Anyone in the Valley waiting for the housing market to tilt toward buyers may be waiting a while.
Experts say the Phoenix market remains a sellers’ market and they see no end in sight.
Realtor.com recently ranked Phoenix as the fifth hottest market in the country and the Cromford Report, which closely analyzes Valley housing data on a daily basis, said last week that the last few weeks showed "improving conditions for sellers" and "no signs here of us getting close to a buyers' market"
Although the inventory of available homes is up 8 percent from a year ago, the Cromford Report said last week, “It has already declined between February 1 and March 1 – something which usually only occurs in years when the market is doing rather well. That is just one of several good omens that suggest the weakness in demand that started in September is now dissipating.”
The report also noted that sales increased 18 percent over the first two months of this year – higher than a 14.4 percent increase over the same time period last year.
The report cautioned that “it is early days in the improving cycle so we should not get carried away with enthusiasm” and that “demand could fade again if we get a significant increase in loan interest rates.”
It added that buyers should not be expecting prices to drop in the immediate future.
“Anyone who is expecting prices to fall is likely to be very disappointed by the current state of affairs,” it said, noting:
“Asking prices are being cut at quite a high rate, but asking prices are often overly optimistic anyway, especially for homes that have just been listed. Actual closed prices are looking very strong.”
For shoppers seeking a bargain – especially first-time buyers – the report also had some sobering news: “The low end below $200,000 remains chronically under-supplied. The usual upward cycle in average price per square foot during the spring looks like it has turned up as usual in 2019.”
It also noted that data indicates that as prices creep up, inventory continues to go down.
“Both of these are good news for sellers and not-so-good for buyers. This shows that the recent strength in the market is intensifying,” it said, noting that 12 out of the 17 Valley cities and towns are “showing improving conditions for sellers.”
All that promoted the Cromford Report to conclude: “No sign here of us getting close to a buyer’s market.”
Realtor.com also has thrown water on any noting that the Valley market may any time soon turn more favorably for buyers.
It computed dozens of cities on the basis of how long it would take to deplete the current inventory of homes on the market and estimated only three months for Phoenix.
A seller’s market exists when the inventory would be depleted in less than six months, according to the Realtors’ site.
“The constant sunshine and high quality of life make Phoenix especially attractive to retirees, while young professionals are drawn to the area’s thriving job market, where employment growth is forecasted to be twice that of the national average,” it said.
The site added: “Phoenix is slightly more expensive than the nation with a forecasted median home price of $267,318, but can you really put a price tag on nearly 300 days of sunshine a year?”
Cromford virtually ridiculed reports that the Valley market is troubled.
“ Yes, the market is cooler than last year, but the first half of last year was unusually strong and makes a difficult comparison. If we are to be fair to 2019,we should compare it with long-term averages and not try to create alarming headlines to attract readers’ eyeballs.
“If anyone thinks 2019 is bad, then I have to conclude they have no idea what bad looks like.”