Posts by: ARMLS

The Best Part is on Page 7

Commentary found in STAT has been written by local real estate expert Tom Ruff from the Information Market for the past four months. If you’re not reading his commentary, you might be missing out on the best part of STAT. Here is the commentary from the newest issue of STAT published today looking back at September 2013:

download-statSeptember STAT data provides some interesting numbers as it suggests a shift in current market conditions. Total inventory numbers are increasing, up 9.4% for the month and 7.3% year-over-year. With total inventory numbers increasing and pending sales contracts declining, the trend is pointing toward a balanced market.

On October 1, 2012, there were 9,700 pending sales contracts, there were 6,580 in September. Sales volume fell from the previous month, this drop was seasonable and expected, while year-over-year sales volumes were comparable. Yearly sales volumes over the last two years are nearly identical with the median sales price ($185,000) and average sales price ($236,700) up 23% and 19% respectively.

As the supply and demand move toward a balanced state, expect price increases to moderate. As predicted by the PPI both the median and average sales price rose in September. In October, The Pending Price index calls for an increase in average sales price, but sees a decline in the median sales price.

Last month in STAT we promised to take a look at the demand side of our housing equation, profiling buyers and how the composition of buyers is changing. Shifting our attention away from MLS data to focus on public records data, A.R.S. 11-1137 requires all buyers and sellers of real property or their agents to complete an affidavit of value. Of course the government exempts itself from this requirement and as a result, HUD and VA sales are not included in this analysis.

The affidavit of value provides a wealth of information. Simply by summarizing the data points available, it’s possible to gain valuable market insights. By comparing September 2012 affidavits of value recorded in Maricopa County to September 2013, if and how the dynamics of our market have shifted over the past year is able to be ascertained. In September of 2012, 7,070 affidavits of value were recorded where the sale was reported as either a single-family residence or condo. In September of this year, the number was roughly equal with 7,081 transactions reported. The market is off to a good start.

form-valueOne of the data points required on the affidavit of value is defined as the residential buyer’s intended use. There are 3 classifications: (a.) the buyer either intends to live in the home as their primary residence, (c.) they intend to rent the home to someone other than a family member or (b.) it will be owner-occupied but not as their primary residence. The last choice is a recent addition first appearing in our data set in April of 2012 and is to identify second-home buyers. Buyers who intend to rent the home out (c.) are a strong indicator of investor activity in our market, and for the purposes of our discussion, are defined as investors.

In September 2012, 2,048 purchasers, or roughly 29% of all buyers, were investors. In September of this year, the number of investors accounted for 1,415 or 20% of the purchases made. If these numbers are restricted to the hot topic of the day, institutional investors, 398 institutional purchases were made in 2012 as reported by the recorded affidavit. Nine significant institutional buyers have been identified in Maricopa County and in September of 2012 eight of the nine were buying. Moving ahead to September of this year, there were only 110 institutional buys with recorded affidavits and only four of the nine buying institutions were active with a greatly reduced appetite.

Overall investor interest in Maricopa County declined 31% and institutional investment activity declined 72% from September 2012 to September 2013. It makes sense that a decline in investor activity would also mean a decline in cash sales. The number of homes purchased with a mortgage increased 18% year-over-year. There were 4,267 homes purchased with a mortgage in September 2012 and 5,052 this September. The decline in institutional activity should be a point of solace for smaller local investors.


Just as the number of investors purchasing homes in Maricopa County declined over the past year, so has the number of second-home buyers. In 2012, 916 home buyers indicated they were purchasing a second home while in 2013 this number fell to 707, a decline of 23%. With a significant 31% decline in investor activity and a 23% decline in second-home buyers, this can mean only one thing – an increase in owner-occupied homes. In September 2012, 4,106 homes were purchased where the buyer declared their intention to live in the home. In September 2013 owner-occupied purchases rose 21% to 4,959. The year-over-year difference was an increase of 853 homes.

In STAT last month we suggested first-time buyers, boomerang buyers and an increase in new home construction would embody the final phase of the housing recovery. September 2012 produced 739 newly constructed home sales, while this September there was 890. Couple a 20% increase in newly constructed home sales year-over-year with the 21% increase in owner-occupied purchases year-over-year and it appears the Valley is in the very early stages of the fourth and final phase of the housing recovery.

