Over time, small gains can add up to something significant. An improvement here and there creates optimism for the future. For real estate agents and home sellers, an emerging trend signals better times are ahead.
In the Southern Arizona residential market during February, median and average sales prices continued to increase, albeit incrementally. The significance is that the sales levels have consistently held onto their small gains dating back to mid-2012.
For 10 consecutive months, median selling prices have been at $140,000 or above. Average selling prices have stayed above $180,000 in seven of the last eight months.
The new data is from the Tucson Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service (TAR MLS).
The median selling price in February was $149,000, the highest it has been since August 2010 when it was $150,750. Since May 2012 when the metric was at $140,000, median sales prices have been at or above that value.
The average selling price in February was $186,482, the highest average since December 2010 when it was $186,399. With the exception of October 2012, this category has been higher than $180,000 every month since July 2012.
From January to February, both measurements gained about $4,000.
“The real estate market is very active now. It looks like 2013 is definitely our breakthrough year,” said Sue Cartun, TAR MLS president.
Last month, 951 homes sold across the region. The best-selling units were in the $200,000 to $249,999 price range with 103 closings. Next-best were 102 sales of homes in the $120,000 to $139,999 range. Seven units sold for $1 million or more.
As for listings, the most inventory was in the $200,000 to $399,999 price range where there were 1,390 units for sale. There were 179 homes priced at $1 million or more on the market. Overall listings are down 5 percent from a year ago, falling from 4,560 in February 2012 to 4,325 currently.
Price per square foot
In addition to stronger median and average sales prices, the vital metric of selling price per square foot also gained momentum. Over the past year, the biggest increase was in the red-hot Marana submarket where square-foot values jumped 34 percent.
Since February 2012, the sales price per square foot in Marana has surged to $119 from $89.
Oro Valley recorded the next-highest increase, 20 percent, going to $142 from $118.
Inside the Tucson city limits, the square-foot selling price rose 15.5 percent year-over-year, growing to $97 from $84. In Sahuarita, the increase was 8 percent, going to $80 from $74.
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage asserts the square-foot selling price is the best indicator of housing value trends. The company’s monthly analysis normalizes the mix of luxury and low-end properties sold, according to Malcolm MacEwen, president of the firm’s Arizona division.
As for closings in February, they occurred fastest inside the city limits where homes were on the market an average of 87 days. In other municipalities, the pace was 92 days on the market in Sahuarita, 103 days in Marana; and 109 days in Oro Valley.
Short sales tips
Fannie Mae’s efforts to process short sales faster should help the region’s foreclosure-torn real estate market. To capitalize on the changes, the Southern Arizona Mortgage Lenders Association (SAMLA) will present a forum March 28 titled, “Mock Trial on Short Sales.”
Attorney Dax Watson, a founding partner of the Phoenix-based firm Mack Drucker & Watson, will lead the session. His expertise is in commercial law with an emphasis in real estate.
The forum is offered as a three-hour continuing education credit. It is free to SAMLA and Tucson Association of Realtors members; prices vary for non-members.
It will be held from 1-4 p.m. at the Tucson Association of Realtors, 2445 N. Tucson Blvd. Registration and lunch starts at 12:30 p.m. To make reservations send an email to Lisa.Burns@FNF.com or call (520) 609-4999.
Sales and leases
• Purcell Properties purchased 4.4 acres at 1551 E. Ajo Way in Interstate Business Park for $850,000 from Interstate Ajo Investors LLC, represented by Gary Emerson and Randy Emerson, GRE Partners LLC.
• University City Church leased 34,163 square feet at 604 N. Sixth Ave. from First Baptist Church of Tucson/Crosslife Ministries. The transaction was handled by Paul Hooker and Rob Tomlinson, Picor Commercial Real Estate Services.
• Tres Amigos World Imports Holding Company leased 22,115 square feet at 7375 W. Bell Road, Peoria, from Arrowhead Palms LLC, represented by Donna Reece, Zell Commercial Real Estate, Phoenix. The tenant was represented by Rick Borane, Volk Company Commercial Real Estate.
• Strongpoint LLC leased 4,000 square feet at 616 N. Country Club Road from Siegmund Properties, represented by Tari Auletta, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. The tenant was represented by Bruce Suppes and John Ash, CBRE.
• Oro Valley Hospital leased 3,844 square feet at 10370 N. La Canada Drive, Oro Valley, from Americanada LLC, represented by Jayme Fabe, CBRE.
• Rafael Furniture leased 3,025 square feet at 750 E. 46th St. from Rich Rodgers Investment Inc. The transaction was handled by Brandon Rodgers, Picor Commercial Real Estate Services.
• Health Information Network of Arizona leased 3,004 square feet at 5055 E. Broadway from Pacific International Income Properties, represented by David Montijo, CBRE. The tenant was represented by Jeff Casper, CBRE.
• DLS Properties leased 2,750 square feet at 2018 E. 14th St. from Michael and Jeannie Williams. The transaction was handled by Brandon Rodgers, Picor.
• Lawless Creation LLC leased 2,080 square feet at 2044 E. 14th St. from Rich Rodgers Investment. The transaction was handled by Brandon Rodgers, Picor.
• Austin Electric Services leased 2,000 square feet at 2112 N. Dragoon St., Suites 1 and 2, from Rich Rodgers Investment. The transaction was handled by Brandon Rodgers, Picor Commercial Real Estate Services.
• Academy of Math and Science South leased 1,941 square feet at 6810 E. Broadway, Suites 201, 202 and 205, from Lackey Pat II. Rick Kleiner, Picor Commercial Real Estate Services, handled the transaction.
• Curves for Women leased 1,792 square feet at 2752 N. Campbell Ave. from Gee Properties-3 LLC, represented by Greg Furrier, Picor Commercial Real Estate Services.
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