Phoenix Housing Market Remains Flat

July 10, 2014

A new report said Valley home prices were flat again in May. Sales have dropped by as much as 20 percent in the past year.

Last year at this time, the Valley housing market was like a knock-down, drag out battle. 

There were so few homes on the market that buyers were forced to engage in intense bidding wars, often with investors who came loaded with cash. 

But the pendulum has now swung in the opposite direction. A new report Thursday from Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business shows Valley buyers purchased 20 percent fewer homes in May than they did last year, despite the fact that they had almost 70 percent more homes on the market to choose from.

It’s a trend that’s been ongoing for months. The median home price has been stuck around $205,000 as a result. 

ASU housing researcher Michael Orr said there are many reasons why buyers, especially younger ones, aren’t pulling the trigger. The biggest is because of how hard it’s become to get a mortgage.

“That’s probably the most important thing in controlling demand, really," Orr said. "The finance companies, lenders have their hand on the spigot of supply and if they were to just twist that a little bit there could be quite a significant uptick in the number of buyers looking.”

Orr said lenders are already talking about easing their underwriting standards, which is a reminder that nothing in real estate, especially in Phoenix, is ever permanent.