Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 11-18 of 18

August 2014 Market Report - Maricopa County

by John & Marta Baxter
August Market Report - Maricopa County

Here are your real estate statistics for last month.  Be sure to call if you have any questions about this report or about how the market is performing.  This report includes MLS data for the past 36 months for Maricopa County only as provided by the FlexMLS system.  Please note that MLS search results fluctuate as data is added to the system and the figures below were obtained on 9/3/2014.

Closed Sales Report Analysis:


The month of August saw a 5.2 percent decrease in the number of closed sales compared to the prior month.  The statistics show that we had 5,782 residential properties sell in August in Maricopa County compared to 6,101 in the month of July.  This compares to 6,260 closed sales in August of last year, so we are definitely seeing a decrease in sale activity.  In today’s market sellers need to continue to be diligent in pricing and staging their homes, as we are no longer in a seller’s market.  The traditional/balanced market means a level playing field for both buyers AND sellers. 


In our shifted market, buyers are continuing to buy – they want to take advantage of this amazing market due to low interest rates, increased inventory, and more traditional sales from which to choose.  The traditional market that we are in now means that there is balance from both the buyer and seller side.


Average Sales Price Analysis:


Last month saw the average sales price decreased from $257,719 in July to $257,055 in August, a decrease of 0.26 percent.   With the shift and leveling off in other numbers, sellers need to pay attention more than ever, as we are seeing prices drop,  homes remaining on the market for a longer period of time, and fewer homes moving to pending status.  In some price ranges and in some locations, sellers are offering incentives to buyers and real estate professionals to ensure that their home is selling.  Sellers who are serious about selling need to ensure that their home is one of the best-priced homes in their local market in order to attract qualified buyers.


This statistic is an indicator that buyers have a small amount of relief when it comes to the average sales price.  Educated and savvy buyers understand that a competitive market gives them fewer options for home choices – even when inventory increases.  Although this may vary from area to area and from price range to price range, buyers need to make sure they are fully informed regarding the specific market in which they have an interest.  This will give them the best chance of being competitive when making an offer.


Active Listings Analysis:


For the sixth month in a row, we saw inventory decrease when compared to the prior month.  We have a total of 18,975 residential properties actively listed in Maricopa County as of 9/3/14.  Sellers need to continue to watch this trend as we begin to see more competition for getting a home sold – we saw our low in this area in May of 2012 when we only had 9,785 active listings – a number significantly lower than our current market.  This shift will impact the price of a home, how quickly it sells, and the terms a buyer is seeking when purchasing a home.


The current market means that buyers had 645 fewer homes to consider this past month.  Continue to monitor this statistic, as it will be the statistic that indicates how many options you will have in your home search and how quickly you will need to act…the lower the number, the more likely the competitiveness for lower priced homes will remain part of the current market.  As always, market activity is local and should be researched with your real estate professional to determine the activity and desirability of the homes that are of interest to you.

Average Days on Market Analysis:


This is a very important statistic for sellers to monitor.  Last month saw the average days on market increase to 84 days.  One year ago, we were at 56 days.  This does not follow the pattern of the prior two years, so it is very important for sellers to monitor this statistic.  The longer a home is on the market, the more costly it is to sellers, as they continue to pay mortgage payments and all of the other fees associated with home ownership.


Inventory continues to increase, providing buyers with more choices.  However, buyers need to be aware that competition for great homes continues to remain high.  Great homes will draw great buyers regardless of the real estate market we are experiencing.  The importance of having a reliable lender AND real estate professional to guide you through this process has never been more important.


As a reminder, you need to meet with a real estate professional to see how statistics impact the area where you are considering selling or buying.  Blended statistics will not be as accurate as a more detailed report that your real estate professional can provide to help you with your decision making.

Would you like to know what is happening in your neighborhood? 

Would you like to know the value of your home?

Do you need help deciding whether to sell or not or would you like to know if now is the right time to buy?

