2015 Year in Review
The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service Pending Price Index (The ARMLS PPI) projects a median sales price for January 2016 of $212,000. We begin January of 2016 with 7,486 Pending/UCB listings compared to 6,731 last year. In January of 2015, ARMLS reported 4,784 sales, this year we are anticipating 5,300 for January 2016.
We started 2015 as quietly optimistic, bucking what Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index (MIMI) defined as a “weak and declining market”. It can be great to be a prognosticator of prognosticators, especially when we can sit back and relish our own accomplishments. We were right to be optimistic. The success of 2015 doesn’t rise to champagne corks popping off but there were market improvements in almost every way.
As 2014 ended and 2015 began, there were obvious improvements in our underlying market fundamentals. Put simply, our market was healthier. Price increases had returned to sustainable levels, distressed inventories continued their descent and the percentage of conventional buyers continued to improve. These improving metrics continued throughout the entirety of 2015. With the exception of January, monthly sales volumes for each and every single month were higher in 2015 than in 2014.
Beyond a doubt, 2015 was a much better year than 2014. When Freddie Mac published their quarterly report in October, our market was redefined as improving. Of the four metrics comprising the index, Phoenix outperformed national metrics in terms of affordability and mortgage currency, but lagged behind national averages in overall employment and home purchase applications. As anticipated, our weakest metric, home loan purchase applications (which were still impacted from credit scores damaged by foreclosures), showed marked improvement as 2015 progressed. In particular, the home loan purchase application metric improved 13.73% between August and October.
October 1 saw the introduction of new TRID guidelines causing a temporary disruption of our charts in terms of both sales volume and the median sales price. By mid-December our charts returned to their normal trajectory, leaving the one last noticeable remnant: +4 days added to average closing time for home purchased with a mortgage.
All things considered, 2015 will go down as an average year. Of the 15 years ARMLS has been reporting sales volume, last year ranks as the 8th highest. After the highs and lows our market has experienced over the last decade, an average year is a nice place to land. It was the type of year you can build a career around.