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RealtyTrac: Arizona Real Estate Is In A Strange Place

The real estate data company RealtyTrac said the housing market in Arizona is in a strange place in between hurting and healthy. It found that sales last month were down 13 percent from December 2012, but the prices of homes in Arizona went up.

“We’re showing (that) in Phoenix, the median price of a home in December (2013) was up 23 percent from a year ago. That continues a long string of median home price increases we’ve been seeing there in Phoenix now, including December, for 24 consecutive months," said RealtyTrac Vice President Daren Blomquist.

Blomquist’s firm also found that Arizona had the fourth-highest percentage in the nation of bank-owned homes sold in December.

“We’re kind on this strange in-between period, in between a distressed market and a healthy market," he said.

But while sales were down, median home prices were almost 20 percent higher year over year, and Blomquist also said Arizona saw fewer sales to investors, which he said is a good sign that the recovery in the state’s real estate market is broad-based.

Nationwide, the volume of housing sales is up 10 percent year over year, according to RealtyTrac. Blomquist said the year-end sales report shows a market that is on the upswing.

“But still a very high percentage of homeowners who are underwater. Our data shows in the range of 30 to 40 percent of homeowners still have negative equity," Blomquist said.

Nick Blumberg was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2014.