PHOENIX ( TheStreet ) -- Boosted by tax credits, Phoenix region home sales rose 11 percent in June compared with May, but they fell short of a year ago for the second consecutive month.
The median sale price essentially held steady month to month but rose above the year-ago level for the fourth month in a row as sales of $200,000-plus homes rose and the share of sales that were foreclosed properties fell, a real estate information service reported. Last month a total of 10,430 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the combined Maricopa-Pinal counties metropolitan area. That was up 11.2 percent from the month before but down 2.8 percent from a year earlier, according to MDA DataQuick of San Diego, which tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records. Last month's total resales -- existing houses and condos combined -- rose 8.5 percent month-to-month but fell 5.9 percent below a year ago. However, while sales of existing detached houses declined 8.5 percent year over year, resale condos logged a 17.5 percent increase over a year earlier. The number of newly built homes sold in June rose 35.1 percent compared with May and rose 26.9 percent from a year ago. Still, last month's new-home sales were the second-lowest for a June in more than a decade as builders continued to struggle to compete with low-cost distressed sales. Buyers paid a median $139,500 last month for all new and resale houses and condos that closed escrow in the Phoenix metro area, up 0.4 percent from May and up 7.3 percent from $130,000 a year ago. It was the fourth consecutive month in which the median has risen year-over-year. Prior to February, the median had fallen on a year-over-year basis for 36 consecutive months. The June median was still 47.2 percent short of the peak $264,100 median reached in June 2006. Last month's figure was the highest for any month so far this year, but it was lower than the 12-month high for the median, which was $142,700 last November. The post-housing-boom low for the median was $125,000 in April 2009.
The median paid last month for resale single-family detached houses was $135,875, down 1.5 percent from May but up 8.7 percent from a year earlier. It was the fifth consecutive month in which the median for resale houses rose year-over-year. However, last month's figure was still 49.3 percent lower than the $268,000 peak in June 2006. The median paid for resale condos in June was $89,900, down 8.3 percent from May and down 13.6 percent from a year earlier. The June resale condo median was 51.8 percent lower than the $186,500 peak in June 2007. The annual gains in various price measures indicate widening price stability or price pressures in some segments of the market, especially in the more affordable areas most in demand among first-time buyers and investors. But the regional median has also been influenced by shifts in the types of homes selling. One of the biggest changes in the mix of sales this year versus last year is the decline in foreclosure resales: Last month they represented 47.4 percent of the resale market, compared with 60.8 percent a year earlier. The peak for foreclosure resales was 66.2 percent in March 2009. With the impact of government stimulus fading fast, the future direction of the Phoenix-area housing market will depend in large part on the strength of the local job market. Also critical will be the magnitude and timing of future foreclosures and other types of distress sales, as well as the number of willing and able investors and first-time buyers, who've been driving most of the sales activity.