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2023 Real Estate Chess: Buyer's Moves vs Seller's Strategy

Good morning this morning!


Well I had full intentions of putting together a real estate video to flex on my awesome TV skills... however my Friday became appropriately filled with.. wait for it, real estate commitments.


And would you guess?! I am rocking not one, but two open houses this weekend!

Yesterday off of 170th Ln

patriotic truck open house

And today, right now actually, on the North End of Sun City West I am set up with about 30 open house signs leading people in.


patriotic truck open house

Having said all that, I'm not in the best spot to do a video, so instead, I'm gonna give you the rundown on the content I was going to share with you within my video. :)

Here's the skinny on what's happening in the entirety of Maricopa county and within the MLS as a whole. Inventory has kicked up about 400 in each price point. Crazy to comprehend, going back into the summer of 2021, hot damn! we only had about 3,100 homes available - regardless of price point. Seeing that we're about 8,130 - that's a nice jump. *this number is only for single family homes. We're clocking about 10,650 w/ condos and the like.

team orange Maricopa county real estate data

*Sidenote... I love making Gary fit the season! It was fun finding a way to make that helmet work!


Checking in with my friends at the Cromford Report - best data assessment team out there!


The dollar volume of closed transactions. We're talking about Maricopa and Pinal counties here, and we've sifted through all the transactions to focus on the normal re-sales that went through the MLS. So, what's the scoop? Well, when we compare 2022 to 2023, there's a 24% drop. Now, before you start panicking, here's the twist – despite the massive drop in sales volume, the increase in prices since 2020 means there's still more business (dollars) flowing in 2023 than in 2020. So, it's not all doom and gloom.


cromford report phoenix real estate dollar volume 2023

Now, taking a look at the latest Cromford Market Index (CMI) values for the single-family markets in the 17 largest cities within Maricopa County... The CMI: is a value that provides a short term forecast for the balance of the market. It is derived from the trends in pending, active and sold listings compared with historical data over the previous four years. Values below 100 indicate a buyer's market, while values above 100 indicate a seller's market. A value of 100 indicates a balanced market. The data tells us that there's a shift in the wind. All 17 cities have witnessed their CMIs dropping over the past month, which means the balance of power is shifting from sellers to buyers.


cromford report CMI october 2023
But what's causing this shift?

Well, the culprit is none other than mortgage interest rates. While many expected rates to dip in the latter half of 2023, a shortage of buyers for bonds has pushed yields up. The typical 30-year fixed mortgage rate now hovers around 7.7%, up from 7.3% just a month ago. Understandably, buyers aren't doing cartwheels over this, and some are finding it harder to meet affordability criteria they used to breeze through. It's not just rates; supply is also making moves. In fact, it's rising at the fastest rate we've seen since last year. Lower demand and higher supply have caused the average CMI in the table to fall by 11.2%, which is quite a drop. Chandler, Goodyear, Buckeye, Maricopa, and Mesa are experiencing above-average declines, while Fountain Hills, Tempe, and Surprise are seeing a gentler descent. Out of the 17 cities, 13 are still in seller's territory (for now), with Buckeye, Goodyear, Queen Creek, and Maricopa in the balanced zone. However, these four cities are now below the 100 mark, hinting that buyers might have a slight edge in negotiations. If things keep going this way, we could see them officially become buyers' markets by month's end. Now, among the secondary cities, Laveen and Tolleson managed small CMI increases, but the other ten cities are following the trend of their larger counterparts. Finally, a glimpse at the Affidavit of Value recorded in September by Maricopa County. Here's the scoop:

  • Closed transactions: Down 18% from September 2022 and down 10% from August.

  • Closed new homes: Up 1.6% from September 2022 and up 1% from August.

  • Closed re-sale transactions: Down 23% from September 2022 and down 14% from August.

  • Overall median sales price in September: $450,000, down 2.8% from September 2022 and down 2.0% from August.

