800K price range as this is the range with the highest increase in new inventory.
In Q2 2021, investor purchases were up 15% from Q1 2021, Phoenix topped the charts with an increase of 25% in Q2 2021 from Q1 2021. Phoenix was also the most popular destination for Redfin users when looking outside of their own city.
National Real Estate:
- Purchase mortgage applications declined by 2% last week and that was after a 6% decline the week before. Purchase mortgage applications have declined, on an annual basis, for the past three months, reaching their lowest level since May 2020. High prices and continued competition are blamed for the declines.
- On Saturday the foreclosure moratorium will expire. The CFPB implemented specific rules in which lenders must abide by when foreclosing which will further delay most foreclosures. Abandoned properties will be foreclosed on first. There will be some foreclosures but not a flood. Experts predict maybe 300,000 foreclosures which would be about 6,000 per state if divided up evenly. For details on the CFPB’s foreclosure rules, forbearance, and delinquencies, check out my update from Wednesday, here.
- Also expiring on Saturday is the eviction moratorium. In May, the Supreme Court ruled that the only way to extend eviction protections is with Congress’ approval. Yesterday afternoon President Biden officially made that request to Congress.
- NAR’s Pending Home index fell further than expected when it declined by 1.9% in June, month over month.
“Pending sales have seesawed since January, indicating a turning point for the market. Buyers are still interested and want to own a home, but record-high home prices are causing some to retreat. The moderate slowdown in sales is largely due to the huge spike in home prices.”Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist
In order to compete in this fast-paced market, during the first half of 2021, the country’s biggest iBuyers (Opendoor, Offerpad, Redfin, Zillow) expanded their buy box by upwards of 40% and increased their offers to an average of 104.1% of market value. In 2020 the same iBuyers offered an average of 97.6% of market value.
Simultaneously, iBuyers also dropped their fees to an average of 5.1% at the end of Q2 2021 from an average of 7.2% in 2020. Between the increase in offers and decrease in fees, consumer’s costs are down by 35% this year.
And iBuyer purchase activity is way up. In the past three months, Opendoor has acquired more properties than it did in all of 2020.
Throughout the rest of the year, expect a further weakening of the seller’s market. The declining affordability and buyer fatigue combined with increased inventory are leading us towards a more normal, balanced market. When housing is more balanced, it is not quite as exciting, but it is much healthier and allows for long-term growth. We finally are getting to the calm after the housing storm.
Copyright 2021 Sarah Perkins
Sarah has been in title & escrow sales since 2004. As an award-winning sales executive and now the Director of Strategic Accounts, Sarah’s role is to bring real estate transactions to Clear Title. To do this, she focuses on supporting her clients and helping them navigate the ever-changing real estate space through thorough research and understanding of current trends impacting today’s home buyers and sellers.