Phoenix Real Estate Inventory Update – October 1

avatarthumbnail.jpgStatistics from the first day of the month, particularly those dealing with inventory, often can be skewed because of the phenomenon of listings expiring on the final day of the previous month.

I’ve never sweated it too much because the goal with these statistics is less to provide a snapshot than to provide you an idea of the trend of the market over time. Put another way, everything tends to average out.

So it was interesting to see that inventory of single-family detached homes in the Phoenix real estate market remained roughly steady over the past week. There could have been a huge influx of new inventory offset almost equally by expiring listings, but that would be an anomaly based on the last 26 months of market tracking.

More interesting was the sharp spike in sales – there were 4,767 closed sales of single family homes in Maricopa County over the past 30 days, up more than 300 from the week before. That’s the longest jump since the end of July and it comes in September, which usually is not a strong month.

The jump also impacted the micromarkets in several cities. There now areas that can be considered sellers’ markets – Anthem, Avondale, Maricopa, Queen Creek and Tolleson all have absorption rates of less than five months, which is the rough watermark.

(We’ll talk more about what being in a sellers’ market means in these areas in the next couple of days. Ironically, it’s both tough news for the buyers and the traditional sellers.)

My hunch is the spike is due largely to the disappearance of seller-assisted down payment programs as of October 1. Technically any file opened by September 30 was supposed to be eligible but in reality the banks started eliminating these programs a month ago. It would make sense to see one final push to purchase before that date; whether that was the cause for the spike, we’ll never know.

(The Arizona Regional MLS asks listing agents to include information regarding seller assistance of closing costs but the data’s faulty. And there is no field that reflects seller contributions to down payments.)

One final note before the data – bank owned inventory continues to soar, with more than 300 new REO properties reaching the market. As of tonight there are 6,416 active bank owned homes in the Phoenix area MLS. But even as those numbers increase, so to do the sales – 1,938 closed sales the past 30 days, up about 140 from a week ago.

As always, all of the below data is from the Arizona Regional MLS and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

[table=18] [tags]Phoenix real estate, absorption rate[/tags]

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