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DeDe’s Weekly Phoenix-Area Real Estate and More December 22, 2023

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Hey, Phoenix homeowners and potential buyers and investors! Ready for your Pre-holiday real estate check-in? Here’s the news, listings, open houses, events and more!  Reach out if you have any specific questions!  I’ve enjoyed several conversations this week with friends, colleagues and clients looking for next steps.  Enjoy! 

Things are definitely looking up! The steep fall in mortgage rates has helped existing home sales improve for the first time in 5 months, and builder confidence also moved up. If your New Year’s resolution is to finally get into a new home in 2024, let’s discuss your preferences and put together a plan. Happy Holidays!!!  Read it on the Blog Here

Phoenix-Area Real Estate News 

Monthly Average Lease Price per Square Foot

Utilizing completed ARMLS rental listings as our primary data source, the average monthly rent in Greater Phoenix has consistently ranged between $1.32 and $1.43 per square foot for almost two and a half years, as of July 21. The 12-month moving average stands at $1.35, with the December 2023 figure currently at $1.32. Despite the period’s inflationary pressures, the effective cost of renting has decreased relative to rising average incomes—although not universally, especially for those in real estate whose earnings are tied to transaction volumes.

This trend suggests a potential shift in favor of renting over buying, a viewpoint recently echoed by prominent publications such as The EconomistWall Street Journal and New York Times. The comparison is based on pitting the monthly expense of renting against that of a typical mortgage. The dynamics have changed significantly, with rents decreasing in real terms (adjusted for the dollar’s value), while home prices and interest rates have surged, surpassing inflation rates. This divergence is a key factor contributing to the current low demand for home purchases. The surge in multi-family permits indicates developers responding to rental demand with a substantial increase in new apartments, build-to-rent single-family homes, and condos, effectively curbing rent escalation.

However, this analysis does not paint the full picture. Owning a home entails various benefits and costs not factored into basic monthly expenses. These factors can substantially impact overall costs, yet incorporating them into a model is often intricate, requiring forecasts of a home’s future value, which is inherently uncertain. Renting relinquishes the opportunity to participate in property appreciation benefits, along with avoiding the direct financial responsibility for ownership costs such as property tax, maintenance, HOA dues, and building insurance, borne by the landlord.

When analyzing household wealth, equity built up in owned homes emerges as a crucial component. Whether it’s the primary residence or investment properties rented out, the equity substantially contributes to household net worth. Notably, households with significant net worth are seldom found in rented accommodations, unless they plan to relocate within the next few years. A revealing statistic underscores the substantial gap in net worth between the average homeowner (44 times that of the average tenant).

While the financial advantage of owning versus renting has diminished compared to a few years ago, it remains generally beneficial to buy if planning to stay in a property for more than four years. However, it’s crucial to assess affordability before making the leap, as facing foreclosure after buying a home can have adverse effects on one’s financial health.

Concise Market Snapshot

We eagerly anticipate the annual sales count to provide a positive indication of market activity. In a robust market, this figure typically surpasses 100,000. However, our current standing is below par at 72,600, and despite the improving interest rate landscape, the annual sales rate is gradually decreasing. This measure is immune to seasonal fluctuations, offering a comprehensive view of year-long sales activity. Therefore, a burgeoning market should manifest as a rising trend, irrespective of the time of year. While closed sales counts are lagging indicators, we anticipate a figure better than 73,000 if the market is indeed on the path to recovery.

The prevailing sentiment suggests an optimistic outlook for January. We remain skeptical but will be swayed if the chart exhibits an upward trajectory. As of December 16, the Cromford® Market Index for all areas and types has seemingly stabilized around 104, comfortably situated within the balanced zone of 90 to 110. After hitting a low point of 104.0 last Monday and Tuesday, it has modestly risen to 104.2 today.

This stabilization is attributed to the halting decline of the Demand Index and the cessation of the rise in the Supply Index. At present, these indices show little inclination to move, and a clearer direction may only emerge in the second week of January.

Despite lower interest rates, the market has not experienced a surge in new signings. The current count of homes under contract stands at 5,808, the lowest since January 8 and significantly below the 6,262 recorded at the same time last year. Despite yesterday’s 30-year fixed loan rate at 6.64% and the 30-year FHA rate at 6.14%—considerably lower than a month ago and well below rates in mid to late October—buyers seem to be holding off until January before committing to house-hunting in December.

With the Cromford® Market Index above 100, significant weakness in pricing should not be apparent. We hope buyers aren’t anticipating overall price drops, as individual listings may show price cuts, but these are offset by new listings at higher levels. Any price weakness is likely concentrated in areas with lower CMI, including Maricopa, Buckeye, Queen Creek (including San Tan Valley), Cave Creek, and Surprise. Among smaller cities, Casa Grande, Gold Canyon, and Sun City appear weaker, while strength is evident in Apache Junction and Litchfield Park.

