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January 2006
Market-Basket of Homes: Values down 2.31%

Home values for January are down substantially in the Market-Basket of Homes. Average sales prices slipped by 2.31%, a little over $6,000, from $269,875 to $263,638. This is the first time average values have gone down for Market-Basket homes since December 2004.

Sales activity is fairly slow right now, and inventories are approaching 30,000 homes, about 5,000 more than a normal market in the Phoenix area. But the drop in values in January seems to be more a symptom than a trend: A small number of homes sold at deep discounts, where most of the transactions we track closed at or near their asking price.

As an example, we represented the buyers in the sale of an owner-occupied home in Surprise. The original list price of the home was $262,200 and the recent high sale in that floorplan was $280,000. But the house had been listed since October 10, 2005. A previous contract had fallen through and the sellers needed to cash out to invest their proceeds in a home they are building in Goodyear. In consequence, our buyers got the home for $247,900, $14,300 less than the original list and as much as $32,100 less than the potential market value of the home.

Discounting, the ratio of sales price to list price, is up slightly since last month, and we averaged 47 days-on-market, up from 39 in December. In January 2005, homes were averaging 16 days-on-market, but in January 2004, Market-Basket homes were taking an average of 69 days to sell – at a deeper discount ratio.

Based on the idea of the Consumer Price Index market-basket of goods and services, the Market-Basket of Homes uses average sales prices for a small subset of all Valley home sales to get a clearer idea of what is happening in the middle of the bell curve. The alternative method, striking a median among all closed transactions, introduces too many extraneous factors to provided a reliable indicator of what is happening to prices for those homes that are most avidly desired by the greatest number of people. To that end, the Market-Basket of Homes looks at sales prices for MLS-listed suburban homes from 1300sf to 1900sf built in 1998 or later, the homes that drive the resale market.

The Market-Basket of Homes is updated monthly and is always available at

Contact: Greg Swann,, 602-740-7531