  • Re-sale median sales price: $440,000, down 1.1% from September 2022 and down the same percentage from August.

  • New home median sales price: $479,102, down 7.4% from September 2022 and down 4.2% from August.

Now, here's the twist – the market was already grappling with high interest rates in 4Q 2022. So, year-over-year comparisons don't paint the full picture of how much the housing market has changed. In fact, when we look back to September 2021, last month was down a whopping 48%! New home sales, though, have shown resilience, growing both month-over-month and year-over-year, despite the sluggish re-sale market. So, while re-sale closings took a massive 55% hit compared to September 2021, new home closings were only down 3% from two years ago. I believe the new builds are holding where they are because of their creative financing options. Many builders are offering considerably low interest rates - some as low as LOW 4%.. Right now when I bounce onto Mortgage News Daily (A damn good app btw!) This is what's going on:


mortgage news daily

So how can new home builders do this?

Many builders have their own financing companies that are lending companies. This is not new news as they've done this forever, however, in competing with the 7%'s they can leverage their own money and act as a banker themselves. As soon as they get under contract and have closed with a buyer, the builders sell these mortgages on the secondary market four - six months later.. ever noticed that your payment will stay the same, meanwhile you're suddenly sending your check to another company? .. it's been sold on the secondary market. There are of course other creative things new builder financing offers that many of my preferred, non builder lenders would appropriately bach at... BUT, in light of the high rates, they're appropriately flexing on this good opportunity for buyers.

All in all, here's a great breakdown on how to see the bigger picture.

For Buyers: Imagine sitting down with your grandparents and discussing today's mortgage rates. They might regale you with stories of buying their first home in the '80s, proudly mentioning mortgage rates in the range of 10% to 18%. To them, it's a badge of honor because they took the plunge during uncertain times. Despite facing multiple recessions and skyrocketing mortgage rates, those who got in the game back then are seen as "lucky" now. Fast forward to 2023, and we find ourselves in a different era. Yes, mortgage rates might be hovering between 6.8% and 7.5%, which has priced some potential buyers out of the market. But here's the kicker: there are still plenty of folks waiting for those rates to drop further. They're holding out for the perfect storm of low rates, ideal prices, and the perfect home. But here's the deal—waiting for all those stars to align is exhausting and often futile.

"Date the rate, marry the house"

Now, as we step into September and move towards the end of 2023, this is a golden time for buyers. Active listings are on the rise, providing more choices, and median sales prices are $40,000 below the peak we saw in June 2022. Prices are holding steady for now, and with mortgage rates where they are, 41% of sales come with seller-paid closing costs, often involving rate buy-downs. But here's the kicker, as rates drop and buyer competition heats up, those perks might start disappearing. Is it perfect? Well, no, but it's pretty darn good, don't you think? For Sellers: Sellers, hold onto your hats because we're going to talk about how to navigate the market in late 2023. The median number of days to get an accepted offer currently sits at 21 days. (The median is calculated by taking the “middle” value, the value for which half of the observations are larger and half are smaller.) But as we head towards the end of the year, be prepared to add an extra week or two due to holiday schedules. Here's a tidbit of wisdom: the first week a property is active is crucial for gauging if it's priced right. Looking at the last 30 days of sales, it's clear. Properties that snagged contracts within one week of listing achieved 68% of their original list price or more at closing. Even at two weeks, it's still a majority at 53%. But by week three, 59% of sellers had to accept less, and by week four, a whopping 81% settled for less than their initial asking price. It's nothing short of a dance... and the dance gets complicated within different price points. As we enter October, it's common to see active listings and price reductions increase. Weekly price reductions have been rising gradually since July, up 34%, but still down a whopping 63% from last year at this time. So, if you're planning to list in the next few weeks, consider budgeting for a price reduction. But make no mistake, it's still a seller's market. Prices have gone up 6-7% in the past 8 months, and homes are spending 12 fewer days on the market compared to last year. Negotiations are tighter, with sale prices typically within 2% of the last list price. Sure, the market is shifting, but with some strategic planning, sellers can still come out on top. Before I let you go, some interesting facts on the overall standing of Phoenix as a whole. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index numbers just dropped this Tuesday, and they cover home sales from May to July 2023. That means we're looking at home sales that closed way back in mid-June, over three months ago. Time flies, right? Now, the good news is that all 20 cities are showing rising prices for the last few months. And guess what? Phoenix is on fire! It's been rocking a higher index for the fifth month in a row. Go, Phoenix! Let's break down the changes compared to the previous month's series:

