As of mid-February, the number of listings under contract has come back nicely, up 55% from the January 1 start. In 2018 we saw a 49% growth in listings under contract for this same period. In absolute terms we are still a little behind 2018 with a year-to-date increase in number of units of 3,497 for 2019 versus 3,671 for 2018.
February finds our real estate market still leaning in the seller’s favor but with definite and continued movement toward a buyer/seller balance. Home supply is still below average, and demand for homes is 13% below this same time last year.
As previously discussed, January is the traditional beginning of our Phoenix buying and selling “high season.” Historically, the first 3-4 months of the new year have seen a jump in listings under contract of approximately 70%-90%, due in part to a corresponding increase in the number of listings available.
The beginning of 2019 marks our annual, greater Phoenix real estate busy season. For 2019 we start the new year with one of the lowest available resale inventories in a long time, and the last two weeks of December 2018 showed an even more marked drop in buying and listing activity.
The supply of active listings without a contract rose 3.4% during the month of November, while total active listings increased by 2.0%. These increases are in contrast to this time last year when we saw decreases of 1.2% and 1.7%, respectively. Just like last month, there has been a definite improvement in available supply.
Despite recent market volatility, mortgage rates remained steady this week. The stability in mortgage rates reflects the moderation in inflationary pressures in the economy due to lower oil prices and subdued wage growth. On the margin, lower energy costs are a positive for the home sales market, particularly for lower-middle income suburban buyers who spend proportionately more income on transportation costs.