Starting with the basic ARMLS numbers for October 1, 2017 and comparing them with October 1, 2016 for all areas & types:
- Active Listings (excluding UCB): 18,161 versus 20,153 last year – down 9.9% – but up 3.9% from 17,486 last month
- Active Listings (including UCB): 21,783 versus 24,101 last year – down 9.6% – but up 2.0% compared with 21,355 last month
- Pending Listings: 5,766 versus 6,065 last year – down 4.9% – and down 3.9% from 6,002 last month
- Under Contract Listings (including Pending, CCBS & UCB): 9,388 versus 10,013 last year – down 6.2% – and down 4.9% from 9,871 last month
- Monthly Sales: 7,470 versus 7,415 last year – up 0.7% – but down 9.5% from 8,258 last month
- Monthly Average Sales Price per Sq. Ft.: $149.28 versus $142.00 last year – up 5.1% – but down 0.2% from $149.61 last month
- Monthly Median Sales Price: $241,000 versus $230,000 last year – up 4.8% – and down 1.6% from $244,900 last month
Supply remains lower than last year, and the gap opened up slightly compared with last month. We do have more supply than last month, but not as much more as we would normally expect at the time of year. Last month we were seeing more new listings but this trend quickly petered out and so far in 2017 we are up only 1.15% for new listings over this time in 2016. Overall, the supply remains chronically weak and there is little sign of any improvement.
Demand has been slightly weakening for several months now and at first sight it looks slightly weaker again at the start of October, although when supply is poor, it can be very hard to detect weakening demand out there in the market because there is enough demand to soak up all the supply and then some. The monthly sales rate is up only 0.7% compared with September 2016. This is the smallest annual increase since July 2016. However September 2016 had 21 working days, one more than September 2017. This is a 4.8% disadvantage for 2017, meaning that the calendar month comparison is very misleading. The real difference between the sales rate now and last year is more like 5.5% when a like for like comparison is made. This is actually an improvement on the year over year comparison we made last month.
Pending listing counts and under contract counts are weaker than last year as well as last month. For quite some time we have been seeing weak counts although sales counts have stayed high. This is partly because more listings are being added to ARMLS and closed the same day. These listings count as closed sales but were never active, pending or UCB. In effect, agents are documenting pocket listings after the fact in order that their sales statistics are seen in the best light. These were really off-MLS sales.
Pricing went backwards during September, continuing the 3Q trend until the very end of the month which is unusual. We normally see pricing trends turn positive during September rather than October. The average $/SF for pending listings has gone up 1.1% over the past 30 days so we are pretty confident that October will see more positive results for pricing.
Price trends remain weakest for the high end of the market and despite much stronger sales numbers than last year, the top end remains over-supplied. This is not unique to Central Arizona as we see similar weakness in luxury pricing across most of the USA. The low-end and mid-range still have price momentum and given the deterioration in supply, especially in the Southeast Valley, we expect that to continue for some time.