First-quarter sales shows real estate rebound

This is the news that everyone has been waiting for: The Sedona and Verde Valley real estate markets appear to be rebounding. "There are many indications that this may be the bottom," says Dan Mabery, designated broker of Coldwell Banker Mabery in Cottonwood.

The number of residential sales in the first quarter of 2009 in Cottonwood, Verde Village, Cornville and Clarkdale (the Upper Verde Valley) equaled that of a year ago. But in Camp Verde, Lake Montezuma and Rimrock (the Lower Verde Valley), the number of residential sales was up by 36 percent-from 25 in 2008 to 34 this year. Mabery thinks that this summer will see an even more significant upswing.

Dr. Roy Grimm, director of the Buyers Brokers Group of Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty, sees a similar pattern in Sedona. "The Sedona real estate market found its bottom in January," he says.

Although the increase in single-family home sales in the first quarter of this year was fairly slight, compared to a year ago, there were significantly more pending sales in Sedona. Pending sales are triple what they were at the end of December 2008 and higher by 23 percent from the booming first quarter of 2006-just before the market plummeted.

Even though sales are up, prices are lower than last year across the entire area-equivalent to those in 2003, just before the real-estate boom. In Sedona, the price of homes hit bottom in late January. The median recorded selling price of a single-family home was $341,500. It has since risen to $424,000. The price per square foot is just under $200.

"The prospect of getting a great deal is what is prompting smart buyers to get back in the market," notes Grimm. "And that's what's pulling us out of the slump." Other contributing factors are the historically low mortgage interest rates and a wide selection of choices.

In the Verde Valley, the median sales price for single-family dwellings dipped to $145,000 during the first quarter. According to Mabery, "The median square-foot price (in the Upper Verde Valley) has leveled off in the $144 range, but the median size of the structure has lowered. It is now tougher to keep the escrows together." The Lower Verde Valley is at $98 per square foot. "This is a great time to be a buyer, and the buyers are beginning to move," says Mabery.

To learn more about your local market, call 928-282-5409.

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