17Apr/13

New listing count still near lowest since 2000

April 16 – Time to look at new listing counts again to see if we can detect any sign of improvement for buyers.

We look at complete weeks to avoid the weekly pattern affecting counts. The first 14 days of April 2012 saw 4,457 new listings in ARMLS for Greater Phoenix – we ignore out of area listings for this purpose. This was the lowest number since we started counting in 2000. For the first 2 weeks of April 2013 we have had 4,463. By just 6 listings we are not quite at the lowest level since 2000. The additional listings were condos. Single family homes are still at record lows. Mobile homes are down from last year but not as low as in 2009.

If we ignore listings over $500,000 then we are still setting new records for the lowest number of new listings. At $300,000 or below that new listing counts is much lower than last year (3,287 versus 3,668).

Basically there has been no improvement in the supply situation. However demand has eased a bit since last year.

April 15 – Today we look at the ZIP codes with the least increase in annual average sales $/SF for single family home sales comparing April 1 2012 and April 1, 2013. The Bottom 30 are:

City & ZIP Code

Description

$/SF 2012

$/SF 2013

% Change

Rio Verde 85263
Rio Verde

$140.44

$141.14

0.5%

Wickenburg 85390
Wickenburg

$102.26

$106.47

3.2%

Sun City West 85375
Sun City West

$93.44

$98.22

5.1%

Scottsdale 85255
North Scottsdale – Bell Rd to Jomax Rd

$210.73

$224.13

6.4%

Sun City 85351
South Sun City

$64.92

$69.61

7.2%

Scottsdale 85259
Northeast Scottsdale – Shea Blvd East

$170.76

$185.74

8.8%

Sun Lakes 85248
Southwest Chandler & Sun Lakes

$115.67

$125.92

8.9%

Carefree 85377 Carefree

$190.01

$208.70

9.8%

Scottsdale 85266
Far Northwest Scottsdale – N of Jomax W of Pima

$170.94

$188.64

10.4%

Fountain Hills 85268
Fountain Hills

$151.96

$168.07

10.6%

Scottsdale 85260
North Scottsdale – Shea Blvd to Bell Rd

$151.18

$168.05

11.2%

Phoenix 85044
North Ahwatukee

$108.14

$120.37

11.3%

Gold Canyon 85118
Gold Canyon

$111.29

$124.13

11.5%

Paradise Valley 85253
Paradise Valley

$263.35

$294.08

11.7%

Phoenix 85054
Northeast Phoenix – West Desert Ridge

$147.31

$164.95

12.0%

Phoenix 85048
South Ahwatukee

$116.14

$130.50

12.4%

Cave Creek 85331
Cave Creek

$128.72

$145.11

12.7%

Scottsdale 85258
North Scottsdale – Indian Bend Rd to Shea Blvd

$168.98

$191.43

13.3%

New River 85087
New River

$85.80

$97.53

13.7%

Gilbert 85298
Extreme South Gilbert

$100.54

$114.46

13.9%

Mesa 85215
Northeast Mesa

$100.08

$114.00

13.9%

Eloy 85131
Eloy & Toltec

$58.41

$66.57

14.0%

Litchfield Park 85340
Litchfield Park

$74.99

$85.54

14.1%

Scottsdale 85254
Northeast Phoenix – Kierland & Orange Tree

$128.04

$146.49

14.4%

Chandler 85249
Southeast Chandler

$98.01

$112.49

14.8%

Surprise 85374
Central Surprise

$85.13

$97.90

15.0%

Anthem 85086
Anthem & Desert Hills

$93.65

$107.77

15.1%

Mesa 85213
Northeast Mesa – Groves West

$86.06

$99.27

15.4%

Sun City 85373
North Sun City

$66.91

$77.23

15.4%

Scottsdale 85262
Far Northeast Scottsdale – N of Jomax E of Pima

$201.16

$232.89

15.8%

Given that these are the worst performing areas, the percentage price improvements are pretty impressive. In most normal years we would be happy with 3%. We can see that the more expensive areas that didn’t drop so far in the collapse of 2008 are also those have haven’t shown so dramatic a recovery. It is also clear that the areas focused on active adult and retirement communities have seen relatively modest moves upwards.

