Phoenix Home Sales Up Year-Over-Year, While Foreclosures Slump

Phoenix-area home sales were higher than a year earlier for the sixth month in a row in October, while the number of properties foreclosed upon during the month fell to its lowest level since March 2008, San Diego-based DataQuick reports.

A total of 8,051 new and resale homes and condos closed escrow during the month in the combined Marciopa-Pinal counties metro area. While down 7% from September, the sales volume represents a 15.2% increase from October 2010. Total October home sales fell 13.5% below the average number sold in October since 1994, although DataQuick places the blame on the extremely low number of new-home sales. Resale volume, on the other hand, fared much better, ending the month at 5.5% higher than the historical average for October. In all, 7,382 of the homes sold in October were resale properties.

Home price indicators were mixed, DataQuick says. Sub-$100,000 deals rose 22% year-over-year, mid-market activity fell slightly and high-end sales posted a modest gain.

On the foreclosure front, lenders foreclosed 2,845 Phoenix-area homes, which is down 9.7% from September and down 39% from October 2010. During the first 10 months of this year, lenders foreclosed on 45,628 Phoenix-area homes – down 13.1% from the same period last year. The figures are based on the number of Trustees Deeds filed with county recorder offices. The document signals that a home was lost to foreclose.

The share of sales to absentee buyers rose, and the portion involving distressed properties edged lower, the data provider adds.

Absentee buyers, who include investors and vacation-home buyers, bought 44% of all Phoenix-area homes sold in October – up from 42.6% in September and 42.7% a year earlier. Cash buyers made up 39.7% of all sales, which was the lowest level since October 2010.

Distressed sales, meanwhile, represented 59.2% of all resale activity – the lowest level for any month since the figure was 57.7% in August 2008. Foreclosure resales, which DataQuick defines as homes that had been foreclosed on in the prior 12 months, accounted for 43% of October resales – the lowest level since June 2008. Short sales made up an estimated 16.2% of October's resale activity, which is down slightly from October but up a bit from one year earlier.

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