BankRate Mortgage Rates:

On Friday, December 22, 2023, the current average interest rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage is 7.06%, down 15 basis points since the same time last week. If you’re planning to refinance, today’s national 30-year refinance interest rate is 7.13%, falling 17 basis points from a week ago. Meanwhile, today’s average 15-year refinance interest rate is 6.34%, down 11 basis points over the last seven days.

New Listings:

Upcoming Open Houses:

Don’t forget to bring me!

Recent Price Changes:

Featured Listings:

Hey 55+ friends!  Check out my amazing listing for a wonderful house with a low low HOA and a great price!  For Sale OR For Rent! 

New Build Homes:

Thinking about a new build home?  Some might not be ready for a year, but some are close to finished.  Homebuilders offer great interest rates (if you use their lender…), and are a viable option for many of my people.  But, don’t forget you need representation for YOU…so bring me before you visit a community or Models.  The nice person works for the Builder, as does the Lender and the Title Company.  Make sure you have someone looking out for YOUR interest and TAKE ME WITH YOU!  Just want to shop?  I have a great website with all the Valley Builders, shop for features and areas you want WITHOUT being stalked by each and every builder you’re perusing.  We’ll visit when YOU’RE ready.  Browse safely and securely here.

ADOT: No scheduled highway closures over Christmas, New Year’s weekends.  Drivers should stay alert, expect the unexpected if planning holiday trips.

PHOENIX – There’s good news for drivers over the Christmas and New Year’s weekends: The Arizona Department of Transportation is not scheduling any full construction or maintenance closures along state highways, including Phoenix-area freeways.

Drivers should check weather forecasts and stay up to date on road conditions. Keeping speeds in check, being patient and expecting the unexpected are among ADOT’s key safety recommendations during the holiday travel season.

Highway closures will not be scheduled between Friday afternoon and early Tuesday morning during each of the holiday weekends.

ADOT and other safety agencies, including the Arizona Department of Public Safety, encourage drivers to stay alert, get adequate rest before driving and buckle up. Motorists should never drive while impaired and should make arrangements for designated drivers or ride services as needed.

According to law enforcement reports, eight fatal crashes claimed eight lives on Arizona roadways, including local streets, over last year’s Christmas weekend.

An emergency kit in your vehicle can help if you face inclement weather, experience car troubles or face an unscheduled stop in traffic. Items to pack include:

  • Extra bottled water
  • Snack foods
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Blankets
  • Warm clothing, including extra gloves
  • First-aid kit

Drivers and passengers also should remember prescription medications and items such as a cellphone charger in case of unexpected travel delays. ADOT provides additional information at azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

Drivers also should check their vehicles before traveling, including tire pressure, engine belts and hoses, fluid levels and the condition of windshield wipers.

Real-time highway conditions are available on ADOT’s Arizona Traveler Information site at az511.gov and the AZ511 app (download free for Apple and Android devices). ADOT also provides highway condition updates via its Twitter/X feed, @ArizonaDOT.

Valley of the Sun Sold Listings

  • 7458,5916,6270,5576,5204,4633,4926,4436,5762,6769,7053,7586

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2024


Valley of the Sun Inventory

  • 13885,13672,13609,15047,16621,18098,17878,17747,18824,19774,19701,20202
  • 7669,7047,8018,8063,8266,7017,5389,9212,8990,9822,9620,9450

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2024

Valley of the Sun New Listings

  • 7669,7047,8018,8063,8266,7017,5389,9212,8990,9822,9620,9460

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2024


Valley of the Sun Pending Listings

  • 6293,5838,5813,5011,4867,4565,4422,6396,6530,7295,7159,5482

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2024

Valley of the Sun Absorption Rate

  • 2.22,2.21,2.2,2.44,2.73,2.98,2.95,2.94,3.11,3.27,3.29,3.36

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2024


Valley of the Sun Sale to Original List Price Ratio

  • 96.2,96.7,96.6,96.8,96.6,96.0,95.3,95.5,96.1,96.2,96.1,96.2

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2024

Valley of the Sun Average Days on Market

  • 64.5,58.5,57.6,55.5,55.8,57.4,61.6,68.4,68.7,67.2,65.9,64.6

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2024


Valley of the Sun New Listings Volume

  • 4744590083,4289606629,4924262203,5372048121,5639379491,4622826189,3434396747,6707816349,6031891652,6595044305,6410128504,6180917566

Information is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed. © 2024

What’s Up with Real Estate?  National news and local views

Real Estate News in Brief

Things are definitely looking up! The steep fall in mortgage rates has helped existing home sales improve for the first time in 5 months, and both homebuilder and Realtor confidence also moved up.