  1. Las Vegas: +1.12%

  2. Phoenix: +0.88%

  3. Cleveland: +0.85%

  4. Chicago: +0.84%

  5. New York: +0.81%

  6. Charlotte: +0.76%

  7. Miami: +0.74%

  8. Tampa: +0.74%

  9. Detroit: +0.74%

  10. San Diego: +0.73%

  11. Atlanta: +0.70%

  12. Los Angeles: +0.62%

  13. Washington: +0.57%

  14. Seattle: +0.46%

  15. Dallas: +0.30%

  16. Minneapolis: +0.21%

  17. Denver: +0.18%

  18. Boston: +0.14%

  19. San Francisco: +0.14%

  20. Portland: -0.15%

Phoenix deserves a special shoutout here. It's climbed the ranks over the last three months, going from last place in June to a stellar 2nd place in September. Way to go, Phoenix! The national average increase month to month was +0.60%, and you've comfortably outpaced that standard. Now, when we look at year-over-year changes, the picture is still interesting:

  1. Chicago: +4.4%

  2. Cleveland: +4.0%

  3. New York: +3.8%

  4. Detroit: +3.2%

  5. Atlanta: +2.2%

  6. Washington: +1.9%

  7. Miami: +1.9%

  8. Charlotte: +1.8%

  9. Boston: +1.3%

  10. Minneapolis: +1.0%

  11. San Diego: +0.7%

  12. Los Angeles: +0.4%

  13. Tampa: -0.8%

  14. Denver: -2.8%

  15. Portland: -3.3%

  16. Dallas: -3.4%

  17. Seattle: -5.5%

  18. San Francisco: -6.2%

  19. Phoenix: -6.6%

  20. Las Vegas: -7.2%

Okay, so Phoenix is in the 19th spot this time, a bit down from 17th last month and among the cities with slower year-over-year growth. But here's the silver lining – more than half the cities are showing positive price movement compared to one year ago. Once again, those northern cities are looking strong on the year-over-year measure. And just to put it in perspective, the national average clocks in at +1.0% year over year.


Hot damn Nancy!! That was a grip of info! :)

The biggest thing I want to leave you with is that the market is going through a considerably different vibe than it did just a few years ago. Considering the inferno we all survived, this new market is the inverse of that same uncomfort. The post covid world has its ripple effect and we're still in the waves.

It was hella easy to be an agent a couple years ago to be a realtor. Watch enough HGTV and you're a professional! Simply put a shit hole on the market, everyone and their mom wants to buy it - poof! done... interest rates were low, everyone was buying... provided your buyer had cash beyond the asking price, poof! you got a home.


Compound all the technology available to realtors AND buyers/sellers.. man?! what is up, what is down?!.. much of it is really just gimmicky. So proceed with caution. Arizona ranks #4 for most realtors in the country. As stated just moments ago, it was easy then. To which I am sure the renewal rate for a realtor has dropped significantly. Not everyone knows what they're doing.


Thankfully the universe has blessed us with hundreds of amazing clients which has allowed us to continue in this business pushing 10 years now. We don't take any of the relationships or trust for granted.


If you or someone you know wants help in this complicated dance we call real estate, just know we are a safe place for you to be yourself, to ask questions without expectations..

Your referrals are like seeds of opportunity, and we're grateful for your planting them in our direction :)

Please share this post with a buddy! It's a juicy one!

Have a grateful weekend!


real estate chess



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