The areas not mentioned above and below have moved up between 16.2% and 31.8%.

April 14 – Comparing the annual average $/SF for single family home sales on April 1, 2013 with that for April 1, 2012, we find the following top 30 ZIP codes that have seen the largest rise in prices:

City & ZIP Code

Description

$/SF 2012

$/SF 2013

% Change

Phoenix 85009
West Phoenix – 19th Ave to 43rd Ave

$26.32

$44.10

67.5%

Phoenix 85015
Northwest Central Phoenix – 15th Ave to I-17

$50.57

$78.98

56.2%

Phoenix 85033
West Phoenix – Maryvale – Holiday Park & El Oso Park

$30.38

$46.61

53.5%

Phoenix 85017
Northwest Central Phoenix – I-17 to 35th Ave

$29.02

$44.09

51.9%

Phoenix 85031
West Phoenix – 43rd Ave to 59th Ave – Maryvale

$26.15

$39.34

50.4%

Phoenix 85035
West Phoenix – Sueno Park & Desert Sky Mall – Maryvale

$29.18

$43.87

50.4%

Phoenix 85051
Northwest Phoenix – Metrocenter & Mariposa Park

$41.42

$61.94

49.5%

Phoenix 85019
Northwest Central Phoenix – 35th Ave to 43rd Ave

$30.97

$45.93

48.3%

Glendale 85301
Central Glendale

$34.70

$49.54

42.8%

Phoenix 85007
Central Phoenix – 7th Ave to 19th Ave

$90.21

$127.61

41.5%

Phoenix 85008
East Phoenix – Papago & North of Sky Harbor

$56.70

$79.87

40.9%

Mesa 85201
Northwest Mesa

$53.17

$73.49

38.2%

Phoenix 85029
Northwest Phoenix – Peoria Ave to Thunderbird Rd

$49.69

$68.35

37.6%

Glendale 85306
North Glendale

$60.24

$82.39

36.8%

Glendale 85307
Far West Glendale

$50.13

$67.97

35.6%

El Mirage 85335
El Mirage

$44.90

$60.77

35.3%

Phoenix 85040
South Phoenix – East

$38.97

$52.38

34.4%

Mesa 85204
Southeast Central Mesa

$59.58

$79.88

34.1%

Phoenix 85037
West Phoenix – Desert Star Park & Villa de Paz

$42.42

$56.86

34.1%

Phoenix 85053
Northwest Phoenix – Conocido Park

$55.37

$74.20

34.0%

Phoenix 85043
Southwest Phoenix

$42.96

$57.53

33.9%

Youngtown 85363
Youngtown

$40.21

$53.81

33.8%

San Tan Valley 85143
South Queen Creek – Johnson Ranch

$50.14

$67.09

33.8%

Glendale 85302
North Central Glendale

$51.02

$68.10

33.5%

Scottsdale 85251
Central Scottsdale

$134.23

$178.06

32.7%

Phoenix 85006
Central Phoenix – Northeast – Coronado

$61.43

$81.39

32.5%

San Tan Valley 85240
Northeast Queen Creek

$51.32

$67.96

32.4%

Phoenix 85041
South Phoenix – West

$45.20

$59.86

32.4%

Mesa 85202
West Mesa

$68.47

$90.56

32.3%

Phoenix 85021
North Phoenix – West Sunnyslope

$90.78

$119.73

31.9%

Note that we have ignored the tiny ZIP codes with an average of fewer than 5 sales per month.

