Starting with the basic ARMLS numbers for April 1, 2019 and comparing them with April 1, 2018 for all areas & types:
- Active Listings (excluding UCB): 18,650 versus 16,972 last year - up 9.9% - but down 1.6% from 18,959 last month
- Active Listings (including UCB): 23,399 versus 21,829 last year - up 7.2% - and up 0.9% compared with 23,197 last month
- Pending Listings: 6,958 versus 7,128 last year - down 2.4% - but up 13.7% from 6,119 last month
- Under Contract Listings (including Pending, CCBS & UCB): 11,707 versus 11,985 last year - down 2.3% - but up 13.0% from 10,357 last month
- Monthly Sales: 8,487 versus 9,645 last year - down 12.0% - but up 30.0% from 6,526 last month
- Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $171.87 versus $161.44 last year - up 6.5% - and up 1.9% from $168.62 last month
- Monthly Median Sales Price: $266,000 versus $254,283 last year - up 4.6% - and up 0.8% from $264,000 last month
The housing market across Greater Phoenix improved significantly during March but has yet to catch up with 2018. Supply without a contract is up almost 10% from a year ago. However it is down 1.6% from last month and new listings were lower in March 2019 than in March 2018 or 2017. Supply has been chronically low for many years and very little has changed in that department.
What we experienced starting in September 2018 was a minor but noticeable drop in demand. That declining trend is now being replaced by growth in demand. As usual we see this in pending listings and UCB listings before it shows up in closed listings. Under contract listings are only 2.3% lower than this time last year. At the start of March they were 11.5% lower. If this improvement keeps up then under contract listing counts could even overtake 2018 during April. We will have to wait and see.
Closings run well behind contracts and have not caught up with 2018 rates yet, but they are improving, March was up 30% from February. We should also mention that March 2019 had 1 fewer working days than March 2018 so 5% of the 12% gap can explained by that fact alone, leaving a 7% deficit. In February there was an 8% deficit. Because of the surge in contract activity we expect the gap to close further in April.
With demand comfortably exceeding supply, prices continue to rise, though not as quickly as they did this time last year. Almost all the gloomy statements you may have seen about the Phoenix housing market outside the Cromford Report have proven to to be wildly overblown. It is in good shape and, thanks to lower interest rates and higher loan limits, we are seeing demand headed back to normal.