Posts by: ARMLS

May 2015 Market Update

This month’s issue of STAT leaves us in the middle of our buying season, the time of year when our monthly sales volume peaks. The chart below is based on a 14-year running average of monthly sales volume in Maricopa County. It depicts the seasonal nature of our housing market. There have been 1,143,088 homes sold between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2014 by ARMLS Subscribers.

14-Year Average Monthly Sales Volume Distribution (2001 – 2014)


Tom Ruff

Tom Ruff

Pending sales contracts hit their highest point in 2014 on April 23 with 8,103 pending listings. Pending sales are a leading indicator of future sales. There were 7,659 total home sales in April of 2014, which was the largest single month in sales volume in 2014. The current high mark for pending sales this year occurred on April 23 the same day as 2014 when 8,766 homes had pending sales contracts. Sales for the first four months of 2015 are 9% higher than sales for the first four months of 2014 and this trend is expected to continue.

When we look at individual monthly sale numbers over the past 14 years, we see that March, April, July and August each accounted for the highest monthly sales total only one year each. May and June, in contrast, accounted for the highest monthly sales volume 5 times.

In STAT last month I talked about the year-over-year improvement we’d seen over the prior two months in the number of newly constructed homes and I used current building permit data as an indicator this trend would continue. In April, The Information Market reported 674 new builds sold in Maricopa County compared to 680 last year at this time. It looks like I backed the wrong horse. I’m a baby boomer and what does any good analyst from my generation do when his conjectures are wrong? I do what we do best, I blame someone else. After evaluating every newly constructed home transaction over the last three months and coupling my observations with analysis done from fivethirtyeight, there was only one conclusion to draw, the Millennials are to blame.

When I went back and reviewed the last three months of new home sales transactions it became clear that the first names of the people purchasing new builds were dominated by boomers, the buyer’s names read like my sixth grade roll call. There is some fantastic statistical analysis on first names corresponding to age, read it here. Simply put, the Millennials are not doing their part, and quite frankly they are running out of excuses. In the first quarter of 2014 Millennials surpassed Generation X and now comprise the largest share of the American workforce. The name article and the chart below support these conclusions.


Walt Hickey, a writer and Millennial at fivethirtyeight, has the best retort to my contempt — “53.5 million – We did it! Millennials are now a plurality of American workers, with 53.5 million people ages 18 to 34 in the workforce in 2015, compared to 52.7 million Gen Xers and 44.6 million baby boomers. I was born in the ’90s and I have a job — get used to it, boomers, my people are here to stay.

Pending Price Index (PPI)
Our last Pending Price Index projected an April 2015 median price of $200,000 with the actual median coming in at $202,700. Looking ahead to May 2015, the ARMLS Pending Price Index projects a median sales price of $205,000. We began May with 12,287 residential listings under contract compared to 11,957 at the beginning of April. May 2015 sales volume will undoubtedly exceed May 2014 (7,445). We expect sales this month to be in line with April’s sales volume figure. Our estimated sales volume last month of 8,500 was 1.6% higher than the actual sales figure of 8,367.

Penalty Policy Change


Based on Subscriber feedback, the ARMLS Board of Directors has approved a change to the new Penalty Policy. Now, the first penalty violation each year has no fine attached (excludes lockbox violations). Before, Subscribers received one penalty violation with no fine for the duration of the policy. Here is the text of the change:

Except for the first Penalty Violation against a Subscriber, these violations will incur an immediate fine as outlined in the table below.

Except for the first Penalty Violation against a Subscriber each year (reset on the first day of January), these violations will incur an immediate fine as outlined in the table below.

Please note: that while we are educating Subscribers on the new Penalty Policy no fines are being issued (with the exception of lockbox violations). We will alert Subscribers when fines resume.

Photo Quiz: Violation or No Violation?


Using your knowledge of the rules, can you spot the MLS violations in the questions below? You can review the Rules & Inappropriate Language Policy before you start. The MLS rules haven’t changed but you’ll want to ensure you know them as we have a new Penalty Policy. If you like this quiz, take another here.

Is it a violation or not?

Quiz not displaying? Click here.

Homesnap Pro for ARMLS Subscribers

HomesnapjPGHomesnap Pro (for Apple and Android devices) is more than an MLS search app for Subscribers, Homesnap allows you to give your clients MLS access while still being connected to them. Your client, your lead. Homesnap offers a better user experience, on par with other leading real estate search apps. The best part: It’s 100% free, as part of your MLS membership. This isn’t a freemium, it’s a full product. There are no ads or featured spots to buy.


Homesnap Pro benefits:

  1. Agents – Homesnap makes ARMLS Subscribers look good in the field with real time MLS information, private remarks and showing instructions.
  2. Clients – Invite your clients to use Homesnap so they have the most accurate property information while keeping in contact with you. You are the only agent a client sees in Homesnap.
  3. The Public – Leads from the public go to the listing agent.

