Is the real estate world coming to an end? Is the Phoenix real estate market recovering?
Alcoa presents You Make the Call. From the Arizona Republic …
In April 2009, the median home-resale price in Maricopa County reached its first post-bubble low point of $119,000, Ruff said.
After rebounding to a high of nearly $135,000 in April 2010 – the final month for buyers to qualify for the tax rebate – prices once again fell, reaching a new low of $115,000 in January.
According to the Information Market’s research, the figure hasn’t budged from that spot in five months.
Meanwhile, some national housing analysts, reacting to Tuesday’s report, predicted home prices nationally will decline by an additional 5 percent by the end of the year.
Ruff took issue with that prediction for the Valley, arguing that, for the past few months, newly issued notices of foreclosure have decreased significantly in the area, bringing the number of “active” notices – those yet to be resolved by foreclosure, short sale or loan modification – from 40,000 in January down to 27,000 in April.
And from the other side of the aisle …
“We think Arizona is on a faster track to recover than some of the other states,” Ruff said.
Jay Butler, an Arizona State University housing-market analyst, was less optimistic, saying it’s still a toss-up whether home prices in the Phoenix area will go up or down from here.
One expected change that could seriously affect Valley home values is the slashing of maximum mortgage-loan limits backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration, Butler said.
The conforming loan limit for Fannie and Freddie loans in the Phoenix area is $417,000, and the FHA loan limit is about $350,000.
Butler, director of real-estate studies at ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business, said that Fannie and Freddie officials are talking about lowering the limit to $200,000 for conventional loans and that the FHA is considering a reduction to $150,000 for the loans it guarantees.