By Catherine Reagor| March 03rd, 2019
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It’s still a sellers market in metro Phoenix, but buyers are gaining ground.

Valley home prices are holding steady, instead of climbing as they did last February. At the same time, the number of homes for sale is up.

The combination is making it a bit easier for buyers trying to purchase more affordable homes priced below $300,000.

“Buyers now might be competing with three other offers compared to 15 last year,” said Tina Tamboer, senior housing analyst with the Cromford Report.

'Mediocre' start for housing

The median home sales price in January was $262,100, according to The Information Market’s latest report for the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.

The median has been hovering around $262,000 since October. That’s down from the record $268,000 it hit in June, but up from $260,000 it had dropped to in September.  

What you should know when buying your first home

Catherine Reagor, housing reporter for azcentral and David Meek of Keller Williams Arizona Realty discuss tips for Phoenix's first-time homebuyers.

Prices dipped about the time 30-year mortgage interest rates climbed above 4.5 percent.

Too few homes for sale priced for first-time buyers led to the soaring sellers market during the past two years. Prices climbed about 7 percent in 2018 and 7.5 percent in 2017.

But the number of new home listings in the Phoenix area jumped 78 percent from December, according to ARMLS.

Valley home sales fell 16 percent in January from December.

“January’s numbers are in, and we are off to a roaring mediocre start,” said Arizona housing analyst Tom Ruff with The Information Market. “Not good, not bad, just slightly above average.”

Better for buyers

Many first-time buyers have had to compete with investors and flippers going after homes priced around the Valley’s median.

But recently, homes for sale priced below $250,000 have seen the most price reductions, said Tamboer.

That’s partly because many of the investors and flippers are now trying to resell homes they purchased in that price range.

And real-estate agents say first-time buyers are getting more choosy about what they will pay for houses that need work.

No calls for crash

Buyers holding out until metro Phoenix home prices begin to plummet aren’t likely to become homeowners this year.

Valley home prices are poised to most likely climb at a slower pace or possibly flatten out during 2019.

But home values will not fall as they did during the real-estate bust of 2008-11, real-estate analysts predict, looking at the numbers and not crystal balls. None of the same issues such as subprime loans and rising foreclosures are happening now.

Ruff forecasts metro Phoenix’s median home price will climb to $264,000 next month.

READ MORE FROM CATHERINE REAGOR:

Sign up for the Street Scout real estate newsletter. Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-8040. Follow her on Twitter @Catherinereagor.

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