There are some very obvious trends here. Most of West and South Phoenix is very strongly represented in the Top 30 along with nearby areas in other western cities. The lowest priced west valley areas tend to be those that have risen most. There are also a handful of areas that have risen fast in the southeast valley, mostly those with the lowest prices to start with. These areas were those that lost most value during 2008. So what we have seen here is a sharp recovery to rebuild some of that value, although none of them have reached the price levels of 2006 and most are still far below that level..

Scottsdale 85251 is the obvious stand-out in this Top 30. It has risen in price much faster than any other part of the northeast valley and faster than any other of the higher priced areas of the Greater Phoenix valley. Its proximity to amenities and the airport appears to be working in its favor.

Tomorrow we will look at the Bottom 30.

April 13 – When we measure sales prices on a monthly basis there is often a lot of volatility between one month and the next, especially if we are looking at a small geographic area. If we look at a moving long term average then we reduce the noise and get a much clearer signal. Unfortunately it also means we get the signal very much later. There is no ideal solution to this problem. For large areas then a monthly average probably has enough samples that we already reduce the noise to a tolerable level. For example, the monthly average $/SF chart (see below chart 1) for all areas and types is more useful than the equivalent annual average $/SF chart (see chart 2 below). The early indication of a change in direction that we see in the monthly version is preferably to the smoothness of the annual chart. The annual chart is only useful as a history lesson.

Chart 1

Chart 2

However as we divide the market into smaller and smaller segments, the monthly chart gets more and more erratic until it becomes hard to derive useful signals from it. We can use 3-month, 6-month and 12-month moving averages to overcome this problem, selecting the smallest length of time that still gives us a reasonable result when prices are averaged over that interval. This is easiest to do with theTableau Charts for Moving Average $/SF. In this chart you have millions of different combination of county, city, ZIP code, price range, dwelling type and transaction type to choose from. However it can still become meaningless if you choose too small a sample size. My advice is to make sure every month has a least 10 sales if you wish to be able to discern reliable meaning from the charts.

For ZIP codes, we generally prefer the annual $/SF chart to the monthly $/SF chart. Most ZIP codes are too small to give us consistent readings on a month to month basis, especially in more rural areas like Wickenburg, Eloy, Superior and Tonopah. By using annual average $/SF and comparing ZIP codes we can detect some interesting and consistent trends. In doing so we sacrifice a little topicality to gain the confidence that our conclusions are not based on random chance. We will review some of those conclusions tomorrow.

April 12 – Real bubbles are characterized by a series of emotions among buyers as the top is reached. Enthusiasm turns to exhilaration and then euphoria at the very peak. After the market starts to turn lower, the first reaction is uneasiness, followed by denial and finally by pessimism and eventual panic. At the moment the key emotion felt by home buyers in Phoenix is frustration, possibly coupled with grim determination. Supply has been tight for a long time and there is still not much sign of it easing. In real bubbles there is plenty of supply but it is overwhelmed by an excess of demand way beyond what is warranted by the practical use of the commodity. In Phoenix we have low supply and just an ordinary level of demand, limited by the low availability of finance.

If I look around for examples of real bubbles one of the markets that fits the pattern best would be gold and silver. I have no knowledge of these markets and do not offer any advice. However it is interesting that the all-time top of the gold price curve in dollars occurred in September 2011 just as the housing market in Phoenix hit bottom. Precious metals have been touted for many years as a safe haven, just like homes were in the early part of this millennium.

Would you describe holders of these precious metal commodities as uneasy at the moment? Any signs of denial starting to take hold?

15Jan/13

Twelve complete years of monthly home sales activity Jan-2013

ARMLS Homes Sales By Month:  Twelve complete years of monthly sales activity for ARMLS. Also included are the Maricopa County Sales for 2012, and the New Listing History (12 years).