Homesnap Pro even works on the Apple Watch:


March 2015 Sales Volume Up 17.7%

tom-ruff-72-2x3March 2015 sales volume increased 17.7% year-over-year according to our latest STAT report. Each month Tom Ruff of The Information Market gives us his insights on the housing market. Accompanying graphs can be found here. Here are Tom’s latest comments:

“Freddie Mac introduced a new publicly-accessible tool last year called the Multi-Indicator Market Index, also known as MiMi. This tool monitors the stability of the nation’s housing market using four individual metrics: home purchase applications, affordable housing analysis, mortgage delinquency / payment rates, and employment strength for each market. They said of Phoenix:

‘The Phoenix housing market is defined as weak and declining.’

MiMi is interesting but like other national reports, the information reported is not as timely as our locally reported data, for example their most recent report uses data from January. They’re not wrong they’re just slow. Our STAT report showed weak sales volume in January, but as the first quarter progressed our market demonstrated the axiom, demand can quickly change.

Sales volume for the first quarter of 2015 was 10.5% higher than last year. There were 18,674 homes sold in Q1 2015 compared to 16,983 last year. It should be noted that the sales volume last year set a very low standard and was often times described as anemic. The gains in sales volume for the first quarter took place in February and March after a modest decline in January.

Sales figures in February 2015 were up 9.4% year-over-year and sales volume in March 2015 was up 17.7% year-over-year. Last year at this time we had theorized demand was 20% to 25% below normal. The increase in volume this past month makes the argument that sales volumes are approaching their customary levels.

When we take a closer look inside the March 2015 numbers we see investor activity fell to 12.1% of sales compared to 16.25% a year ago. Pair that with foreclosure inventories in Maricopa County (REO & Active Notices) being down 24.2% year-over-year, it’s now undeniable: the traditional home buyer is the driving force in our housing market.

Declining foreclosure and investor activity have been prevalent for some time. What we’ve really been waiting for are improvements in traditional financing and new construction:

Traditional Financing
There were 1,249 more recorded home sales in March 2015 compared to March 2014, according to the Affidavits of Value in Maricopa County. The most interesting metric from the Affidavits of Value appears in the method of financing box, where there were 1,134 more homes this March that obtained loans compared to last March.

New Construction
New construction gained 8% higher year-over-year in March. New construction numbers are still paltry but are improving. As an indicator of what might be expected in the coming months on the new construction front, the RL Brown Housing Reports home page stated: ‘New Home permits for March are up more than 50% from the same month last year and up +40% from last month.’

Where is this new demand coming from? My anecdotal evidence says boomerang buyers are finally starting to emerge based on two close friends who are re-entering the market. One purchased a resale home using FHA financing and the other purchased a newly constructed home using conventional financing. Considering the number of friends I have, it’s actually a large sampling. I believe the increase we’re seeing in home purchases and purchase money financing is a result of improving credit scores and not a lessening of credit requirements as Michael Orr of the Cromford Report succinctly pointed out in his daily observation on March 18. ‘The Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report for February contains very little sign of lenders easing their underwriting standards.’


If my suspicions are correct and boomerang buyers are returning, it is most likely due to improving credit scores and not a lessening of qualifying standards. It should be further noted this new wave of buyers are just now crossing the starting line.

With demand approaching normal levels, supply is still well below normal. Total supply is 11.5% lower than last year at this time. If we look at active listings and exclude those in UCB, we see inventory has fallen 15.5% year-over-year. This is encouraging news for sellers because if the current pattern of increased demand continues, upward pricing pressure can be expected.

Pending Price Index (PPI)
Our last Pending Price Index projected a March median price of $199,000 with the actual median coming in at $200,000. Looking ahead to April, the ARMLS Pending Price Index projects a median sales price of $200,000. One of the weaknesses in reporting the median sales price is prices tend to stick around common price points, where pricing near 200,000 is attracted to the clean look of $200,000 instead of $198,127. It’s simply prettier and easier to say out loud.

We began April 2015 with 11,997 residential listings under contract compared to 10,817 for the same period last year. April 2015 sales volume will undoubtedly exceed April 2014 (7,659). We expect sales this month to land in the 8,500 range. Our estimated sales volume last month of 7,500 was 5.3% below the actual sales figure of 7,900.”

3/30/2015 – Zillow Now a Syndication Option in Flexmls

Early last week (3/30/2015) we sent an email blast to all ARMLS Subscribers announcing an agreement to facilitate syndication to Zillow through Flexmls. It’s an opt-in agreement, where no listings are sent unless the broker opts-in. As a courtesy, that message has been posted here for reference:

Zillow Now a Syndication Option in Flexmls
Starting today, brokers now have Zillow as a choice for syndication through Flexmls. ARMLS has signed a facilitator agreement to enable this option in Flexmls.

Listings are only sent to Zillow if your broker has opted-in. Brokers who have opted-in may enable their agents to opt-out on a per listing basis.

Points to Remember:

More reading: The Top 3 Syndication Myths

Introducing KEYshirt

(Yes, this was an April Fool’s joke) We’ve recently announced the next generation of lockboxes which will hit the ARMLS market in Q4 2015. Today we are pleased to announce the next generation of lockbox key. KEYshirt connects to your smartphone using iBeacon technology, eliminating the need to take your phone out of your pocket. The key container will release when you are within 3 feet of the lockbox. Price: TBD


This is an optional upgrade for the eKey service. Currently, KEYshirt can only release the key container. KEYshirt will launch with several styles and real estate related slogans which conceal the fact that your shirt is a key:



1 2 3 4 5 6 55  Scroll to top