Posts by: ARMLS

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:



Rotate Photos in Flexmls

Sideways. That’s one way to describe some photos in Flexmls. There is an easy fix if a photo appears sideways on your listing, use the rotation icons in the photo editor. Follow the steps below:

1. On the Change Listing screen click Photos

2. Click the rotate icons on the desired photo until the photo is in the correct orientation:

Tell on Yourself


Yes, we’re talking to you and you’re much cooler than these stock photo people.

Data, Data, Data; it’s a core value at ARMLS®. In that spirit, there is a loophole to avoid penalties when you’ve made an error on your listing(s). Simply, tell on yourself. If you let us know about a listing data error before a violation notice is sent out, we will guide or help you correct the listing data error without assessing a penalty*. You can self-report yourself by email, phone and “Report an Error” button. Why? Because quality data is most important.

* The issuing of monetary fines has been temporarily suspended while we educate Subscribers on the new penalty policy.

Bluetooth Lockboxes

Some MLSs around the United States have started the process of migrating to Bluetooth enabled next generation Supra lockboxes. These new lockboxes won’t require a FOB for most smartphones, among other new benefits. ARMLS will start a 1-for-1 lockbox exchange process in late 2015. It’s too early for details or to answer questions, but we’ll have detailed communication out in the next few months.

While you’re here, who remembers these?


Rules Week Quiz

Rules Quiz2

Below you’ll find 9 questions regarding the Rules & Regulation and Inappropriate Language Policy. A perfect score will demonstrate your knowledge of the rules.

How well do you know the ARMLS Rules & Regulations?

Like this quiz? Click here to take our Photo Violation Quiz.

Blurred Signs – A Photo Blog

Subscribers often ask about “For Sale” signs uploaded to the MLS, signs can be in the MLS but cannot contain contact information. Contact information will soon be a $200 fine because it can allow a client to bypass their agent. See how to blur photos here.

Rule (8.23) states,”A ‘for sale’ sign located on the property may appear in an image of the exterior of the home or property so long as the sign does not convey any specific contact information or company identification.

We created some examples below for a fake Subscriber, James Holland, who works at Zeppelin Realty LLC, a fake company. Zeppelin is known for their distinctive airship logo signs.

Not Okay – This photo has a telephone number, name, company name, and company branding.

Still Not Okay – The company name and distinctive company branding are still showing.

Great! Success – There is no contact information visible or company branding. We can’t tell which company holds the listing.

Note: Photos are judged at all sizes, If we can blow-up/enlarge the photo and still see contact information – a violation notice will still be sent.

This is part three of our Rules Week blog series aimed at educating Subscribers on the MLS rules.
To see all rules week posts, click here or visit our Rules Week landing page.

Public Remarks Errors

Some things just don’t belong in the public remarks field. Phone numbers, Web addresses, and your name for example. Take a look at these common examples based on real listings. The problems have been underlined in red and violate the Inappropriate Language Policy, which now carries a $200 fine under the new Penalty Policy. Our examples below are not exhaustive, see the Inappropriate Language Policy for more information.

Section 1A of the Inappropriate Language Policy prohibits website addresses (and phone numbers) for any reason in public remarks.

It’s violation of section 1A for the phone number but also section 2D for title information in public remarks. Title information is only allowed in private or semi-private remarks. Check the section for other prohibitions on title information as there are some restrictions on what can be said relating to title in semi/private remarks as well.

Section 1B prohibits Open House information in public remarks.
This is part two of our Rules Week blog series aimed at educating Subscribers on the MLS rules.
See part 1 here or visit our Rules Week landing page.

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