Dips in March Home Sales and Prices Point to Stronger Potential Ahead, Says Report


News that Maricopa County led the nation in population growth last year bolstered Phoenix REALTORS expectations for solid sales through the rest of 2023. March residential real estate numbers are showing stable and slight upswing potential, according to a recent report from Phoenix REALTORS.

“We’re in a unique situation in Maricopa County. Nearly 200 people daily are moving into Greater Phoenix, and the inventory is still limited while demand is strong,” said Butch Leiber, president of the Phoenix REALTORS board of directors. “Year-over-year housing numbers look weak, especially given the drastic shift from May to December 2022, but the trend behind the numbers is shifting upward.”

In single-family homes, new listings were down 29.9% over last year, with closed sales down 25.4% in the same period. The average sales price dropped 6.1% to $588,444 from 12 months earlier. Data show that while May 2022 was the peak housing sales month, January and February 2023 are at the bottom. In month-over-month data, the numbers are trending higher.

“Homes are selling for less than asking price, a change from a year ago,” said Leiber. “In March, that percentage of list price received rose to 97.9%.”

Inventories for townhomes and condominiums are down 28% compared to last year’s data, but the units selling are gaining an average premium of almost 3%.

“The trends of the last three months show that perhaps the worst is behind us and that the market is coming closer to where it should realistically be,” said Leiber. “The last few years, Phoenix enjoyed an extraordinary run, but now we see the market normalizing. I believe we’ve seen the worst of it as we head out of the eye of the storm.”

As the number of days on the market is trending up from 30 days in March 2022 to 75 days in March 2023, so are new listings and pending sales, which have seen a 29.7% decline and 44% decline respectively. Closed sales have also experienced a 25.7% dip from last year.

While the frenzied real estate market is settling into where it should be, there is still positive activity. The Phoenix economy is strong; more high-value jobs are entering the market, and a new population is moving in.

In fact, most of the population growth in Maricopa County came from new population rather than organic growth, which means that the demand is likely to increase as new families move into the area. Maricopa also topped the nation in in-migration and ranked on the lower end of other large counties for population growth from births over deaths.

According to U.S. Census Bureau annual population estimates, almost 73,000 people moved into Maricopa and Pinal counties last year. Maricopa County led the nation with nearly 57,000 new residents in 2022 over 2021, an increase of over 111,000 from 2020.  Pinal County added over 16,000 in year-over-year data and just shy of 35,000 in 2022 compared to 2020.

Almost 49,000 new residents chose Maricopa County as their new home in 2022, compared with just over 7,800 net natural population growth. The county ranked tenth in the nation in international migration attracting about one in three people from a foreign country to the county. In the most recent data, 2021, the Census Bureau said Asia was the source of more new residents than Mexico and Canada combined. Net migration was almost seven times faster than organic population growth, with the number of deaths subtracted from the number of births.

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