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Phoenix New Home Sales See Best Month Since 2008

luxury home scottsdale
(Photo by Christina Estes - KJZZ)
The view from a master bedroom in Scottsdale's Desert Mountain community.

The latest housing report from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows new home sales were up 48 percent in December 2015 compared to December 2014.

The most activity has been taking place in the mid-range market which includes homes priced between $250,000 and $500,000, according to Michael Orr of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice. 

“The biggest areas for new homes are in north Peoria, East Mesa and Gilbert," he said. "Those are the areas with the strongest numbers at the moment.” 

Orr said the biggest challenge involves homes priced below the $235,000 median price. Not many builders make those and many existing homes are being rented, leaving a tight supply for would-be buyers.  

“The sellers that are having the most difficulty are those who have higher end homes where there’s a lot of competition from other sellers and a fairly muted demand at the moment," he said.

Overall, he said the market is healthy. 

Here are other findings from the report that Orr authored:

  • The market share for new single-family homes climbed to 19.1 percent in December, by far the highest reading since 2008. 
  • Pricing for single-family homes rose again with the median sales price increasing 9.2 percent from $215,000 in December 2014 to $234,850. This rise was partly caused by a surge in sales of newly constructed homes.
  • The percentage of residences in Maricopa County sold to owners from outside Arizona was 14 percent in December, down from 15.3 percent in November and well below 17.4 percent in December 2014. 
  • Second home purchases made up 14.1 percent of sales in December 2014, a significant decline in second home activity compared with a year ago. This December’s percentage is the lowest for December since the affidavits started recording this information in 2012.
  • Non-distressed single-family resales rose 11 percent from December 2014 to December 2015. Non-distressed townhouse and condo resales rose 17 percent from December 2014 to December 2015.

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.