The number of single-family homes sold in Sun City and Sun City West were the same in April 2010 as in April 2011, but sellers in each community received less money for their properties year over year, a new study revealed Tuesday.

The report from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University showed that 145 homes were sold in Sun City and 115 in Sun City West in April 2010 and again in April 2011.

Prices, however, dropped to $117,000 and $150,000 in Sun City and Sun City West, respectively. A year ago, the median price was $130,000 to $185,000 for sales in the communities.

Prices for condominium/townhouse sales also nosedived in the Sun Cities.

There were 75 units sold in Sun City with a median price of $79,000 in April 2010, and 30 units changed hands in Sun City West garnering a median price of $120,750. In 2011, 65 units brought $64,000 each in Sun City and the sellers of 30 condos/townhomes in Sun City West received a median price of $105,000.

Similar price drops occurred throughout the region, according to the report.

The report showed for the second month in a row, the hard-hit Phoenix-area housing market saw a decline in the foreclosure rate.

In January and February, 43 percent of the existing-home transactions in the market were foreclosures, but that declined to just under 38 percent in March and now to 36 percent for April. The numbers appear to be moving in the right direction for those hoping to see some stability in the market, according to the report.

However, the author of the new study said not to celebrate yet.

“The actual number of monthly foreclosures in the Phoenix area is still very high,” said Jay Butler, associate professor of real estate. “It’s like flying through a hurricane, and we may just be in the eye right now. There’s probably more of the storm to go through, and we could see another wave of foreclosures.”

In April, the Phoenix area had about 3,750 foreclosures in the existing-home market. That’s down from about 4,150 in March, but still up from about 3,500 last April. Butler doesn’t expect to see clarity in the market’s direction until October or November for several reasons.

“Some homeowners have a lot of frustration built up, having used many of their resources like 401(k)s and other savings accounts to keep their homes; it’s unclear how much longer they can hold on,” says Butler. “Also, there are ongoing discussions about even stricter mortgage guidelines, inflationary concerns, changes in the secondary market and possible lowering of the Federal Housing Administration mortgage limit, which could strongly influence the market. It will take time for all of this to play out.”

Single-family foreclosures in April of this year in the West Valley ranged from 10 to 30 in Sun City West and Sun City, respectively, to 315 in Glendale, 195 in Peoria, 185 in Surprise and 65 in El Mirage.

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