What concerns readers about metro Phoenix’s housing market

By Catherine Reagor | Arizona Republic

People watching metro Phoenix’s housing market appear to be most concerned about rapidly rising home prices sparked by bidding wars and the potential for another housing market bust.

Metro Phoenix’s median home price is poised to hit a record $400,000 in June, up almost $100,000 from a year ago.

Here are some of the questions and answers from readers during an azcentral.com Q&A with me Wednesday.

Question: Do you think the metro Phoenix housing market is currently in a bubble?

Answer: I talk to housing experts about this all the time. After the crash of 2008-11, it’s an important gut check. I don’t think we are in a bubble because of the many differences between now and then.

One big difference is the Valley’s housing market isn’t being driven by speculators like it was during boom of 2004-06. Then, almost 40% of all homes were bought by investors, and now it’s much less.

Also, the bad subprime loans of that boom are long gone.

Q: How many owner-occupied buyers are there versus investors?

A: Owner-occupied buyers were behind about 70 to 80% of metro Phoenix home sales during the past year. That’s a good thing for the market. Many are paying cash or buying with big down payments.

In May, institutional investors were behind about 5% of Valley home sales. During the crash, those big investors bought the majority of bargain foreclosure homes, but that’s not happening now.

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