We would be very happy to get you that information!
John and Marta Baxter

Top 5 Mistakes When Selling Your Home

by John & Marta Baxter

Top 5 Mistakes When Selling Your Home


1 - Trying to sell your home without a realtor:

All sellers need professional representation when selling a home in almost any market.  Just a few years ago, there was a time when you could have made your own “For Sale” sign, stuck it in the yard and gotten top dollar.  Unfortunately times have changed and sellers need to know what they are up against in any given market.  Realtors can give you invaluable information that will give you the maximum resale potential.  An agent has the ability to net you more money than you would save by not using one due to exposure and advice regarding pricing and show-ability.


Realtors will also be able to offer you significant help in choosing your next home as it relates to potential resale value, floorplan recommendations, location, options and more.  Most realtors will give you a significant discount on their real estate fees when they list your home if they can be involved in the purchase of your new home as well.  


2 - Finding your new home before your have your current home in escrow.  This theory obviously does not apply to new homes due to the normal 4-6 month build time.  If you attempt to write an offer on a “resale” home that you want to purchase, and you have not sold your current home yet, you can lose a major part or all of your “buying power”.  Sellers are usually not willing to wait for you to sell your home.  You are really forced to do one of the following:  qualify for a loan with the ability to carry both the new home and current home; wait to make an offer until your current home is in escrow; or completely close on the the current home before making an offer on a new property.  The best option financially is to sell your current home and move into temporary financing (yes - I know - this is not the most convenient option).  At that point, you can find a new home in a relaxed manner and not feel rushed.  Chances are, you will find a house that you will be happier with in the long run, as you will not be forced to make a rushed decision or compromise on a home that you don’t love, to avoid being in a “homeless” situation.  You also won’t feel like you have to accept a lower offer for your current home, in order to be able to move forward with your new home.  When people find a new home that they feel like they have to have, emotions get in the way of making smart business decisions.  The second best option is to have your current home in escrow and then write an offer on a new one.  Your buying power will not be as high due to the fact that the contingency is usually a negative factor for most sellers. In order for the sellers to agree to accept the offer, they may want closer to a full price offer.


3-   Not staging your house properly.  Your home needs to appeal to what the majority of buyers are looking for.  It is best to keep things simple and use the “less is best” motto.  Walls should be painted neutral colors and walls and baseboards should be fresh and free of holes.  Excess furniture and decorative items need to be packed up and either put into the garage or into a storage unit.  The porches and yards must be clean and trimmed. The greatest returns and quickest sales come from the lightening, brightening, cleaning and de-cluttering the home inside and out.  When buyers see a home that reflects pride of ownership, devoid of visible flaws, they are free to focus their attention on what it would be like to live there.  They let their imagination turn to the comfort the home would offer them.   

      Once your house is spic and span, professional, high quality photos should be taken for the marketing.


4 - Overpricing your home.  Overpricing your home can cause a number of negative factors.  For example, the house can “sit” on the market for weeks or months, forcing you to pay extra house payments, utilities and yard/pool maintenance.  This is especially painful if you have already moved out.  The house becomes stale to other realtors, neighbors and buyers who would have otherwise been interested in it.   Most of all, overpricing creates unnecessary frustration for you and your realtor who have both been set up for failure.  Your home is only worth what the other comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for, plus possible increases for a small list upgrades that actually add value to your home.  There are also cases in where your neighbor with the same model may have been able to get more for their house because they had a an extra bedroom, additional garage or option that may appeal to more buyers than your home does.  It is crucial to have full information about these comparable sales to make necessary decisions in pricing your home correctly.  If you have been on the market for a period of time and the buyer’s feedback is consistently the same, and it is a floorplan issue or something that you cannot control, then dropping the price to find your home’s specific market value is crucial.

5 - Choosing your realtor based on fees.  Choosing a realtor who is willing to to discount their fees creates a number of problems.  Discounted service usually means minimal market exposure, personal attention and subsequently, a lower sale price.  Advertising your home property is an important part of selling your home and is very expensive.  Realtors who who discount their commission cannot possibly afford these costs and would actually lose money selling your home.  Secondly, a neighborhood specialist is important for the sole fact that more signs in the neighborhood means more calls from potential buyers and other agents.  Networking is a major part of selling your home and getting top dollar for it.  Only a small percentage of realtors will take the time and energy to obtain the necessary skills to participate in the industry at at the elite level.  Please don’t leave thousands of dollars on the table.  Don’t forget, you get what you pay for.  A good consultant is one who saves his clients more than the amount of his fees - Arnold H. Glasglow.

