The National Association of REALTORS released the monthly pending home sales index for November, which reached its lowest levels since the stat was tracked in 2001.
From the report on CNN/Money:
The Pending Home Sales Index fell 4% to 82.3 for the month of November, to its lowest level since the series began in 2001, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). That’s a drop from a downwardly revised reading of 85.7 in the month of October.
The November index is 5.3% below the same month a year ago, when the Index stood at 86.9.
Now, for the rest of the story.
Locally, closed sales in November were 31.9% higher than in November 2007 according to data culled from the Arizona Regional MLS – 4,325 closed sales versus 3,325.
But NAR was reporting pending sales, so let’s look at December. If you read this blog with any regularity, you already know the answer – a 67.9% increase from December 2007 to December 2008, from 3,340 to 5,608.
(If you are a regular reader you know I track only single-family detached homes in Maricopa County for my weekly absorption rate update. For these purposes, though, I pulled all closed residential sales in ARMLS.)
We all know what the cause of the increase is: the continued uptick in bank owned homes. More than half of the closed sales in December – 2,938 to be exact – were of bank owned properties. And the reason is simple. Banks are hyper-aggressive in pricing these homes, to the point that many buyers won’t look at anything else even at the same price and size.
The moral here is national sales figures say nothing meaningful about the Phoenix real estate market. While other areas are just now experiencing the wave of foreclosures, the Phoenix real estate market has been dealing with that influx for a year as have other real estate markets in the Sun Belt.
This isn’t an effort to call the bottom, not by a long shot. But it is an effort to call attention to the need to watch local trends more than the national news when buying in the Phoenix real estate market. Because what you’re hearing on the macro-level isn’t necessarily going to translate to the micro-level here.[tags]Phoenix real estate[/tags]