Cromford Report –

Daily Observations:

January 14 – The Lender Processing Services (LPS) delinquency numbers have been published today for November 2012 in their Mortgage Monitor. This contains encouraging news for Arizona but bad news for some other states. At the end of November Arizona had 7.5% of its first home loans delinquent by 30 days or more, down from 7.7% at the end of October and down from 10.7% at the end of November 2011. This is a 30.8% drop in the last 12 months – far and away the largest percentage decline in delinquency rate in the nation. Next behind Arizona is California with a 24.8% decline, Minnesota with 19.7%, North Dakota with 19.2%, Michigan with 18.8% and Colorado with 18.1%. Declines in delinquency rates are good leading indicators for housing markets.

In contrast, four states have seen increases in delinquency over the last 12 months:

1.     New Jersey (up 7.1%)

2.     New York (up 3.9%)

3.     Arkansas (up 2.8%)

4.     Vermont (up 2.4%)

Arizona is now ranked 40th in non-current loan rates and 34th in percentage of homes in foreclosure. Over the last month we fell below Iowa, Oregon and Utah. The only states with a lower delinquency rate than Arizona are: North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Minnesota, Nebraska, Virginia and Idaho.

The highest delinquency rates are now to be found in:

1.     Florida – 19.7%

2.     New Jersey – 16.8%

3.     Mississippi – 16.7%

4.     Nevada – 15.1%

5.     Rhode Island – 12.8%

6.     Maryland – 12.7%

7.     Illinois – 12.7%

8.     Louisiana – 12.6%

9.     Maine – 12.5%

10.   Connecticut – 12.5%

The remaining problems are concentrated in the Northeast and Southeast, predominantly but not exclusively in judicial foreclosure states. With the obvious and glaring exception of Nevada, delinquency rates are generally much lower west of Arkansas.

January 13 – Over the last 2 years Canadians have accounted for about 4% of home sales in Maricopa County, but as much as 10% of home sales in Pinal County. They are particularly fond of the City of Maricopa where they represent 15% of buyers, as well as Florence (13%) and Stanfield (19%).

January 12 – Because Phoenix is such a large city with diverse housing, we should look at inventory in more detail by ZIP code. Below we compare the days of inventory for single family homes between January 12 2012 and today.

The ZIP codes are ranked by the percentage reduction in inventory. If they experienced an increase of over 20% they are marked in red in the 5th column. Those with an inventory of less than 70 days are marked in green in the third column.

