Greater Phoenix real estate update

By The AZ Market

The pandemic created involuntary savings. People simply couldn’t spend the way they had in the past, and all of a sudden they had money for a down payment. Along with historic low mortgage rates and the ability to work remotely; the extra savings enabled super strong demand. As the economy opens up and people are able to spend their money on more services like concerts, eating out, and traveling the buyer demand is likely to subside modestly. Today’s ideal demographics (see last week’s post for details) will keep replacement buyers steady through 2024. As the demand fades to slightly elevated from crazy hot, the market will return to normal sales cycles.

Despite movement towards normal, sales prices continue to grow. While yes, inventory has increased, locally it remains over 77% below normal and demand has decreased, it is still over 8% above normal. This supply/demand imbalance is so severe, it will take years to correct, and is why sales prices continue increasing at an appreciation rate of nearly 22%, year over year.

Bull versus Bubble:

There is a difference between a bull market and a bubble market. Real estate experts agree, we are currently in a bull market. Here are some basic indicators to illustrate the differences:

  • Is it true or false demand? Are the properties occupied by either renters or owners? True demand is when people are living in the property. False demand is when investors park money in the asset with no plans of using the property. Today homes are lived in.
  • Are rents increasing with sales prices? Rents, like sales prices, increase with greater demand and less supply and decrease with less demand and increased supply. Rental rates decreased during 2004-2006 and today they are increasing faster than sales prices in greater Phoenix. There are some markets, like San Francisco, where rents are falling while sales prices are increasing indicating the market is overvalued.
  • Huge increases of speculative buying on credit (bubble) versus cash buyers and down-payment buyers (bull).
  • What are the fraud levels? The higher the fraud levels, the higher the likelihood of a bubble market. If you were in the business during 2004-2006, chances are good you know someone in prison. Today, there are exhausted buyers and sellers who are unsure where they will go; the price appreciation is based on supply and demand, not collusion.

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