The National Association of Homebuilders’ confidence index rose 3 points in December to 37. We all know why: the recent drop in mortgage rates, which helped buyer traffic improve and boosted builder optimism. The index was at 31 last December. [NAHB]

Housing starts for November jumped 15% MoM to a seasonally-adjusted, annualized (SAAR) rate of 1.56 million units, 73% of which were single-family (SFH) homes. While 59% of the units currently under construction are multifamily units (MF = more than 5 units per property), the MF building boom is clearly fading, with MF representing just 30% of new permits in Nov. [Census Bureau]

Existing home sales broke a 5-month losing streak in November, rising nearly 1% month-over-month to an annualized rate of 3.82 million units. These sales only partially reflect the big drop in mortgage rates in the last two months, so we can expect even stronger numbers in the months to come. The median sales price in November was $388K, up 4% year-over-year. [NAR]

Redfin’s new Home Price Index (which they market as being just like Case-Shiller but more current) saw national home prices rise 0.6% MoM in November, a slowdown from +0.7% in October and +0.8% in September. Keep in mind: 0.6% X 12 months = 6% growth if annualized. These are still big numbers. [Redfin]

The NAR always releases its Realtors Confidence Index the same day as existing home sales. For November, the most notable change was the increased confidence that buyer and seller activity will increase from here. Competition levels eased somewhat (lower % of homes sold above their listing price and lower % of homes sold in less than a month). That said, the median number of offers per home sold actually edged up to 2.6 from 2.5. [NAR]

Source: NAR
Source: NAR

More on Existing Home Sales

Around this time last year, we had a big move down in mortgage rates. Between late October 2022 and early February 2023, average 30-yr mortgage rates moved down by about 1.3% (130 bps). That played a major role in the 14% MoM improvement in existing home sales in February 2023.

Well, the decrease in mortgage rates that we’ve seen this year has been both larger (1.5% = 150 bps) and faster (2 months) than last year. Matthew Graham of Mortgage News Daily called it “the biggest drop in a 45 day window that we’ve ever measured.”

All this suggests to me that transaction volumes for existing homes have already bottomed, and that December and January will look even better. And I’m not alone:

“The latest weakness in existing home sales still reflects the buyer bidding process in most of October when mortgage rates were at a two-decade high before the actual closings in November. A marked turn [upward] can be expected as mortgage rates have plunged in recent weeks.” — Lawrence Yun, NAR’s Chief Economist.

What he means is that the majority of the home sales that closed in November went under contract in October, when rates were much higher. (It generally takes 1.0–1.5 months for a deal to close.)

Mortgage Market

In the week since the Fed’s unofficial pivot towards (possibly maybe) thinking about rate cuts, several Fed members have done their best to curb the market’s enthusiasm. But they haven’t been successful. After all, if the majority of Fed members expect the Fed Funds Rate to be 75–100 bps lower by the end of 2024, that obviously means that they expect rate cuts to get there 🙂!

Average 30-year mortgage rates were fairly steady this week at around 6.6%. [Mortgage News Daily] The next Fed meeting will be on January 31, with the Fed futures market implying an 87% probability of no action, and a 13% probability of the first, 25 bps cut. [CME]

They Said It

“With mortgage rates down roughly 50 basis points over the past month, builders are reporting an uptick in traffic as some prospective buyers who previously felt priced out of the market are taking a second look. With the nation facing a considerable housing shortage, boosting new home production is the best way to ease the affordability crisis, expand housing inventory and lower inflation.” — Alicia Huey, NAHB Chairman

“I planned out our whole day. First we make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie Dough as fast as we can, and then to finish, we’ll snuggle.” — Buddy the Elf

Here’s your links for this weekend’s events!

My Website always has a list of what’s upcoming.  Go here and maybe I’ll see you out there!