Rank

Location

Days Inventory 1/10/13

Days Inventory 1/10/12

Change Since 1/10/12

1

85003

72

117

down 38.1%

2

85045

63

98

down 36.0%

3

85024

46

69

down 33.3%

4

85012

154

229

down 32.7%

5

85043

45

60

down 25.3%

6

85044

67

84

down 20.8%

7

85050

63

77

down 18.5%

8

85032

50

60

down 16.8%

9

85022

61

73

down 16.8%

10

85023

58

69

down 15.2%

11

85042

57

67

down 14.9%

12

85028

81

95

down 14.9%

13

85020

82

96

down 14.7%

14

85031

46

54

down 14.6%

15

85018

108

126

down 14.4%

16

85006

59

68

down 14.0%

17

85016

102

116

down 12.3%

18

85040

59

65

down 8.2%

19

85085

102

79

down 8.2%

20

85048

75

80

down 5.7%

21

85027

44

45

down 1.9%

22

85053

55

56

down 0.8%

23

85029

56

56

up 0.7%

24

85037

49

48

up 1.2%

25

85014

84

83

up 1.3%

26

85041

58

56

up 4.0%

27

85033

60

56

up 7.5%

28

85083

76

70

up 7.8%

29

85007

134

122

up 9.4%

30

85021

117

104

up 12.5%

31

85035

61

52

up 16.5%

32

85008

82

70

up 17.4%

33

85013

90

74

up 21.8%

34

85015

85

70

up 21.9%

35

85019

63

48

up 30.0%

36

85017

68

49

up 39.2%

37

85051

71

49

up 43.1%

38

85009

84

57

up 46.7%

39

85034

129

73

up 76.5%

40

85054

77

27

up 186.3%

41

85004

274

79

up 245.0%

A low inventory that has fallen (e.g. 85024) suggests the market in that ZIP code is very hot. A low inventory that is rising (e.g. 85019) suggest a formerly hot market that is cooling. A high inventory that is falling (e.g. 85018) suggest a formerly cool market that is warming up. A high inventory that is rising (e.g. 85007) suggests a cool market that is cooling further. A few ZIP codes (e.g. 85004, 85034) have very low transaction counts per year, so the numbers can be quite volatile there. A normal level of days inventory is between 120 and 150, so most areas are well under average, some (e.g. 85024, 85027, 85031, 85043) extremely so.

January 11 – The days between December 24 and January 11 tend to be times when investors continue making their living while ordinary folk are busy leading their normal lives. This means that the sales transactions tend to be weighted towards bargain properties and lower prices. This means we get another period where pricing averages move downwards or sideways, a little like the period from June through mid September each year. You can see this effect clearly in the Tableau chart Under Contract – Weekly Average List price Per Sq Ft except that the dates on this chart are based on when the deals go under contract rather than when they close. So we see a sideways and downward move between April 28 and August 3, 2012 and between December 1 and December 28, 2012. True to the normal pattern, the line has started to move upwards again from December 28 onwards, which will please market bulls. Obviously closing prices will move upward at a later date because the Under Contract chart is a short term precursor of the sales pricing charts. The offset between the two charts is typically 30 days or so.

January 10 – The signs are getting stronger that we are headed for another severe shortage of supply this spring. The number of active listings across all areas & types grew from June 1 (19,977) through November 18 (23,342) which made it look as thought the supply situation was easing. If we exclude AWC/UCB listings then we grew much faster from 12,491 (Jun 1) to a peak of 18,142 (Dec 3). This looked very encouraging for buyers on the face of it. However, we have to take seasonal effects into account, which somewhat undermined the significance of the trend. We also have to allow for the fact the supply is often not located where the demand is. January is usually a month in which we get a lot of new listings piling up ready for the peak sales season in March through June. Instead the new listings are so far arriving in fairly weak volume and not necessarily located in the places people are looking to buy. Usually when January starts this way the trend lasts throughout the first quarter. In many areas we have less supply than we had at this time last year and we all know how tight things were last spring. On the other hand, sales numbers have started off somewhat slower than last year too.

Our favorite measure of supply is days of inventory (365 x active listings divided by the annual sales rate). If we examine some key areas for single family supply we find:

Rank

Location

Days Inventory 1/10/13

Days Inventory 1/10/12

Days Inventory Average 2001-2013

Change Since 1/10/12

Comment

1

Sun Lakes

131

215

183

down 39.1%

far less supply than last year, expect increased upward pricing pressure

2

Anthem

79

125

276

down 36.8%

very hot, expect strong upward pricing pressure

3

Tempe

66

97

112

down 32.0%

very hot, expect strong upward pricing pressure

4

Peoria

77

108

148

down 28.7%

very hot, expect strong upward pricing pressure

5

Sun City

103

141

141

down 27.0%

warming up, expect prices to rise

6

Chandler

57

75

123

down 24.0%

very hot, expect strong upward pricing pressure, unusually low supply

7

Cave Creek

105

138

214

down 23.9%

much tighter supply than last year, will probably experience strong upward pricing pressure

8

Sun City West

112

147

184

down 23.8%

warming up, expect prices to rise

9

Gilbert

60

75

134

down 20.0%

very hot, expect strong upward pricing pressure

10

Scottsdale

121

150

219

down 19.3%

much tighter supply than last year, will probably experience strong upward pricing pressure

11

Glendale

53

65

129

down 18.5%

very hot, expect strong upward pricing pressure, lowest days inventory in the valley

