AZ home buyers could bust out in 2015

Pent-up demand

By Philip Haldiman, EPent-up demandditor-in-Chief | The Dealmaker

The housing market may be flat in the Valley, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t people ready to buy.

Traffic levels at local sales offices indicate that there’s a pent-up demand to enter the housing market, according to research by Belfiore Real Estate Consulting and Benchmark Research Technologies.

Home shoppers have proven difficult — unwilling, unready, or unable to sign on the dotted line in 2014, but traffic levels, and recent interviews of shoppers suggest buyers want to buy but are being held back by a number of issues, said President Jim Belfiore.

These include lack of down payments, needing to sell a resale home, and being unable to find the right floorplan in the right community, he said.

“The demand is there, but people are holding back,” Belfiore said. “This is largely because of financial issues but confidence is building.”

Research shows that traffic levels remain similar or better than levels reported last year and levels not seen since late 2006 and early 2007.

Belfiore said traffic has moved up in three of the four Metro Phoenix Area regions over the last two months.

“That speaks to the pent-up demand,” he said. “But it’s not converting into sales. The interest is there, though. The data suggests the market should be performing much better. In 2015, I expect the housing market will recover financially and people will gain the financial resources to make a purchase.”

Sharon Ruby, director of strategic marketing for Pulte, said she would classify the Phoenix-area differently.

The Pulte community is more likely an oversupplied market, as opposed to one having pent-up demand, she said.

Active store count grew in the Phoenix market from 352 as of September 2013 to 457 as of September 2014, a 30 percent increase, she said.

“With the rather large amount of land acquisition spent by several new home builders back in 2012-2013, these builders are now bringing on several new communities,” she said. “Considering permits and closings are both down from 2013, the extra new home supply is causing a difficult housing market.”

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