The Sedona Real Estate Market got off to a running thunk in the 1st Quarter of 2014. Sales of Single Family Residences was down about 16% compared to 1st Quarter 2013. Prices, too, took something of a hit. The Median Recorded Selling Price dropped over 10% between the two periods. But, if we look at the Average Price per Square Foot of the Sedona homes that sold, that figure has been quite stable for the past year at roughly $204, even though it stood at $198 for 2013’s 1st Quarter, at the same time the MRSP was at record levels for the past four years. That discrepancy is an anomaly that we’ll take up another time. Suffice to say now that underlying real estate prices in Sedona have been relatively flat from the late spring of 2013 to the start of spring this year.
As for the slow sales numbers so far in 2014, it almost seemed that buyers in the rest of the country were hunkering down in the Igloos of Madison County in January and February and finally started hacking their way out of the ice in March. That’s when the pace of buying activity, prices, and Pending Sales began to pick up in earnest. It’s clear that we’re now getting the expected spring market bump that will keep us on track for a steady, if undramatic, increase in sales and valuation – nothing like the flamboyance we saw in the first half of 2013. That’s a good thing.
An excellent indicator of a healthy market is the dramatic decline in the inventory and sales numbers of foreclosed and short-sale properties. Last year 82% of the sales were made up of non-distressed homes. So far this year it’s 93%. As for the housing inventory, 5.5% were distressed properties in 2013. In 2014 it’s 1.6%. Pretty impressive improvement.
Sellers expecting a bull market this year have a right to be disappointed in the anemic start of the year, but they can take solace in what could be viewed as a well-paced, non-volatile, and stable market. And, they should be happy with two more positive indicators. The Cumulative Days on Market for homes sold in the 1st Quarter of 2013 was 282 days. So far in 2014, it’s 179 days. The ratio of the selling price of those homes compared with the list price is also improving. In 2013 it was 96%. In 2014 it’s 97% – the highest it’s been since 2006. The take-away here for sellers is that well-priced homes do sell and sell for closer to the list price.
For buyers, the good news is the 17% increase in the inventory of homes. That means more choice and more competition to keep prices from running away.
Beyond Single Family Residences, the Vacant Land Market is perking along nicely at the same sales pace as last year, but with prices up about 8%. Among Condominium/Townhomes, always the contrarian sector, is similarly on 2013’s relatively fast pace with the MRSP up over 7% and the Cost per Square Foot up 12.5%.
Over all, we seem to have a fairly well balanced real estate market that appears poised for sustainable growth without getting out-of-whack.
Dr. Roy Grimm is the Head of the Buyer Brokers Group of Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, serving the Sedona and Flagstaff areas… For questions or comments email Roy or visit SedonaRealEstate.com for the full statistical details.