30 Day Market Snapshot as of 6/20/2014

by John & Marta Baxter

Active, Sold and New Listings; and Inventory From ARMLS on 4/28/14

by John & Marta Baxter

Where Are the Buyers?

by John & Marta Baxter

It is interesting to look at large groups when it comes to market influence and how they are formed.  In the past, we have discussed how baby boomers and investors, for example, have influenced our market. Over the past few years the rate of homeownership has declined, and thus the rental market has been booming.  The decline in homeownership is the result of pure economics.  The buyers are coming, but they still have some major challenges to overcome.  This large group of buyers that was created by economic factors,  has been branded “boomerang buyers.”  Boomerang buyers are defined as potential home buyers who were previously displaced from their homes due to a foreclosure or short sale. At present, the vast majorities of these potential buyers are unable to return to the market due to credit and down payment requirements. From a statistical perspective these potential buyers might best be defined as “pent up demand,” or  “shadow demand.” Here are some guidelines that this group of buyers must follow:

FHA: Homebuyers can take out loans for up to $271,060 in Maricopa County. People who went through foreclosures must wait three years and have a 3.5 percent down payment. Some borrowers who completed short sales with special circumstances, such as a deed-in-lieu situation or problems with a loan modification, are eligible for a loan within a year.

Fannie Mae: Borrowers can obtain loans for up to $417,000. People who lost a house to foreclosure must wait seven years to qualify and put 10 percent down, unless there was a special circumstance. Former homeowners who completed short sales have to wait two years and have a 20 percent down payment or four years and a 10 percent down payment.

Freddie Mac: Borrowers can take out loans for up to $417,000. Borrowers with a foreclosure on their record must wait seven years unless there's a special circumstance, and then the wait is three years. People who went through a short sale must wait four years.

Veterans Administration: These mortgages have the biggest limit, $1 million. Borrowers with a foreclosure only have to wait two years and don't need a down payment if the mortgage is less than $417,000. Eligible veterans who have done a short sale may not even have to wait to take out a VA- backed loan.

In order to put these requirements in perspective, let’s take a look at new home financing from 2012 forward. In 2012, when cash buyers/investors played a more significant role in our market, only 55% of home purchases were financed, while in 2013 this number rose to 65%. Thus far in 2014, 67% of the homes purchased have been financed. The percentage of loans based on the above-mentioned scenarios have stayed fairly consistent, with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae accounting for 56% of home purchases financed, 28% obtained FHA financing and VA loans accounted for 6%. All other forms of purchase financing accounted for 10%, and each of these other types individually were less than the 6% VA figure. Examples of other types of financing would be seller carry-backs, private loans,  jumbo loans, or loans from companies specializing in “hard money.”

Reviewing the requirements listed above, the VA is the most boomerang buyer friendly but as we can see from the loans being made, they account for the smallest volume of new home purchases. FHA is the second most friendly but they finance slightly more than 1 out of every 4 homes purchased with financing. The largest majority of buyers financing a home purchase obtain either a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac loan.  The largest majority of boomerang buyers will be able to return, seven years after a foreclosure and four years after a short sale. Under normal circumstances after 4 to 7 years a home owner would be able to use their existing equity towards the down payment of their next purchase, boomerang buyers have no such luxury and most likely the biggest obstacle they will face will be accumulating the 10% down payment. The two charts below will show the potential magnitude of boomerang buyers in Maricopa County:


The Home in 5 Program

by John & Marta Baxter


The Home in 5 Program

This program features a 5% grant to be applied toward the borrowers down payment and closing costs. What makes the program more desirable than the others is you are not limited to any specific properties or area codes. Essentially any property in Maricopa County in turn-key condition qualifies. The loan is a first lien and a true grant that does not require repayment.  

