The Daily Courier
Sales of existing homes in the quad-city area appear to be keeping pace with national trends, according to area real estate brokers.
"Inventory is down," said Pete Weaver, president-elect of the Prescott Area Association of Realtors, which has about 1,100 members. "That means a healthier market for sellers. It generally means prices are going up."
Citing PAAR as his source, Weaver said residential listings totaled 1,591 in September, down 5 percent from 1,675 in September 2012.
However, Weaver said the number of sold properties was just one off: 263 this past month vs. 264 in September 2012. The average sale prices also climbed 6 percent from $213,000 in September 2012 to $226,000 a month ago.
Weaver and other Realtors reacted to a news release from the National Association of Realtors.
The news release started, "After hitting the highest level in nearly four years, existing-home sales declined in September, but limited inventory conditions continued to pressure home prices in much of the country ..."
The news release stated existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 1.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.29 million in September. That is down from 5.39 million in August but is 10.7 above the 4.78 million-unit pace in September 2012. Sales have remained above year-ago levels for the past 27 months.
Existing-home sales in the West rose 1.6 percent to a pace of 1.25 million in September, and are 7.8 percent higher than a year ago, NAR reported. With ongoing inventory restrictions, the median price in the West rose to $286,300, which is 16.8 percent above September 2012.
Some real estate brokers in addition to Weaver see optimism in local trends.
Citing the Multiple Listing Service, Dan Speights, owner and designated broker of West USA Realty of Prescott, stated in an email that increases have occurred year to date in all residential categories, including single-family homes, modular homes, condos and townhouses.
He reported increases of 19 percent in total sold volume, 15 percent in average sale prices and 18 percent in median sale prices.
"As you can see, we have a very strong market and I believe we will have for at least the next five years," Speights wrote.
Nancy Biggs of Prescott Home Realty in the Prescott Country Club said her experience is "fairly consistent with those figures" for the West.
"We had a great season, but in the last two weeks and into October we have seen a slowing of (home) showings," said Biggs, who is in business with her husband, Brian. "I don't have any data to say values. I think values are holding steady, but our demand seems to have slowed a little bit."
A slowdown could be triggered by the 16-day shutdown of the federal government that ended Oct. 17.
The shutdown might have "made people more cautious about spending their money" and buying homes, said Bobbie Bott of All Pro Real Estate in Chino Valley.
The NAR news release quoted national President Gary Thomas as saying repeated stalemates in Washington, D.C., could have far-reaching consequences.
"Just one impact of the recent government shutdown - delays in tax transcripts needed for approval of mortgage loans - put a monkey wrench in the transaction process and could negatively impact sale closings in next month's report," he said.
Follow the reporter on Twitter @KenHedlines.