Year-End 2009 Trends: The Southwest

December 30, 2009

by Scott Sambucci

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Continuing our week-long look at the US Housing Market by region, here’s look at the 2009 year-end Median Ask Price and Active Inventory trends for the Southwest, with some quick analysis based of what we’re seeing in each city –

SW mkts 12-28-09

Median Asking Prices: Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix & Salt Lake City (90-day rolling average)

Supply of Active Listings: Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix & Salt Lake City

Supply of Active Listings: Denver, Las Vegas, Phoenix & Salt Lake City (90-day rolling average)

  • As widely reported, the Denver market is bucking the national trends , seeing a steady asking price increase over the last 24-36 months.  The last couple of months show a modest price decline, but history predicates that this is largely seasonal.  A look at the 7-day weekly numbers in early January will verify if the price declines will slow and turn upward as the Spring season heats up. Inventory levels have remained stable, perhaps partially because Denver wasn’t a “bubble market” with the high foreclosure rates compared to cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas.
  • Salt Lake City prices are in a steady fade with inventory, like in Denver, remaining stable.  Similar housing market characteristics to Denver – not a big bubble market but price levels are getting hit unlike in Denver.
  • In Las Vegas, the brutal price declines  since 2007 have finally flattened out.  Resale inventory is back in 2007 levels, which could be a sign that a tightening supply is supporting the price stability along with the huge price level changes.   Any contribution to price stability could be the banks’ inability to foreclose and push out this inventory set into the resale market.  With low interest rates and tax incentives, buyers might simply be tired of waiting for further declines and breeding housing activity at these price levels down more than 50% from their highs.  (See “Housing in Las Vegas: C’mon black!” on Seeking Alpha from May 2009)
  • Phoenix’s 2009 strength is slowly fading as prices have steadily declined since their mid-year bounce.  Like Las Vegas, early 2010 trends will be vital to knowing if the 2009 bounce was a pause on the way to lower prices, or if Phoenix is stabilizing.  (Check out “The Phoenix Real Estate Market: Out of the Ashes?” from October 4, 2009)

The Texas and the Midwest are next on the list…. Stay tuned.

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