There’s always something to howl about

Archive for April, 2006

Market-Basket of Homes: Values up 1.97% in March

Home values were up a substantial 1.97% in the March 2006 Market-Basket of Homes. Average sales prices were up more than $5,000, from $260,645 in February to $265,778 in March. Values are still down slightly more than $4,000 from the December 2004 high of $269,875. Market-Basket homes spent an average of 62 days on market, up four days from February.

The month’s activity was actually stronger than the raw numbers indicate, with many homes selling at or above list price. A few deeply-discounted properties pulled down the average, but average discounting netted out to only 1.37%, down from 1.42% in February.

A total of 189 Market-Basket homes were sold in March, up from 145 in February. As noted in January and February, the early months of 2006 very strongly resemble the first quarter of 2004. The one significant difference is that overall inventories are substantially higher. For example, there are now 1,209 homes available for sale in the Market-Basket, which would imply an absorption rate of 6.4 months. A six-month absorption rate is considered normal.

“If the Spring selling season is everything it should be,” said Broker Greg Swann, “then we have no problem. Right now there seem to be a lot more sellers than buyers, and the religious holidays in April could slow things down. But if the market heats up with the weather, we should be fine.”

Based on the idea of the Consumer Price Index market-basket of goods and services, the Market-Basket of Homes uses average sales prices for a small subset of all Valley home sales to get a clearer idea of what is happening in the middle of the bell curve. The alternative method, striking a median among all closed transactions, introduces too many extraneous factors to provide a reliable indicator of what is happening to prices for those homes that are most avidly desired by the greatest number of people. To that end, the Market-Basket of Homes looks at sales prices for MLS-listed suburban homes from 1300sf to 1900sf built in 1998 or later, the homes that drive the resale market.

The Market-Basket of Homes is updated monthly and is always available at

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At last, the truth…

A nice interview in this morning’s Republic with Doug Fulton of Fulton Homes. Fulton scouts out and shoots down The Mole:

Question: How do you see the market now?

Answer: This is just a small correction that needed to happen. The velocity (of sales), the appreciation of the homes, was not sustainable. Last year was a complete anomaly. It’s not normal. You can’t compare last year to anything. When people say, “Gee, last February there were 4,600 houses on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and this March, there’s 36,000,” you’re just comparing apples and oranges. It’s a different marketplace. Completely.

Q: Isn’t that how you typically compare, looking at last year?

A: Go to ’04. Go to ’03. You’ll see that there were 30,000-plus in the same time frame.

Fulton also points out that builders were lying in 2004 when they named their reasons, dutifully transcribed by the Republic, for excluding investors from new home subdivisions:

Q: Why is that? Supposedly, the home builders weeded out all the investors.

A: Not until probably August, September of ’05. We started doing it because we saw what happened in Las Vegas in the investor market, which was people closing on their homes and competing with the still-open model home complex and undercutting you by $10,000 and still making tons of money. . . . We were creating our own feeding frenzy. People were standing in line because of the increases. If you slowed down your increases, it slowed down sales. Tell me that isn’t scary. . . . The key wasn’t so much the overall price as much as the increasing price. . . . Some people thought the price increases would never stop.

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Sating the State’s OPM addiction…

Question: what does it mean when the Arizona Republic publishes–count ’em–one, two, three, four, five, six, seven articles and one, two editorials on the same subject on the same day?

Answer: Put your hand on your wallet. A brand new campaign of larceny has begun…

Never is heard a discouraging word, it goes without saying. This is propaganda, not news. I could name dozens of reasons why this is a poor idea, but what would be the point? Arizona is by now nothing but an echo chamber. When it comes to the palpable stench of corruption, we hear only from people with no sense of smell…

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