DEC 31, 2012 10:12am ET

Sales of Existing Homes in the Phoenix Area on the Rise

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Sales of existing houses and condos in the Phoenix area rose to the highest level for a November in seven years, while the median price paid for all homes sold in the region was the highest in more than four years, DataQuick reported.

Buyers paid a median $167,500 for all new and resale houses and condos sold during November in the combined Maricopa-Pinal counties metro area, the highest level since the median was $175,000 in October 2008. The November median rose 4.7% from October and rose 31.9% from November 2011. It was the median's 12th consecutive month with a year-over-year gain, according to San Diego-based DataQuick, which tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

The November median was 39.4% below the Phoenix area's all-time peak of $264,100 in June 2006, but it was 41.5% higher than the median’s post-peak trough of $118,347 in August 2011.

The year-over-year gains in the region's median sale price since March—ranging from 13.8% to 32.2%—reflect several trends.

Prices have risen as greater demand has met a relatively low supply of homes for sale. But the median has also been pushed higher by a big shift in the types of homes selling this year compared with last. More homes selling today are higher-cost move-up homes and fewer are lower-cost foreclosed properties.

The continuing decline in the number of lender-repossessed properties on the market this year helps explain the smaller inventory of homes for sale.

Foreclosure resales, defined as homes that were foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, fell to 17.2% of all the homes that resold in November. That was the lowest level for any month since December 2007, when foreclosure resales were 15.3% of the resale market.

November’s foreclosure resale level was down from 19% the month before and 43% a year earlier. At their peak in March 2009, foreclosure resales represented 66.2% of all the homes sold in the Phoenix area.

Last month a total of 8,525 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the two-county Phoenix region, down 3.8% from the month before and up 9.8% from a year earlier, DataQuick said.

The last time total sales for the month of November were higher was in 2009, when 8,544 new and resale houses and condos sold.

However, the number of houses and condos that resold (excludes new homes) this November was the highest for any November since 2005.

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