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Sales of Phoenix luxury homes hit 6-year high

TEMPE, AZ (CBS5) -

Phoenix-area home prices are up dramatically since they hit a low point in September 2011, with sales of luxury homes hitting a six-year high, according to a new ASU real estate report.

The median price for a single-family home went up 26.7 percent - from $150,000 to $190,000 - between June 2012 and this June. The average price per square foot jumped 21.1 percent over the same time.

The median price for condominiums/townhomes went up 38.9 percent to $125,000.

The findings are reported by the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business.

The tight supply of homes available for sale continues to drive prices upward, with multiple bids being offered for most resale homes in the lower price ranges.

The latest report finds that overall, the Phoenix-area market had 11,178 active single-family-home listings available without an existing contract as of July 1.

However, about 84 percent of those were priced above $150,000, leaving just 26 days worth of inventory for buyers at the lower end of the market.

New-home builders aren't completing houses fast enough to make a big dent in the supply problem. While analysts expected 17,000 construction permits to be issued this year, the area is only on track to have about 12,500, according to Mike Orr, the report's author.

The Phoenix area is also seeing less cheap, "distressed" supply coming onto the market. Completed foreclosures on homes and condos in June were down 61 percent from last June.

Foreclosure starts were down 64 percent. Foreclosure starts finally just dipped back below "normal" historical levels for the area this June.

Rental activity remains strong, with relatively low vacancy rates and no surge in vacancies expected. Orr said the supply of rental homes in the Phoenix area represents just about two months of inventory, and there's fast turnover.

[Related: Read the full report (PDF)]

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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