Year end facts and figures concerning Arizona real estate:

Existing home sales showed a healthy gain in November – sales were the highest for that month since 2004! Experts say that was the result of a rush to close before the then expected end of the month expiration of the buyer tax credit (see my last month blog for more info on its extension). December’s sales are expected to be significantly lower.

Based on the latest available statistics, over 83% of Arizona households can afford a median priced home (A median price is in the middle of the range – half of the homes cost more, half less). Nationally 30% of home buyers in July were first timers. The enhanced affordability of homes explains why there have been so many sales to new buyers in the lower price ranges.

Another reason is for the uptick in sales is that interest rates on the benchmark 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage dipped to a 38-year low recently. Freddie Mac recently stated the average rate on a 30-year loan was 4.71% with an average 0.7 point, the lowest rate since the agency began its weekly tracking of long-term interest rates in 1971.

In Arizona, foreclosures have spread outward from the Phoenix area. Prescott foreclosures were up 77% in the third quarter. Great deals on second or vacation homes should be the result of the inevitable sales by the foreclosing lenders.

Home buyers have a lot of factors working in their favor right now – low interest rates, plenty of marked-down homes for sale, and an extended and expanded federal tax credit that will expire in the spring. But lending experts predict that interest rates will move higher over the next 30 to 45 days. Last year at this time, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 5.53%.

SimplySOLD can help you take advantage of this market. Call or contact us at www.simplysoldaz.com to find out how much you can afford in Phoenix, Scottsdale or elsewhere in Arizona. Don’t wait until the tax credit is gone for good.