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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Another news drought?

Catherine Reagor in the Arizona Republic asks, "Another price dip?":
Valley resales figures for February are due out this week. And early analysis from Arizona State University's Real Estate Center shows the median price might have dipped slightly again.

In January the median price of all resales was $257,000. They hit a high of $263,000 in September.
Might have dipped? Readers here have known since March 3rd that prices were down in February. As we reported last week, values are up for the month of March so far and for 2006 year-to-date. However: Around half of all residential real estate transactions close in the last ten days of the month. The numbers have been volatile so far, and we still could end the month on a down note. Days on Market is keeping pace with February, so far, at an average of 57 days. A total of 97 transactions have closed so far. This information is current as of 6:45am Sunday, when no one at either ASU or the Republic is working.

It's important to remember that both our analysis and ASU's are trailing indicators. The houses that close in March will have gone under contract in February and before, for the most part. In consequence, while reports of past results offer a general guide to the health of the real estate market, they don't tell us very much about what is happening right now. Of course, the relative lack of utility of the numbers is substantially enhanced by ASU's dilatory habits, but you can always turn to the Market-Basket of Homes for a better, much earlier snapshot of the marketplace.

posted by Greg Swann | 6:44 AM  


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