Here’s the list of eligibility requirements:

  • Available to only 30-year FHA, VA, and USDA-RD loans
  • Home must be located within Maricopa County
  • Purchase price cannot exceed $300,000
  • Home must be professionally inspected
  • Home must be a primary residence
  • Minimum FICO credit score of 640
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio (percentage of monthly income that goes toward paying debts) of 45 percent
  • Borrower income cannot exceed $90,000
  • All buyers must attend an eight-hour home buyer education course plus obtain a certificate of completion.
  • A true grant and doesn’t require repayment
  • Maximum insurance deductible of 1% of the policy amount per US Bank.


A caveat is the 2% fee the program charges to each borrower.  Therefore, the 5% is actually 3%.  Since the minimum down payment for an FHA loan is 3.5% the remaining .50% plus closing costs needs to be covered by the seller and/or buyer.  It is a risk-based loan and does come with a higher interest rate than a standard loan. Roughly .50% 

For more information on the Home in Five Advantage Program, call Jeff Thomas at the Lending Company at  602-410-4340 or email him at


Active, Sold and New Listings; and Inventory From ARMLS on 1/23/14

by John & Marta Baxter
  New Listings Active Listings Sold Listings Months Inventory
Dec/2013 6,266 26,441 5,874 4.50
Nov/2013 8,452 26,855 5,169 5.20
Oct/2013 10,953 24,903 6,075 4.10
Sep/2013 9,656 22,233 6,336 3.51
Aug/2013 10,059 20,786 7,086 2.93
Jul/2013 9,334 19,806 8,027 2.47
Jun/2013 9,565 19,236 8,019 2.40
May/2013 10,033 19,494 9,292 2.10
Apr/2013 10,092 20,125 8,702 2.31
Mar/2013 9,950 21,084 8,060 2.62
Feb/2013 8,962 21,767 6,620 3.29
Jan/2013 10,009 21,988 5,810 3.78
Dec/2012 6,565 22,348 6,764 3.30
Nov/2012 8,738 22,754 6,809 3.34
Oct/2012 10,079 21,746 7,053 3.08
Sep/2012 9,134 20,512 6,400 3.21
Aug/2012 9,847 19,693 7,512 2.62
Jul/2012 9,122 19,149 7,120 2.69
Jun/2012 9,586 19,079 8,327 2.29
May/2012 9,641 18,924 8,384 2.26
Apr/2012 9,493 19,383 8,414 2.30
Mar/2012 9,780 20,840 8,826 2.36
Feb/2012 9,158 22,543 7,273 3.10
Jan/2012 10,099 23,838 6,412 3.72

Should I Buy a Home Now?

by John & Marta Baxter

I'm often asked if this is a good time to buy a home. Some clients are concerned that home prices may fall down the road, while others are convinced that home prices will go up.

Home prices are one factor in determining your cost of ownership, but so are interest rates and financing availability. Even though interest rates have fluctuated, they are still near historic lows. Since your monthly mortgage payment is a combination of paying down your principal and paying the interest owed, a one point rise in interest rates could cost tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage!

While a home is a major investment, it is also the center of your personal life. It's important to live in a home that reflects your taste and values, yet is within your financial "comfort zone." To that end, it may be more important to lock in today's relatively low interest rates while they are still available.

Please give me a call if I can be of any assistance in determining how much home you can afford in today's market.

Displaying blog entries 11-18 of 18




Contact Information

Photo of The Baxter Home Sales Group Real Estate
The Baxter Home Sales Group
Keller Williams Realty Professional Partners
2403 N. Pebblecreek Parkway Suite 101
Goodyear AZ 85395
Fax: 866-500-2647

Buying and selling real estate is something that only happens a few times in one’s life and should be handled with utmost professionalism and exceptional customer service. The Baxter Team has one goal—to build relationships and to make clients for life. They plan to play an integral role in the West Valley and to make a difference in the lives those who reside in this fabulous community.