The State of the Phoenix Real Estate Market

If I had to describe the current real estate market in just two sentences, I would be hard pressed to do any better than a listing agent did in an e-mail sent to me this afternoon:

I have mulitple full price cash offers,  I will need your highest and best by tomorrow 5pm.

And so it is that we continue soldiering on through a market that sees a scant 12,831 single family detached homes on the market in Maricopa County, though the post-Labor Day period is the time when we generally see inventory rise, slowly at first and then steeply as the holidays approach and people’s purchases turn to what’s found at Walmart, not the MLS.

It’s a market where just shy of 5,700 homes sold in the month of October, traditionally a slow month. (Last year, 4,754 homes closed in October and in 2007, when market activity cratered, just 2,431 detached homes sold in all of Maricopa County.

It’s a market where the long-dreaded shadow inventory may be shrinking in front of our eyes. (By the way, disregard the part where my good friend John Wake says to call him if you’re thinking about buying … I happen to be in the biz, too.)

And it’s a market byword is not if, but when. As in, “when” we see prices moving forward again versus if. There always was an assumption of when even when saying if, but when seems a lot sooner than did way back, er, when.

It’s a market requiring realistic expectations, pricing strategies and buying strategies. For every home on the market under $125k, there are a half-dozen or more buyers writing offers. Sure, buyers can wait and hope … but if inventory remains anywhere close to this low and demand remains anywhere close to this high, it’s only a matter of time before prices shift.

In fact, if you check out the median prices by city, you’ll see some interesting trends.

There may be no “right” time to buy per se (which also means the standard “it’s a great time to buy” line is bunk) … but for many who have been on the fence, this appears to be as good a time as any to jump off.

Image: photostock /

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