There are so many housing rankings that it’s difficult to discern which lists make sense. As a Realtor I read a lot about the Phoenix housing rankings. I read a lot about the market in general. It makes me crazy because I get opposite opinions all the time. Who is right?
Metro Phoenix dropped off a Top 10 list of areas with the most homeowners underwater on their mortgages. The region ranks about average for rent increases and is in the Top 15 for home flipping.
The Valley didn’t make a recent list of the healthiest or least healthiest housing markets. Arizona is one of the priciest states for mortgage fees. And the Phoenix-area isn’t ranked among the Top 20 hottest housing markets in the U.S. now.
All are results from new rankings for the Phoenix housing market.
Late-night TV legend David Letterman made lists an American staple. I receive housing market rankings almost daily. Some are helpful for consumers, while others don’t make a lot of sense.
A look at the recent round of rankings:
About 15 percent of metro Phoenix homeowners owe more than their house is worth, according to a second quarter survey from RealtyTrac. That ranks the Valley No. 31 for underwater homeowners. The area ranked high for underwater borrowers like other boom and bust areas after the crash, but rising home prices and falling foreclosures in metro Phoenix has led to a steady drop in the number of homeowners stuck without equity in their house. Las Vegas and the Florida cities Orlando and Tampa still rank in the top 10 for the highest levels of underwater loans.
This list is credible and helps people thinking of buying, selling or refinancing see how metro Phoenix housing fares with the rest of the U.S.
The average rent for a Phoenix-area apartment has climbed about 7 percent, according to the latest report Axiometrics. That increase ranks us No. 17 nationally, slightly higher than the U.S. average. Rents in Portland, San Francisco, Denver and Sacramento are increasing twice as fast as ours.. Apartment rents show whether an area is growing, and help people decide whether to move to an area as well as whether to rent versus buy. The list is used by many economists and industry experts.
During this year’s second quarter, about 6.7 percent of the Valley’s home sales were flips — houses bought and then resold within 12 months — according RealtyTrac. That makes metro Phoenix 13th nationally for the highest rate of home flips. Miami, Memphis, Tampa, Detroit and Las Vegas all ranked higher than Phoenix for flips, mostly because higher home prices and a drop in foreclosures means there are fewer inexpensive houses to buy and resell for a profit in the Valley. This is a good indicator for investors and homebuyers to watch.
WalletHub recently ranked the health of 25 housing markets. Boston ranked No. 1 as the healthiest U.S. housing market, and Las Vegas was rated No. 25 as the least healthy housing market. Tucson ranked No. 22 after Detroit, Miami and Seattle for being the least healthy. Phoenix isn’t on the list, and neither is any California city.
When asked how WalletHub picked it’s 25 cities, I was told the cities come from the U.S. Census latest American Housing Survey. Cities picked for that government survey rotate every year. No California cities were part of the latest U.S. survey and neither was Phoenix. So this list is a comparing an almost random list of cities, which isn’t an accurate or fair comparison. So it tell you zip about the Phoenix housing market.
WalletHub also ranks the happiest and least happy states (Arizona is No. 31 for happiness), best and worst cities for hockey fans (Phoenix didn’t make the list) and best and worst states for summer road trips (Arizona 11th best). Why?
Arizona ranks No. 5 for the highest closing costs in the nation, according to Bankrate.com. The average Arizona homebuyer pays $1,969 to close a sale. Hawaii, New Jersey, Connecticut and West Virginia are the only states with higher fees. Ten lenders in each state were surveyed on their good faith estimate of fees on a $200,000 mortgage for the ranking. Bankrate is credible, and I am surprised Arizona ranks so high.
Phoenix didn’t make Realtor.com’s August list of the “20 Hottest Housing Markets.” The list is based on the number of views per listing of homes for sale, and how fast houses are selling. It could be that people looking for homes in the Valley are using another website besides Realtor to search.
And the last time metro Phoenix was in the Top 5 for hottest U.S. housing markets was in 2005 — during the boom. Since the Valley then became one of the top markets to crash, maybe it’s a good thing to not make that list.
Maybe I should stop all that reading.