12

Goodyear

100

121

201

down 17.4%

warming up, less supply than last year but more supply than many other places

13

Fountain Hills

155

184

259

down 15.8%

less supply than last year, but more than most other areas

14

Paradise Valley

251

276

434

down 9.1%

warming up, expect prices to rise, 251 is low for PV, although higher than anywhere else

15

Mesa

65

70

135

down 7.1%

tighter supply than last year,upward pricing pressure

16

Apache Junction

81

86

187

down 5.8%

tighter supply than last year

17

Phoenix

66

70

141

down 5.7%

tighter supply than last year, and supply was very short then, upward price pressure

18

Laveen

55

57

256

down 3.5%

even tighter than last year, third lowest days inventory in the valley

19

Gold Canyon

212

208

286

up 1.9%

little change from last year, adequate supply

20

Avondale

61

59

149

up 3.4%

slightly more supply than last year

21

Surprise

105

98

166

up 7.1%

more supply than last year

22

Tolleson

54

49

262

up 10.2%

cooler than last year but still very low supply, second lowest days inventory in the valley

23

Buckeye

90

81

205

up 11.1%

supply situation has eased, so less upward pricing pressure

24

El Mirage

61

53

139

up 15.1%

cooler than last year but still very low supply

25

Casa Grande

109

85

171

up 28.2%

much more supply this year

26

Queen Creek

94

63

210

up 49.2%

much more supply than last year, less pressure on pricing

27

Litchfield Park

115

75

208

up 53.3%

plenty of supply compared with last year

28

Maricopa

109

62

359

up 75.8%

plenty of supply, no reason for prices to rise further, but they might rise on sentiment alone

29

Arizona City

164

83

201

up 97.6%

plenty of supply, little further upward pricing pressure

 

Note that many of the cheaper areas that have risen in price enormously in the last year are now at the bottom of the table and are likely to see much less upward pricing pressure. Yes, we’re looking at you, most of Pinal County (excluding Apache Junction which is behaving more like its neighbor Mesa). Litchfield Park is a member of the red zone, unlike the surrounding cities. It still has much less supply than average but much more than last year at this time. Many of the areas that are higher priced are now getting their turn to feel the strongest pricing pressure. The Tempe / Chandler / Sun Lakes area has very low supply compared with a year ago and demand is very strong. This area looks ripe for appreciation. Scottsdale and Cave Creek are showing much tighter supply and buyers will therefore see much more competition there in 2013. In the West Valley, Peoria, Goodyear and Glendale have very low supply while Buckeye & Surprise are the places to look if you want less competition and more choice, along with Litchfield Park of course. In the North Valley, Anthem stands out as having much less supply than last year at this time. The 55+ areas were pretty well supplied at the beginning of 2012, but are now looking tight. They haven’t participated much in the recovery so far, but look poised to do so in 2013. Paradise Valley and Fountain Hills are warming up, as is Goodyear.

All in all, a general picture of tighter supply than last year, but there are a several exceptions. If you wants a quieter life, there will probably be fewer bidding wars in the bottom third of the list above, excluding those marked in green in the third column. These are all on the outer edges of the valley, except for Litchfield Park. For tired and weary buyers who need a more central location, Litchfield Park may be worth a second look.

January 9 – The number of single family and condo/townhouse homes purchased by buyers with a Canadian mailing address dropped 19% between 2011 and 2012. The fall was higher for Canadian owner-occupiers (24%) and lower for Canadian landlords (12%). Californian increased their purchases by 5% between 2011 and 2012. Overall the number of homes purchased by people outside Arizona dropped by 9% so Californians were bucking the overall trend. The overall number of homes purchased with an Affidavit of Value was almost unchanged between 2011 an 2012, although sales through ARMLS dropped significantly.

