Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Phoenix real estate market analysis

Each week I pull data from the MLS to do some analysis, and each week I look for the bright spots - give me something to make me believe we've hit bottom & the market is picking back up. Well, unfortunately this isn't that week!

I'm looking at the number of Sold listings compared to the number of Expired listings, using a rolling 6-month average, and I'm struck by both the direction and the consistency of the trend. The last upward tick was in June. Since then, there has been a steady, consistent trend, week after week, of there being more Expired listings as a percentage of Sold listings. Last summer there were more than three Sold listings for each listing which Expired. Then we trended all the way through the "twos". Today there are 1.74 Sold listings for each Expired.

This could mean that there have been fewer Sales, meaning sales have been slowing down each month during this time. This could mean there have been more Expireds, meaning more listings have been on the market for six months (or whatever time period they originally agreed to) without getting a contract for sale. Or, this could mean both of the above are true.. And it looks like this third option is the case.

Granted, the market has been slowing down all year, and I am using a rolling 6-month set of data. Obviously my numbers are going to show the decline. The question is, can we have an uptick without my numbers showing it? In theory, yes we can, although it would only be for a short time period before my numbers show a leveling off or an uptick. But that would require the more recent numbers to be better than previous weeks', and that isn't the case so far.

Lots of experts are talking about the bottom being near, but the numbers aren't bearing that out quite yet. I think it's safe to assume more of the same, at least for a little while longer. Sellers - go ahead and pull out all the stops, you have to be better than your competitions. Buyers - you still have some time to "kick tires" and look for great deals, but remember, not every seller out there is desperate and willing to accept an under-market offer.

-Chris