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Study: Phoenix-area home prices up for first time since 2007

September 17, 2009

For the first time since 2007, Phoenix-area home prices increased from one month to the next. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows a slight 0.8 percent bump up in Valley home prices from May to June this year.

The Arizona State University-Repeat Sales Index (ASU-RSI) measures changes in average Phoenix-area home prices from year to year. The new June 2008 to June 2009 report shows the small increase for average home prices recently, and it also offers evidence that the worst appears to be over, for now, in terms of price plunges.

"It is now clear that the worst is past in the home-price rate of decline and that prices were falling most rapidly back in February and March," says Karl Guntermann, the Fred E. Taylor Professor of Real Estate at the W. P. Carey School of Business. "However, it must be remembered that the current housing market is still quite volatile, so this conclusion must be tentative."

Despite the small boost in prices between May and June, the new report shows an overall 31 percent decline for the entire year from June 2008 to June 2009. However, this is an improvement from the 33 percent decline recorded from May 2008 to May 2009 and the 35 percent drop from April to April. Preliminary estimates for July and August show things continuing to get better, with projections of 28- and 25-percent declines, respectively.

The index has now gone down for 28 consecutive months, eclipsing the previous record of 17 months, set in the early 1990s. Prices have decreased 49 percent from their peak in the Valley in mid-2006. The worst drops have occurred in Glendale and Peoria, while Scottsdale and Paradise Valley have fared the best. The upper end of the market suffered the most back in the early 1990s, but the current housing crisis has hit the lower end of the market hardest.

The median price of Phoenix-area homes in June was $122,000, which is up from $119,000 in May. Preliminary median prices for July and August are $125,000 and $127,000, respectively.

The ASU-RSI is based on repeat sales, the most reliable way to estimate price changes in the housing market. Repeat sales compare the prices of a single house against itself at different points in time, instead of comparing different homes with different quality factors.

The ASU-RSI is produced through the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. The current report and archived reports are available at the Division of Real Estate - Repeat Sales Reports. Further ASU-RSI analysis is available at