More signs of cooling housing market - East Valley Tribune: Business

More signs of cooling housing market

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Posted: Wednesday, September 6, 2006 6:26 am | Updated: 3:05 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The cooling real estate market has dampened the increase in home prices — even in Arizona, though not by much.

A new report Tuesday from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight found that home prices nationwide were up slightly more than 10 percent in the second quarter of 2006 compared with a year earlier.

By contrast, the year-overyear increase over 2004 was more than 14 percent.

The slowdown clearly occurred in the period from April through June, with just a 1.17 percent price change nationwide.

But that federal agency also found that while the slowdown also hit Arizona, it did little to dampen prices. Year-over-year home prices went up more than 24 percent — the highest in the nation — versus more than 29 percent in 2005 over 2004.

Arizona’s price hikes mirrored the big cooling trend in the second quarter.

In the three months ending June 30, the price for a home increased less than 3 percent over the first quarter of the year. By contrast, the firstquarter figures were more than 4 percent over the last quarter of 2005; fourth quarter prices were up nearly 7.5 percent over third quarter of last year.

“These data are a strong indication that the housing market is cooling in a very significant way,’’ James Lockhart, director of the federal agency, said in a prepared statement. “Indeed, the deceleration appears in almost every region of the country.’’

One of the interesting statistics is that the housing market apparently is hotter in and around Flagstaff than in the state’s other metropolitan areas. In fact, the 26.2 percent year-over-year hike in home prices was enough to rank the Flagstaff area as having the fourth highest increase in the entire nation.

The Phoenix metropolitan area came in sixth with a 26.1 percent increase over the same time last year.

Tucson posted a 21.8 percent increase in prices from the second quarter of 2005, with Yuma at 21.6 percent and Prescott at 19.2 percent.

Lockhart said the price hikes are slowing from the big hikes of the last few years due to higher interest rates. He also said there has been a drop in the activity of speculators buying homes to “flip’’ them quickly.

And there also are more homes available.

“The very high appreciation rates we’ve seen in recent years spurred increased construction,’’ said Patrick Lawler, the agency’s chief economist.

While the 10 percent yearover-year growth is down from prior periods, the agency noted it still is outpacing other costs. Prices of other goods and services over the same period rose only 4.4 percent.

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