Monsoons and the Real Estate Market

One of the first things people learn when they move to the Phoenix area is to never trust a thunderhead.

Years ago I was visiting friends in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and there were storms on the horizon. The very, very flat horizon, incidentally. Looking at those darkening clouds, there was no question the thunderstorms were coming our way.

That seems to be the pattern in most places. See clouds, get the umbrella, wait for rain.

Not so in the Valley.

On Friday, there were thunderstorms in three directions moving ever higher in the sky and not a drop of rain fell here. (The 116-degree temperature at the time might have had more than a little to do with it, to be honest.)

Saturday night, the storms built again, this time from the north and the south in what seemed like an inevitable convergence. And once again, the streets remained dry.

Yesterday, thunderheads were building to the north and slowly drifting south; within a couple of hours, they had evaporated completely.

That we’re not getting rain daily is no surprise. This is, after all, a desert. But it does seem like a bit of a cruel tease by Mother Nature when she shows us rain on all sides and then leaves us wanting.

Our real estate market has been much the same way the past year or two. We see all the signs that show we’re building toward, if not a recovery, a leveling out of the market. And then conditions change in a heartbeat and that recovery doesn’t come.

Some can argue it’s too optimistic a thought, what with the ever-present shadow inventory lurking in the corners; yet for all the shadow inventory that’s there, lenders still are putting homes on the market at a mere trickle compared to what the market can bear.

Much like monsoons hit different parts of the Valley, well, differently the market has been very different depending on the locale.

In Laveen, a recent buyer of mine made an offer only to discover they were one of 42 offers on a property barely a handful of days on the market. A week later in Glendale, another of my buyers secured a home by bidding a mere $2,000 over list price after the request for highest and best came in and received credit for closing costs.

There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of rhyme or reason, much like these fickle storms, and what’s going to happen on any given day is rather difficult to predict.

Hurricanes aside, a little more certainty in the weather would be nice for someone who craves the rare cloudy day. (We actually did have remnants of a hurricane roll through here a few years back, which was interesting. We’re used to the wind – we get tropical storm-strength gusts during our dust storms – but torrential rain was a shock to the system.)

Normalcy and predictability in the real estate market also would be nice, though it may be little more than a dream.

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