Saturday, February 14, 2015

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 Foreclosures hit a 20-month high both in Phoenix and Arizona as a whole in January.

Senior Reporter- Phoenix Business Journal
Foreclosures hit a 20-month high both in Phoenix and Arizona as a whole in January.
Foreclosures jumped more than 100 percent in January compared to December both in Phoenix and statewide, according to new numbers today from RealtyTrac.
Foreclosure activity both locally and statewide are at 20-month highs as banks step up their repossessions, auctions and filing of default notices.
Phoenix saw a 45 percent increase in January foreclosures compared a year earlier, according to the real estate research firm.
Foreclosure auctions in Arizona were up 37 percent in January, also a 20-month high. Bank repossessions are up 61 percent, according to RealtyTrac.
Those same repossessions are up 58 percent in Phoenix.
There were more than 2,300 homes and condos in the foreclosure process last month. That is up 104 percent from December.
Statewide that increase is 109 percent from January 2014.
The jump in foreclosures comes as the Phoenix housing market tries to shake off a slow 2014 where low demand for homes and tough mortgage qualifications stymied sales.
Foreclosure activity was also up in states such as Ohio, New Jersey, Maryland and California and metropolitan areas such as St. Louis, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The worst cities for foreclosures include Atlantic City, Las Vegas and eight Florida markets including Tampa, Orlando, Miami and Jacksonville.
"The year-over-year increase in REOs in January was the first annual increase nationwide following 25 consecutive months of declines, getting the foreclosure spring cleaning we anticipated in our last foreclosure report off to a quick start in 2015," said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Meanwhile, the number of future foreclosure auctions scheduled in January continued to increase in many states, foreshadowing more foreclosure spring cleaning to come in the next several months in those states."
Mike Sunnucks writes about residential and commercial real estate, government, law, sports business and workplace issues.

Housing ended 2014 on slow note; Phoenix home starts down 15 percent

Senior Reporter- Phoenix Business Journal
Housing starts ended 2014 down 15 percent across Phoenix while new home sales were off 10 percent and existing sales fell 8 percent as the local residential market slogs into 2015.
RL Brown Housing Reports says 2014 fell short in terms of volume. The regional housing market is challenged by demand stunted by slow population growth, tougher mortgage standards and plenty of borrowers preferring to be or stuck in rentals because of poor credit and past foreclosures.
The average price of a new home last year in the Valley was $351,196, up 1.5 percent, according to RL Brown.
The average price of an existing home was $247,825, up 1 percent. But there are plenty of real estate analysts and agents who note the overall price gains are spurred more by some high-end home sales than price gains across segments.
Another local real estate expert, Jim Belfiore at Belfiore Real Estate Consulting, also expects some housing challenges to persist in at least the first half of this year. Belfiore notes the slip in demand challenges and can create oversupply issues for home builders.
Belfiore does note home builders are seeing some indications that demand could improve this year.
That could be especially true with new subdivisions geared toward seniors in so-called "active adult communities."

Rents dip in Phoenix even as more units hit market

Senior Reporter- Phoenix Business Journal
Dec 31, 2014, 12:12pm MST

Rents dip in Phoenix even as more units hit market.
Apartment rents have dropped in the Phoenix metro area even as more new units are entering the market. Still, the RealtyTrac real estate research firm said it's a better deal to buy a house under current conditions than it is to rent an apartment.
That's if a borrower can qualify for a mortgage.
Three-bedroom apartments rented on average for $1,338 per month in Phoenix during this fiscal year, according to RealtyTrac and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That is down 5 percent from $1,410 last year.
Rents also declined in Dallas, Las Vegas, Houston, Tucson and Los Angeles. Texas and Southern California — like Phoenix — have seen plenty of new apartment developments. There are more units in the construction pipeline and planning stages and numerous sales this year of older complexes.
Conversely, apartment rental prices increased in markets such as Chicago, Denver and Seattle.
RealtyTrac estimates it takes 33 percent of the median income in Phoenix to rent a three-bedroom apartment compared to 27 percent to afford the Valley's median home price ($188,040). That's after all of the tax advantages are factor into the mix. Still, many borrowers cannot qualify for home loans because of poor credit, previous foreclosures and tighter lending standards.
Median home prices increased 4 percent in Phoenix this year, according to the real estate data company. That is not as strong as home value improvements in California, Texas and Florida.

Phoenix homes among most overvalued in the country

Dec 29, 2014, 6:05am MST Updated: Dec 29, 2014, 7:27am MST

Fitch Ratings says Phoenix-area homes are some of the most overvalued in the country.

Digital Producer- Phoenix Business Journal
If you've thought home prices in Phoenix seem a bit high, you're not alone.
In a new report, bond-rating agency Fitch Ratings says Phoenix-area homes are some of the most overvalued in the country, reports The Arizona Republic. The fifth most overvalued, in fact -- more than pricey California markets Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Metro Phoenix homes are roughly 16 percent overvalued, according to Fitch. The agency pegs Arizona as among the six priciest states.
Statewide, Arizona home prices are 10 to 15 percent overvalued, according to Fitch. That puts it in the same vein as California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada and Texas.
Phoenix housing was undervalued in 2011, according to the rating agency. The market was sustainably valued in 2012 and 10 to 15 percent overvalued in 2013.
Besides Phoenix, the rest of Fitch's top 10 overvalued cities are in California, Texas or Florida, with hipster hub Austin ranked at the top. Fitch estimates homes in the Texas capital are 20 percent overvalued, followed by energy boomtown Houston, whose homes are overvalued by 19 percent, according to Fitch.

The world may not be flat, but Phoenix's housing market is

Dec 16, 2014, 1:53pm MST Updated: Dec 16, 2014, 2:07pm MST
The Phoenix housing market will end the year on a flat note.

Digital Producer- Phoenix Business Journal
This year will go down as a generally flat one for the greater Phoenix housing market.
That's according to the latest report from Arizona State University real-estate guru Michael Orr, who noted that demand remains lower than a year ago.
Sales of single-family homes fell 5 percent from October 2013 to October 2014, with activity among first-time home buyers particularly low.
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The report cites the usual culprits of potential buyers carrying tarnished credit histories from the recession and the fact that 20-somethings continue to forgo home purchases.
"We've seen very little change in the greater Phoenix housing market for the last year, and stability is the order of the day," said Orr.
Coincidentally, these are the same reasons the rental market is strong, according to the report.
Rents have risen 3.7 percent during the past year and likely will continue to climb next year.
Despite the challenges of the market during the past year, the median home price still rose 4 percent from October 2013 to October 2014, rising from $200,000 to $208,000.
Also, Orr noted the market is seeing a small bump in investor interest and new-home sales.
The percentage of residential properties bought by investors hit 15.5 percent, the highest level since May, but still well below last year's levels, according to Orr's report.
"Investors and out-of-state buyers are showing a small recovery in buying interest, but to get our market back to what we would consider normal will still require a major increase in demand from local first-time home buyers," Orr said.
New homes are faring better of late, with their share of sales up to 14 percent. That's the same level as it was in October 2013.

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