“Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond.”
While this Hunter S. Thompson quote may be from 2003, it certainly rings no less true in 2020. Good news may be rare these days, but there’s a little something for everyone in real estate today.
The good news for sellers is that we are still a strong seller’s market. The National Association of Realtors reported that prices in July “rose in every region” of the U.S., as “for the first time ever, national median home prices breached the $300,000 level.” And in their bid to be competitive, many buyers are increasingly willing to forgo asking the seller to contribute to their closing costs. And it’s working.
In Maricopa County, only 24.5% of sellers contributed to buyers’ closing costs in August, down from 31.2% in July and 37.9% in June.
Showing traffic is still holding strong. According to ShowingTime, the platform Realtors use to schedule most of the MLS showings, during August, listings in the $200,000-$299,999 range averaged 17.9 showings per listing in Glendale and 15.67 in Peoria.
The next closest was the $300,000-399,999 range, with 13.75 showings per listing in Glendale and 10.59 showings per listing in Peoria. And not every showing is scheduled through ShowingTime, so the actual numbers are higher.
Some good news for buyers is that inventory is increasing.
During August, 339 MLS listing sales closed in Glendale, and 395 in Peoria. At this writing, there are 219 active and available listings (not counting properties already under contract or pending close of escrow) in MLS in Glendale and 281 active listings in Peoria.
That’s 64.6% of one month’s inventory in Glendale (up from 42.85% in July) and 71.14% of one month’s inventory in Peoria (up from 59.75% in July). Overall, Maricopa County is seeing an increase, with today’s active listings at 89.17% of August’s closed sales (up from 75% last month).
And in more good news for buyers, interest rates are still low and are expected to remain that way. According to Freddie Mac, National Mortgage Rates for the week of Aug. 27 averaged 2.91% for a 20-year fixed, 2.46% for a 15-year fixed rate and 2.91% for a five-year hybrid ARM. And on Aug. 27, the Federal Reserve Chairman announced changes in the Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy. With these changes, it appears the fed will be less inclined to hike interest rates when the unemployment rate falls, so long as inflation does not creep up as well. Even with rising prices, this should allow buyers to continue to reach their goal of homeownership, which is good news for everyone.
If you’re struggling right now, there are people to contact who may have some good news for you. If you’re a homeowner, contact your lender to see what programs they are offering. If you’re a tenant, rental assistance is available through the Arizona Department of Housing website at saveourhomeaz.gov. If you’re a landlord, you can apply for aid at arizonatogether.org/grants.