 December  21-27
The Nutcracker
Phoenix Symphony Hall  Map
Thu. 12/21-Sat.12/24, times vary
Christmas at Schnepf Farms
Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek  Map
Select Days Through Dec. 24  Tickets
Enchant Christmas
Salt River Fields, Scottsdale  Map
Through Dec. 31  Tickets
A Christmas Carol
Hale Theatre Presents, Gilbert  Map
Through Dec. 23, times vary
Glistening Gardens
Butterfly Wonderland, Scottsdale  Map
Through Jan. 7, 9am-5pm
Fountain Hills Theater  map
Thu 12/21-Sat. 12/24, times vary
Queen Creek Performing Arts Center
Sat. 12/23, 2pm   map
Christmas at the Princess
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess  Map
Through Jan 6, times vary
Arizona Science Center  map
Tu. 12/26-1/1, 10:30am-4pm
Lights at the Farm
Vertuccio Farms, Mesa  Map
Through Dec. 30, times vary
Pratt Brothers Christmas at Rawhide
Rawhide Western Town, Chandler  Map
Wed.-Sat. Through Dec. 23, 6pm-10pm
 Phoenix Zoo for ZooLights
455 N Galvin Pkwy  Map
Through Jan. 14, 5:30pm-10:30pm
World of Illumination: Cosmic Sleighride
Tempe Diablo Stadium  Map
Tue.-Sun. Through Dec. 31, 6pm-10pm
Click here for
Upcoming Events
Click Here to See What’s Happening
in the West Phoenix Region
Need a Restaurant Reservation
Open Table – East Valley Phx
Phoenix Area
Ice Skating Openings
Norad Tracks Santa
Watch Santa’s Christmas Eve Flight
@ Chicago 12/24 @ 2:25pm
@ Sacramento 12/22 @ 8pm
vs Dallas 12/25 @ 8:30pm
@ Houston 12/27 @ 6pm
ICE HOCKEY:  Arizona:
@ San Jose 12/21 @ 10:30pm
@ Colorado 12/23 @ 9pm
vs Colorado 12/27 @9pm
GOLF: Resumes Jan 2024
Golf Network / NBC / Peacock
Upcoming  Tournament Schedules
Premier League    2023 Events (majorleaguepickleball.net)

Tournaments        Tournaments (pickleballtournaments.com)
Men’s Calendar       ATP Tour
Women’s Calendar  WTA Official (wtatennis.com)

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Built in 1822, this 2 Bedroom, 2 Bath Log cabin near the North Pole can be yours for just $1.2 Million!  Workshop and Reindeer not Included!

Dealing with the Holiday Blues: Festive Alternatives for a Joyful Season

Tis the season for festivities and gatherings, but as the holiday whirlwind unfolds, you might find yourself grappling with the infamous holiday blues. Whether it’s the stress of celebrations or the post-celebration letdown, there’s no need to succumb to the seasonal strain. Instead, consider embarking on a unique Christmas adventure at one of the Valley’s attractions. Plus, don’t forget that these destinations can be enjoyed both during and after the holidays, helping you combat that lingering post-celebration feeling.

  1. The Musical Instrument Museum Nestled in north Phoenix and open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., The Musical Instrument Museum is a delightful escape. With a rich collection of instruments spanning historical and contemporary eras, this museum is a point of pride for our city. Enjoy hands-on exhibitions suitable for all ages. Be sure to check their website for more details.
  2. Go to the Movies Dive into the magic of cinema with a visit to your favorite theater. Whether it’s the latest releases or classic holiday favorites, theaters like Harkins, AMC, and more are open on Christmas Day. Check local listings for showtimes and locations near you. Regal Cinema in Gilbert even has a special holiday movie offer.
  3. Enjoy the Outdoors – Go for a Hike Arizona’s landscapes offer endless hiking possibilities. Whether you stay in town, head to the mountains, or venture south towards Tucson, the desert beauty awaits. Many trails are open on Christmas Day, providing a perfect opportunity to test out any new gear received during Christmas. Popular trails include Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, South Mountain, Cave Creek Regional Park, Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, and McDowell Mountain Regional Park.
  4. Go to ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo Experience the enchantment of ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., running from November 22, 2023, to January 14, 2024. Illuminated with almost 4 million lights and captivating displays, the lights draw inspiration from the zoo’s resident animals. While you might not spot many animals at night, let your imagination roam as you explore this holiday night feature.
  5. Go Ice Skating Immerse yourself in the winter spirit at Skate Westgate in Glendale, an outdoor skating rink on real ice open on Christmas Day from November 3, 2023, to January 15, 2024. If you prefer indoor ice skating on Christmas Day and throughout the year, AZ Ice offers locations in Arcadia, Gilbert, and Peoria.

This holiday season, trade the blues for a memorable and joyful experience at these Valley attractions. Embrace the festivities and create lasting memories to carry you beyond the holiday season.

That’s all for this week’s edition of the newsletter!  Know I am always here for any questions you have about Buying, Selling, or Investing in Residential Real Estate!  HomeOwnership too!  Vendors and Tradespeople too!  Don’t hesitate to Reach out .

Darci, Bingley and I wish you a wonderful Holiday and we are here if you need ANYTHING!  See you next Week!


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