Saturday, April 09, 2005

Housing market may cool

Betty Beard
The Arizona Republic

Ahwatukee Foothills saw median home prices grow 31 percent in the first quarter of the year, to hit $280,000, keeping prices in the community the highest in the southeast Valley.

But there are hints that the market may be changing.

It appears to take longer to sell homes.

There seem to be more "for sale" or "for sale by owner signs," and there are indications that homes may be overpriced.

But it also will take another quarter or two to show what is really happening, said Jay Butler, director of the Arizona Real Estate Center at Arizona State University.

""That always occurs in a market like this," Butler said.

"You get a little carried away by the price of the home, and the overpriced stuff stays on the market. There are indications (that is happening), but nothing in evidence yet."

The average number of days a southeast Valley home was on the market jumped from six days in January to 35 in February, according to the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.

Butler said that could be because lenders are getting more concerned about whom they lend to or it could simply mean "there are so many homes being sold, it takes longer to get through the process."

The latest housing resale numbers from the center compare the first quarter with the first quarter last year.

The number of sales grew to 545 from 450.

The $280,000 was an increase from $213,450 last year.

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