Today is all about the AZ market. On Wednesday, Lawyers Title hosted a presentation with Tina Tamboer with the Cromford Report. She always shares pertinent and timely information. Below I have combined a lot of her information from her presentation, along with additional information from my research.
Change is scary and a balanced market still seems light years away. We got used to operating under extreme pressure due to high demand and low inventory. That market isn’t healthy and it peaked in March. Now, we are, slowly, moving towards a healthier market and it is a good thing. The median days on market have more than doubled from 5 days in April to 11 days in October. Sales over asking have declined by 22% but don’t worry, 47% of sales are still closing over asking. These changes are good for the overall health of the market and provide more options for our (slightly less) exhausted buyers.
Do you have clients still worrying about when the housing market will crash? The intensity of late 2020 and early 2021 felt like the market frenzy of 2005. As the market normalizes it may feel weird or uncomfortable as we pivot again. While those emotions are important and we have to have emotion to make decisions, we have to look at the facts. And the facts point towards stabilization and continued appreciation, just at a slower rate.
At some point, nearly everyone who was in the real estate business in 2008 says, “I wish I bought one/some/many houses when they went on sale from 2009-2011.” Then they go on and say, “Next time, I will be ready.” This sentiment is why prices won’t crash.
Looking at housing, things look good and the market is attempting to normalize, but we do not see the whole picture. Wall Street, federal policy, a worldwide pandemic, labor and supply chain shortages also impact housing. But there is still more to consider: the intense and seemingly ever-increasing battle between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Despite the normalizing of the market, it is not normal. Demand has actually increased recently which is unusual because this is the time of year demand typically declines. After a 44% inventory increase over the past three months, inventory seems to be leveling out again and the increases have flattened. Leveling out at 7,400 listings is less than ideal. The size of the Greater Phoenix market calls for 25,000 listings and we haven’t seen 20,000 active listings since 2016.
Inventory levels are up but not enough. Home price appreciation is starting to slow but not by very much. Mortgage rates remain low, but did everyone refinance last year? Conditions are improving but the market isn’t healthy, yet, but it is on its way. Remember when 8% appreciation was a lot? 2018 and 2019 each had 8% appreciation. That feels like a lifetime ago.
Residential real estate pulled our economy out of the shortest recession in history. As last year’s market frenzy cools, the severe imbalance of supply and demand lessens and prices continue to increase, just at a slower rate. According to the 2020 US Census, housing units increased by 6.7% while population grew by 7.4%; both were declines from previous decades, but it doesn’t change the fact that demand (population) outpaced supply (housing units). Over the past 10 years, Maricopa County’s population increased by 15.8% and housing units increased by 8.3%.
Housing inventory is slowly increasing, giving more options to our exhausted buyers. With the inventory gains, appreciation has started to slow which is also good for the overall health of the market.
As many suspected, affordability declined in Q2 2021 and the US as a whole and Greater Phoenix fell below the ideal affordable range of 60-75 for the first time since late 2018. Through Q2 2021 in Greater Phoenix a household earning the median income ($79,000 annually), can afford 56.4% of what is for sale. A year ago, it was 70%.