Is it time to buy or sell in your neighborhood?

Is it time to buy or sell in your neighborhood?


We keep hearing the housing market is "improving," but how does it affect you specifically?

You may be looking to buy in a certain area, or maybe you're hoping to sell your home, but don't know how much the market has improved in your neighborhood.

In the past year, median sales prices have increased more than 30 percent, homes are selling nearly 18 percent faster and fewer homes are available for purchase, according to Realty Executives in Phoenix.

In Paradise Valley, median sales prices are up 43.8 percent and homes are on the market for an average of 96 days; 15.8 percent faster than 2012.

The median home price is $1,150,000, and although it takes realtors longer to sell these homes than in other neighborhoods, they're still selling faster than last year.

"In the luxury market, pricing is everything. Whether you are a buyer or seller, initial list price can affect net sales price, days on market, and the perceived hassle factor," said realtor Mary Swenson.

"Luxury buyers often have the option of building a custom home for a similar price. Be sure you price and compete for buyers accordingly," said realtor Jan Ross.

In the west valley, Litchfield Park specifically, median home sales prices are up by 26.1 percent and homes are on the market for an average of 59 days; 9.2 percent faster than 2012.

"Many homeowners in Litchfield Park are happy because they're no longer underwater; for the first time in many years, their homes have value surpassing what they owe," said realtor Kim Owens.

Owens' suggestions for sellers:

-Price and stage your home well so it sells right away. This will allow you to purchase a different home and get settled before the new school year.

-Help your house stand out with curb appeal and personalization. Upgraded windowsills, additional trim, fresh landscaping or a modernized kitchen add personalization that sells.

-Ask your homeowners association if you can add stacked stone to front yard pillars (or other outside architectural feature) and stand out on your street.

"Prices are only going to go up, so buy now while interest rates are low," said Owens.

In Ahwatukee, median home sales prices up between 14 and 32 percent and homes are on the market for an average of 41 to 58 days.

According to Realty Executives, market data is showing a high demand for limited Ahwatukee listings with both average sales price and price per square foot for SFR listings increasing the past three months.

There are a variety of neighborhoods in Ahwatukee that surround the proposed Loop 202, South Mountain Freeway.

Realtor Tim Irvine suggests potential buyers look at before considering a purchase near Pecos Road.

Irvine also cautions buyers looking at land surrounding the Ahwatukee Lakes Golf Course. It closed on May 6, creating an uncertain future for nearby neighborhoods.

"Absolutely check for new listings every day and be ready to see a property and write an offer all in the same day. There is a slight advantage to being the first offer presented and you need any advantage you can with the scarcity of nice Ahwatukee properties," said Irvine.

In Tempe and Chandler, median home sales prices are up between 20 and 35 percent and homes are on the market an average of 39 to 48 days.

In February of 2011, the number of short sales and foreclosed properties was at 70.7 percent in Tempe and Chandler, but as of 2013, the percentage has fallen to just 24.1 percent.

"We probably have the lowest inventory of homes for sale anywhere in the Valley, so now is the time to sell, if your home is in good condition," said realtor Bob Doyle. "Now is also a good time to get appraised if you were previously underwater, because prices continue to rise."

How to make your home stand out in the area?

"Update your amenities, declutter your home and get your air conditioning serviced." said Doyle.

In the north central valley, median home sales prices up between 26.1 and 81.8 percent and homes are on the market for 54 to 79 days on average; at least 21 percent faster than 2012.

New restaurants on 16th Street and Bethany Home Road and a proximity to mountain parks, bike paths and running trails is making this neighborhood a market on the rise.

"Those looking in the area are being affected by the lack of homes available for sale. When an attractive home does hit the market, it is facing a competitive group of buyers, all looking to lock in on one of the few homes available, with a fear that prices in the area will continue to increase," said realtor Matt Parker.

Bottom line:

P.V.: All about initial listing price and staying competitive with a new builds

West Valley: Buyers market, people no longer underwater, stage your home to set you apart

Ahwatukee: Sellers market, watch out when buying near proposed Loop 202

Chandler/Tempe: Sellers market, update home a bit to help it stand out in limited availability

North Central: Sellers market, buyers must be on top of their game because area is so competitive

Realty Executives

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