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Valley home prices stagnant, sales down

PHOENIX -- It's starting to look like Valley home prices aren't likely to go up for the rest of the year.

For the second month in a row, the median price for a single-family home in the Phoenix area is sitting at just under $205,000.

Lower demand for homes is the reason. Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate at ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business, said that local home sales actually dropped 16 percent between April 2013 and one year later.

"We started slowing down from August onward last year," Orr said. "We've now got to the point where the total number of sales for the year so far is the second-lowest since 1999."

Orr said that two groups of people are driving the lower demand.

"One is those people who have been through a foreclosure or a short sale who have been locked out because of their credit being effected," he said. "And then there's the younger generation, particularly the Millennials between 20 and 30."

Orr said the younger group is putting off a lot of major milestones until later in life, including buying a first home.

The supply of available homes in the Valley has increased of late. As of May 1, there were 73 percent more active listings in the Phoenix area than there were at the same time a year ago.

Despite the slowing of sales, Orr said that the Phoenix real estate market is healthy, and there's little chance of a crash like that seen during the recession a few years ago.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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