One final indicator of movement into the final phase of recovery can be seen by comparing the number of newly constructed home sales to the number of foreclosures. In January of 2008 the number of home foreclosures each month overtook the number of newly constructed homes sold each month. This trend has finally reversed itself and this summer for the first time in five and a half years more new homes were built and sold than the number of homes sold on the courthouse steps.

The buyer’s address on the affidavit of value is the best indication known of where our buyers are coming from. In 2012, 20% of the buyers in Maricopa County reported out-of-state buyers’ addresses and this year that number declined to 16%. While the overall number of out-of-state buyers declined 4% year-over-year, the number of out-of-state buyers with the intention of making their home their primary residence increased. In September 2012, there were 395 owner occupants purchasing homes in Maricopa County, this year the number rose to 421. The top five states from which people are relocating to Arizona are California, Washington, Colorado, Illinois and Texas. When looking at purchases declared as second-home purchases, Canadian buyers lead the way followed by California, Washington, Colorado and Illinois.

Buyers are the focus this month because there is presently an increase in active listings and a decline in pending sales, or in simple economic terms, an increase in supply and a decline in demand. The last two years were seen as a seller’s market where demand outpaced supply placing the listing agent in the stronger bargaining position. As there is movement into a balanced market with fewer investors and cash buyers, the traditional owner-occupant will play a more vital role. It’s time to show the buyers some love. There is a large pool of displaced homeowners as a result of the foreclosure crisis wanting to reenter the housing market, and there is a large population base of millennials ready to enter the market. It makes sense for a buyer’s agent to build a working relationship with a knowledgeable loan officer to develop a strategy which taps into these two large pools.

Mini FAQ Facts

mini-faqThere are some questions ARMLS Subscribers have which keep coming up through our blog, and the Helpdesk. We’ve taken some of those questions and tackled them here in this mini-FAQ:

Why can’t I find eSign, Docusign or ZipForm information on
Those are AAR products not provided or supported by ARMLS, visit AAR at: 

Where is the Grid Map / Map Code?
It’s on found here: but you might want to read this post on finding the grid map code in flexmls:

I can’t seem to find IDX information on, where is it?
That page can be found here:

Where is the list of eKey compatible devices / smartphones / phones?
You can find that list here:

Where can I find floor plans?
Floor plans for exisiting homes are best found at, this service is not affiliated with ARMLS and may charge a fee.


panel-barARMLS® ENGAGE!” is a new ARMLS event being held on 10/24 in Phoenix. At this event you’ll be able to interact with some top talent in the real estate space like Michael Orr from the Cromford Report, Tom Ruff from the Information Market and senior management from the Valley’s top home builders. The day is split into two halves, Morning and Afternoon, with a fantastic lunch in the middle.

The event also marks the return of G. William James, a nationally recognized speaker, with two new technology class offerings. See our official ARMLS ENGAGE! page for full details.

9:00 – 11AM (choose one)
• Panel – Mythbusters: The True Real Estate Market
• Class – Time Management, Client Relationships and Mobile Productivity Solutions

Lunch 11:30AM – 12:30PM (yummmmy, vegetarian options provided).

1:00 – 3:00PM (choose one)
• Panel – Buy New, Start Fresh
• Class – Smartphones, Tablets & Tech Tools: What REALTORS® Should Know

Register | Details

Map Master: Dual Maps

Visiting a new listing? Dual Maps is a tool that shows you three different views of an address all at the same time. The Google Street View, Bing Bird’s Eye view and Google Road Map view have been combined, shown in the image below. As you move one map, the other’s update. Here’s a sample using the ARMLS Tempe address:


The image has been scaled, the maps are much bigger in reality.

Check it out for yourself:

Subscriber Technology Quiz Results

pop--quiz-armlsOver 200 Subscribers took part in our Subscriber Technology Quiz. The average score was 65%, but the quiz was tough so buck-up. Some questions were intentionally tricky to measure mastery. Let’s take a look at the questions and answers.