January 8 – A full week has now gone by in 2013 so it is reasonable to look again at new listings. At this point in the housing cycle the rate at which new supply arrives on the market is crucial in determining the next phase of the recovery, so it is a high priority for us to measure it carefully and frequently. The reason we really should choose a full week is that new listings have a weekly cycle, with the following proportions listed each day over the last 12 years:

1.     Friday – 19%

2.     Monday – 18%

3.     Thursday – 17%

4.     Wednesday 16%

5.     Tuesday – 16%

6.     Saturday – 8%

7.     Sunday – 6%

If we compare 7 consecutive days with another 7 consecutive days, we will have exactly one of each weekday so the figures won’t be distorted by the weekly cycle. Of course we also have holidays, when fewer listings are created. So January 1 is quieter than February 1 for example. We can also compare 14 days, 21 days and 28 days in the same way without introducing distortions. The usual comparison of calendar months that everyone does (including us) is actually flawed because each month contains a different number of days of the week (as well as a different number of days – 28,29,30 or 31). Although many people tend to overlook this distortion it is quite significant and it often causes them to draw false conclusions. If we are looking for subtle signs about the flow of new supply we really should remove as much distortion as possible.

So we are going to look at Jan 1 to Jan 7 each year for the last 5 years. What we want to do is compare this period in 2013 with the same period in earlier years and see if we are getting more or fewer listings. I have created a Tableau chart to allow us to do this. If we look at the first week of this year and compare it with the first 7 days in each of the previous 4 years we find:

  • 2013 has seen only 1,839 new listings in Greater Phoenix, the lowest total in the last 5 years and 18% below last year.
  • 2013 has seen the largest number of normal listings added in the last 5 years with 1,439, 18% more than last year
  • 2013 has seen a 46% reduction in HUD and REO listings compared with 2012, and an 81% reduction compared with 2009.
  • 2013 has seen a startling 70% reduction in the number of new short sale and pre-foreclosure listings since 2012
  • Under $175,000 we see far fewer listings added in 2013 than in 2012
  • Between $175000 and $500,000 we see more listings added in 2013 than in 2012
  • Between $600,000 and $1,000,000 we see more listings in 2013 than 2012
  • Between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000 we see more listings in 2013 than 2013
  • In the ranges $500,000 to $600,000, $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 and over $2,000,000 we see fewer listings in 2013 than 2012

The clear impression after 1 week is that supply is not arriving very strongly at all and that we are therefore likely to see continued upward pricing pressure once the buyers come out in force in February. We can also see that the vast majority of the new listings are normal and distressed supply is far lower than last year. It is particularly noticeable how few short sales have been listed so far 2013. We shall take another look in 7 days time to see if the situation has changed.

January 7 – The all areas & types monthly average price per sq. ft. has retreated from a peak of $109.78 on December 24 to $106.69 today with most of that decline in the last 7 days. We saw a similar pattern in the first half of January 2012. The prices peaked on December 30 at $85.22 only to retreat to $83.37 on January 17 before they started to rise again.

28Dec/12

13 Reasons to Look Forward to 2013

When we look back on 2012 a long time from now, it may be viewed as the first year of the recovery, the year in which real estate reversed its course and moved in a more positive direction.

With that in mind, here are 13 reasons — courtesy of REALTOR® Magazine’s online news — why real estate pros can look forward to next year:

1. There’s greater optimism about increasing home values.

2. More new households are forming.

3. Home shoppers are feeling a greater sense of urgency.

4. Home ownership remains a goal of members of the Millennial generation.

5. Foreclosure starts are falling to pre-housing-bust levels.

6. Interest rates should remain low through next year’s selling season.

7. Loan demand for home purchases is climbing.

8. More Americans say it’s a good time to sell.

9. The number of improving housing markets is going up.

10. Job creation is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the commercial sector.

11. Housing starts are picking up as builder confidence increases.

12. As housing values rise and equity returns, fewer home owners are underwater.

13. Real estate is contributing to an overall economic recovery.

That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. Lending remains tight, there’s a large foreclosure backlog, and regulatory challenges and the fiscal cliff loom ahead. But on balance, real estate appears to have a bright future in 2013.