Thursday, July 11, 2013

Is Tucson a Buyers', Sellers' or Balanced Market?

I just saw this question on Trulia. Whether a real estate market favors buyers, sellers or is a balanced market is not a matter of opinion.

Just the facts, Ma'am.

When there is a six month supply of listings, the market is balanced. When the supply of listings is more than six months, it is a buyers' market. When it is less than six months, it is a sellers' market.

In June we had 1,399 residential sales in the Tucson Multiple Listing Service. Sales = buyers = demand = high.

In June we had 3,953 listings. Listings = sellers = supply = low.

3,953 listings divided by 1,399 sales = 2.83 month inventory of listings. Definitely a strong sellers' market.

A little history lesson puts this in perspective. June 2005 saw the most sales ever in Tucson. 3,969 listings divided by 1,890 sales = 2.10 month inventory. Notice that the number of listings for sale now is LOWER than it was in June 2005. Amazing.

In April 2007, banks were dumping foreclosed properties with bogus mortgages on the market as fast as they could. An extremely short-sighted and destructive policy, but apparently no one manned the brakes of that train wreck. We had 10,387 listings and 1,318 sales. A 7.88 month inventory.

The banks were frantically foreclosing, collecting their mortgage insurance on the loss, and then practically giving away the foreclosed houses, dragging down the value of the neighboring houses in the process. The artificially depressed property values caused more people to be under water on their mortgages, even people who put 20% down and made every payment on time. These conscientious, responsible homeowners were and continue to be the housing bubble train wreck victims to this day.

Even with all these fire sale foreclosures, average price in Tucson peaked at $293,443 in June 2007. The real estate bubble burst in July 2007, starting with the collapse of Tucson's own huge national mortgage lender, First Magnus Financial.

In January 2009, we only had 615 sales, the lowest in the past ten years. There were 7,964 listings. A 13 month inventory.

It surprised no one except the banks when prices continued to slide until September 2011, when we hit bottom with an average sale price of $150,699. 

Tucson's average sale price in June 2013 was $196,376, an incredible 30% increase in the past 21 months.  You can see for yourself at the Tucson Association of Realtors website: Residential Sale Statistics for June 2013. Prices continue to rise. A new, but familiar, kind of madness ensues.

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