What’s the most current version of the Windows operating system?
Windows 8 was released in October 2012 and is the most recent Windows OS, 75% answered this question correctly. Windows 8.1 is scheduled for release soon, it’s on our radar for compatibility.

Apple just released what version of iOS?
iOS7 is the correct response, 78% knew it. Supra is testing iOS7 eKey compatibility and we’ve had reports from Subscribers that it is working well.

Apple has the iPad, Microsoft has the?
The Surface tablet is Microsoft’s direct attack on the iPad, sadly only 53% could recall that. The ads in this battle are good:

The flexmls URL for ARMLS Subscribers is?
The URL is, 80% nailed it and restored our faith in humanity.

 zipForm is provided by?
It’s AAR, not ARMLS! This wasn’t a problem for our quiz takers as 80% got it right. Calls to our Helpdesk asking for zipForm support are very common but AAR is the best place to get zipForm help: 480-304-8930.

Google has it’s own email service, what is it called?
Gmail was a no-brainer for most as 96% selected wisely.

What’s the maximum length of a Tweet?
140 characters was known by 78%.

IDX is short for?
Internet Data Exchange didn’t get much love as only 58% could decode the right answer. Learn more about IDX here.

Which HTML tag will make text bold?
The <strong> tag makes text bold, 24% knew that. The <b> tag bolds as well but that wasn’t one of the selections as it is a deprecated tag. We tripped up many by offering a <bold> choice, which doesn’t do anything.

Hashtags are supported on which social networks (select all that apply)?
Hashtags work on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, but only 25% selected all three, #FAIL.

No, You Can’t Post Another Broker’s Listings Without Permission

Photo by Ben K Adams

Photo by Ben Adams

It’s a hot topic – posting another Broker’s listings without permission outside of IDX. It is an ARMLS rule violation and the Data Integrity department is on the case. But we need your help. When reporting a possible 10.11 rule violation, the Data Integrity department needs the following information:

1. A link to the individual posting. Links like this –, are nearly impossible to investigate as they point to hundreds of listings.

2. The address of the subject property

3. The listing number

What happens after contacting ARMLS?
If the reporting Subscriber isn’t the Listing Agent of the listing in question, the Data Integrity department will reach out to the Listing Agent to ask if permission was given or if they give permission for the posting.

If the listing agent did not give permission or you are the listing agent and didn’t give permission – we will address the report according to the ARMLS Penalty Policy.

But Arizona State Law and ADRE opinion say it’s okay?
ARMLS rules can be more restrictive than the law and only apply to listings filed with ARMLS. Your acceptance of the Subscriber agreement dictates the adoption of the ARMLS Rules & Regulations and other policies.

Subscriber Technology Quiz

How well do you know technology? You may find out that you are a tech genius or that you need to brush up on technology. Your score and the average score will be displayed after you complete the quiz. A leaderboard will also display, but adding your score is optional.

Click the “Start Quiz” button to begin:

Viewing this quiz via RSS or email? Click here.

Google Search Like a Pro

Did you know there are many hidden Google power search features, like the ability to set alerts for search terms that are emailed to you automatically (Google Alerts)? We’ve taken the best hidden features and summarized them below:

The Wildcard
Sometimes when you search, you might be missing information, like the exact name of a business. On Google, an * (asterisk) is a wildcard, meaning Google will know there is a gap in your search term and try to fill it in. Example: “Peter * Pizza Tempe” would yield “Peter Piper Pizza Tempe” and other alternatives. We’ve provided a real estate example in the image below and the results you can expect:


Google Alerts
When you set up a Google Alert, you are emailed when new results show up for your search term(s), many monitor where their listings show up with this tool. There are a few ways to create an alert, but the fastest way is to be logged-in to Google and visit Learn more about Google Alerts here.


Search Sites
You remember a great AZCentral article but your Google search turns up thousands of unrelated results, there is a solution. Instead of searching the entire Internet, you can search on just one website using the “” parameter, now you’re only searching You can also exclude websites by adding a minus sign in front, “”, now the search contains all websites but NOT


Give these tips a try and comment if you have a tip you would like to share.

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