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November results point to continued erratic movement toward recovery in Flagstaff real estate

Flagstaff’s home sales activity in November reflects the ongoing slow economic recovery and general consumer uncertainty. More specifically, it reflects very little sales activity and very few Flagstaff homes for sale. Flagstaff homeowners are holding their properties off the market if they can, banks hold sway over fewer properties, and buyers are very tentative.

On one hand, the median price for home sales ($243,646) was down an eye-popping number from the October Flagstaff median home price and down 8.9% from a year earlier. On the other hand, sales volume was up 7.4% a year earlier and inventory of available Flagstaff homes for sale was down 37%.  A year ago, nearly 50% of the Flagstaff home sales were distressed properties. This November, 24.1% of the sales were either short sales or bank-owned properties. These facts tell us that the trend in prices will be up, but I caution that the numbers involved in these statistics are so small that percentage variations can be misleading.

Prices necessarily respond to supply and demand. For now, we’re not sure where demand is going. I have a little more certainty about supply – it’s not going up dramatically in 2013. Whether we have a price dip in the spring, as we’ve had in the last few years when many homeowners think it’s the right time to sell, depends a great deal on the overall economy, in my opinion, than the particular characteristics of the Flagstaff real estate market. If the economic outlook is good, the tentativeness we see among buyers interested in Flagstaff homes will vanish.

Chart of Flagstaff Home Sales for November 2012

 

As you can see from the chart, it remains very difficult to buy a Flagstaff home for less than $300,000.  The chart presents single-family residential sales. There are some new construction options and townhomes that make Flagstaff home ownership in the price range more available, but many people do not want to go the HOA/small-yard route.

In November, the median price of townhomes sold in Flagstaff was $216,000. Nine were sold, leaving just over five months’ supply on the market with the listings at the beginning of December. That suggests prices for townhomes are not about to fall. Indeed the new construction offerings, for which there is generally a wait, are tens-of-thousands above that median price.

It’s an interesting time to be in Flagstaff real estate.

To buy or sell any Flagstaff home, please contact me: Ann Heitland at RE/MAX Peak Properties.

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Note: The data reported here are based on home sales in the Flagstaff metro area (the City of Flagstaff and immediately surrounding county areas that have Flagstaff mailing addresses) as reported in the multiple-listing-service maintained by the Northern Arizona Association of Realtors.® The data may not reflect all sales (but it surely reflects most of them).