(Source: PaysonRoundup): Alexis Bechman – Payson AZ home market has skyrocketed this year, but a lack of homes under $200,000 may signal a fresh crisis in affordable housing.
Home sales between $400,000 and $500,000 jumped 76 percent and sales of even more expensive homes rose a staggering 86 percent.
Wendy Larchick and Melissa Cave, with Keller Williams Arizona At the Rim Team, said they are seeing many buyers from California attracted to the area for the scenery, lower taxes and more conservative viewpoints. They can also buy a lot more house in Arizona than they can in California.
One buyer told the Realtors they could save $15,000 annually on taxes by moving to Arizona.
Statistics show higher-end homes are also selling at higher prices and quicker. The average sales price rose 13 percent this year and days on market dropped from 164 days to 157.
By contrast, the sales of homes priced between $80,000 and $200,000 dropped, probably for lack of inventory, said Larchick. For years, Rim Country has suffered a shortage of homes the average worker can afford.
Currently, there are 170 homes on the market in the $80,000-$200,000 range compared to 471 costing $200,000 and above.
The median household income in Payson is $43,000. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development considers families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing cost burdened, meaning the average person can afford a monthly mortgage payment of roughly $1,075, putting them in the $200,000 price home range — which doesn’t include taxes and insurance.
Larchick said the “sweet spot” is the $150,000-$250,000 range, but the handful of houses in that range get snapped up quickly. When people can’t find anything in Payson, they look outside, such as in Pine-Strawberry, Star Valley or Mesa del Caballo.
Larchick said the shortage stems from a scarcity of buildable properties.
One developer is working to build 45 “affordable” new homes near the airport in Rock Creek.
Beyond that, few developers have plans to build in the affordable price range.
Moreover, the region lost many contractors after the recession.
In the country clubs, more people are listing their homes as they see their neighbor’s homes sell quickly. These areas attract Valley second-home buyers and out-of-state residents.
Larchick said four luxury home sales stand out this year, none of them in Chaparral Pines or The Rim Club.
This includes the Fossil Creek Creamery in Strawberry. That property, which features a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home on five acres also includes a working farm and goat cheese and fudge business. It recently sold for $700,000.
A home off Tyler Parkway is among the most expensive homes sold this year. The 12-acre property with a 7,600-square-foot home and 10-car garage sold for $1.64 million.
Other notable sales include two log style homes, one in Payson and the other in Christopher Creek. Both sold just under a million.