"This wave of buyers are just crossing the starting line," said Tom Ruff, real-estate analyst with the Information Market, a data provider owned by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. "That means Valley home sales will likely keep climbing for a while."
If sales continue at the current rate, the market soon could switch to favor sellers instead of buyers. Last year, fewer buyers and slower sales meant many homeowners had to cut prices or list their property longer than expected before closing on a deal. A switch to a sellers market means potentially higher prices and faster sales.
Charlotte and John Shaff closed on a north-central Phoenix house earlier this month.
"We had been renting and were afraid we wouldn't be able to afford in the area because of rising prices," said Charlotte Shaff, who bought in Phoenix's 85020 ZIP code. "We didn't have time for a fixer-upper, and saw houses starting to go fast.
"We feel really lucky we found a house, even it was at the upper end of our budget," she said.
Median home-sales prices in 85020 have climbed more than 70 percent over the past few years, according to an Arizona Republic analysis.
Some other highlights of recent housing trends:
In March, home sales in Maricopa County climbed to 8,580 from 6,163 in February, according to the Information Market.
Home sales in March were up 17 percent from March 2014.
New-home permits across the Valley jumped to 1,373 last month, a 37 percent increase from March 2013 and the highest level since 2008, according to RL Brown Housing Reports.
Metro Phoenix's housing market has improved more during the past 60 days than any time during the past decade, according to Jim Belfiore of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting.
Last year, metro Phoenix's median home price climbed more than 5 percent even as home sales fell. Many homeowners interested in selling held off when they saw demand falter.
At the end of March, there were 26,483 houses for sale across metro Phoenix. That's down 11.5 percent from March 2014.
"There are more buyers in the market," said Diane Brennan, a real-estate agent with Phoenix's Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and host of KTAR radio's "That Real Estate Show." "Buyers looking for houses under $240,000 are having a hard time because inventory is so low. There are competing, multiple offers."
With the supply of houses below last year's level, and sales surging, expectations in the market are changing.
"It takes most people a while to get a house ready to sell," said Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at Arizona State University's W. P. Carey School of Business. "So the shift toward a sellers' market could happen quickly based on the current health pace of sales."
Check out how home sales and prices fared across the Phoenix, Glendale, Goodyear, Peoria, Litchfield Park, Scottsdale and Surprise, area in 2014 in The Arizona Republic's newest Valley Home Values special report.
Author:Keith Judish Phone: 623-224-7956 Dated: April 27th 2015 Views: 565 About Keith: O'Keith Judish licensed REALTOR® with Realty ONE Group serving the West Valley and Phoenix Metrople...
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