Phoenix area housing prices double dipping?


Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal reported on the latest Case-Shiller housing index, which published their monthly update on  housing pricing movements for the month of September.   According to Case-Shiller, Phoenix area pricing dropped 1.5% from the previous month (August), but 1.9% from August, 2009.  Scary stuff?  If you only read the headlines it can make you groan; but perhaps the larger picture is slightly more nuanced.  Rather than signaling additional large scale pricing drops, the sense among many is  “The housing market is stuck at the bottom, and we’ve been stuck there for months,” said Patrick Newport, an economist at IHS Global Insight.

Zeroing  in on our corner of the map, yesterday’s Arizona Republic’s Phoenix-area Housing Double Dip Looms   summarizes the current picture, with dampening resulting from  first time buyer numbers evaporating  as well as the nation-wide   slow down in recent escrow closings coming from the review of banking foreclosure practices.  But the headline screams disaster, while the article’s cited expert (Karl Guntermann of ASU) says “comparing it with the market’s initial plunge it would be like looking at a pothole next to a sinkhole.”

As we have discussed before,  the residential market in Arizona and the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area will gain traction when general economic conditions in the state and city make significant improvement.  In cheerful news, also in yesterday’s Arizona Republic, we are told that the Brookings Institute considers Phoenix “on the road to full recovery”, one of  24 metro centers worldwide labeled so.   We may be bouncing along the bottom, but that is road we have to travel to our recovery.  The indications are that we are on that road.  I predict that this good news will beget even better news.

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