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Valley housing market strong despite pandemic

Posted at 5:24 AM, Oct 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 07:50:03-05

PHOENIX — The greater Phoenix housing market has already returned to pre-pandemic levels and could be on track for a record October in total homes sold, according to Valley housing analyst Tina Tamboer with The Cromford Report.

“The pandemic may as well have been a decade ago now,” she told ABC15.

“We soared in contract activity between May and June and [that activity] stayed relatively high,” Tamboer said, adding that the increase coincided with the state beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions on businesses.

In April, Tamboer said the median time for a Valley home to move under contract was 21 days. Today, that time frame is less than eight days. October is also on track to see 30% more Valley homes sold than a “normal” year. She said typical factors that could delay a home purchase — like vacation plans and children returning to school — have been impacted.

Even as home prices rise, the CARES Act could allow potential homebuyers to access their savings early — from a 401k account, for example — without penalty. Mortgage rates have also set record lows, which could offset any increase in total home price when calculating a monthly payment.

But could the state of the housing market be a bubble that’s due to burst?

“The risk factor for housing values is always, always vacancies,” Tamboer said, adding that ahead of the 2008 recession, rent values were decreasing at the same time home prices were rising. “You never want to see that because the only reason the rent goes down is because it’s vacant... they need to get somebody in there,” she said. “This time around we have rents rising at or faster, in some cases, than the cost of housing and that tells us that what we have is a real, true demand.”

Tamboer said increases are happening in both the normal and luxury housing market, meaning most homes $250,000 or more. There is little contract activity happening with homes listed below $250,000 because there are so few of those homes available.