A(nother) Year Without Inventory

2012-15Taking a quick look at the Arizona Regional MLS and we have 9,747 detached homes for sale across Maricopa County, an area roughly the size of New Jersey.

For those unsure, that’s not a lot of homes.

That doesn’t, however, stop the misinformation from rolling along from ear to ear, though I don’t really know where it begins. The other day, one of my contractors asked me about the rising tide of homes and was quite surprised to learn inventory has dropped by 20 percent from the start of the year.

And the homes on the market, by and large, are traditional sales … many may be by investors, granted, but there are relatively few bank-owned or short-sale listings left. Which, in part, is why you see the agents who relied heavily upon bank owned homes now hawking books through Facebook ads to explain how awesome their listing skills are when, in reality, they were little more than glorified bank clerks living off lenders’ largess.

Low inventory and continued high demand – we’re on pace for just shy of 6,000 sales for the month of April – inevitably will lead to an increase in prices.

This may come as a shock to Zillow, for instance …

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Home Report

19032 N 83rd Ln, Peoria, AZ 85382
 Sold on 02/28/2013: $188K
2 beds | 2.0 baths | 1,357 sqft

Zestimate ® $165,354 (-$3,110 / -1.8%) Range: $126K – $198K
Rent Zestimate ® $1,195/mo (-$8/mo / -0.7%) Range: $920 – $1.5K

You just have to love it, don’t you? Buyer and seller agree to a sale at $188,000 at the end of February and, in an appreciating market, Zillow has managed to drop the value some $23,000 in only six weeks. That’s an impressive feat.

Want one more?

Home Report

8425 W Utopia Rd, Peoria, AZ 85382
 Sold on 03/21/2013: $208K
2.5 baths | 1,437 sqft

Zestimate ® $197,758 (-$3,280 / -1.6%) Range: $132K – $225K
Rent Zestimate ® $1,303/mo Range: $1K – $2K

This home appraised at $208,000 less than a month ago. But why trust a living, breathing, trained and licensed appraiser when there’s a valuebot out there providing data, right?

One thing that never seems to change, regardless of the inventory levels and price trends, is the overabundance of simply terrible information available.

If you’re a buyer holding out for that second wave of foreclosures to hit, the same wave that’s been due for years without an appearance, you’re going to find yourself priced out of the market at some point soon if it hasn’t happened already.

And if you’re a homeowner, today’s the day to find out what your home really is worth. No, we’re not anywhere near those 2005 values again but you’re going to find that you’re less underwater than you believed.

Such is life in a year, make that another year, without inventory.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.