Everyone with an eye on real estate has been searching the last few months for a definitive trend in the housing market. Was good news during the past few months an anomaly or a true indicator of things finally heading in the right direction?

Interesting news today came from the National Association of Realtors who announced that home sales advanced to an annual rate of 4.97 million units which is good for the highest level since November 2009. Resales were up 9.7% since last April. The reason sales aren’t even higher? Tight inventory. The lack of inventory isn’t just a Scottsdale problem, or a Metro Phoenix problem – it’s national.

Some other stats from today’s announcement:

• Median sales prices have increased overall by 11% to $192,800 – highest since August 2008.
• Overall 5.2 months’ supply in the US.
• More sellers are being wooed back into the market by rising prices.

Proportionately, RealtyTrac announced very encouraging numbers in the distressed property marketplace, with foreclosures down in dramatic fashion. Foreclosure filings decreased 5% in April, down 23% overall since April 2012.

Other findings in the RealtyTrac April 2013 US Foreclosure Market Report:

• Judicial foreclosure auctions increased 22% and up 31% from April 2012, a 30-month high. This means the backlog of foreclosures in mandatory court states is finally pushing through.
Non-judicial foreclosure auctions were down 7% from March and 43% overall from April 2012 to their lowest level since December 2005.
• 70,133 properties started the foreclosure process in April, down 28% from April 2012.
• 34,997 foreclosed properties in April is down 32% from April 2012 to their lowest level since July 2007.

The RealtyTrac study also found that 26% (11.5 million) of outstanding US mortgages are still underwater, although the report also states this number is 1.5 million less than April 2012.

What does this mean locally? This much is true – we will continue to see less and less REO, or bank-owned, inventory. We will continue to see short sales. Infill land for redevelopment will stay smoking hot. My guess is that we will see an upward trend of traditional sellers back into the marketplace to take advantage of our 30+% value increase. Look for more projects being submitted to planning and zoning boards. Later this year I see more of a demand for raw land at their current cheap prices, and we may begin to see the investors who were first in back in 2009 start to sell off and realize their gains.

We specialize in the residential marketplace, distressed properties, and raw land. Contact us today to discuss a strategy to help you take advantage of the current real estate climate.

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