Phoenix Homes are More Expensive than DC Homes...Huh?

Posted on May 03, 2012 by Corey Hart



We happened upon this article via Twitter yesterday: Phoenix Finds Its Way Out of the Downturn: A Model for Recovery, which discusses the recent turnaround in several key indicators in the Phoenix Market. Since RBI recently partnered with ARMLS (the MLS out there), it was of obvious interest. Most of the piece appears pretty solid - the trends described matched up relatively well with the trends we're seeing in the ARMLS data (see a few related charts at the end of this post). Their "Phoenix Metro" isn't an exact match to our "Phoenix" aggregate, so no need to nitpick if the reported stats aren't 100% identical to our figures. But then a non-MLS data source was thrown into the mix, highlighting the pitfalls of what MRIS has recently referred to as TMBI (Too Much Bad Information):

"The average price per square foot for homes in Phoenix during the first quarter of this year was $956, according to the online real estate marketplace Trulia. That’s an increase of 999.9 percent compared to the same period last year."

Wait a second...the average price per square foot for a home in Phoenix is (way) higher than any ZIP code in the DC Metro Area?? Number One on our Q1 Top 10 $/SqFt List was Georgetown (20007), which averaged only $601 per SqFt. We decided to head to the source of this $956 Phoenix figure, and sure enough, here is the Trulia chart:



You can see the recent spike - along with some other anomalies in the 09-10 time period! According to another chart on Trulia's site, the average list price for homes in this market was $257,211 in the most recent time period. Bump that against the SqFt Cost Average and your average home size is somewhere south of 270 square feet. Or you can apply that $956 avg against a few different home sizes  - The average 1,000 SqFt Phoenix home would go for $956,000; a 1,500 SqFt Phoenix home would go for $1.4M; a 2,500 SqFt home - $2.4M! . If this Trulia $/SqFt metric is accurate, Phoenix has not only recovered from the downturn, they are suddenly competing with Manhattan in the premium real estate space.

We can empathize with Trulia, we know the pain caused by those pesky listings that have a home size of 1 square foot incorrectly assigned (which is why we have a thorough QC process), but here's the point - Be cautious when citing non-MLS data sources.  And if you see a 999.9% change for any average, it probably shouldn't pass the smell test!

Now, a few RBI charts supporting the idea that the Phoenix appears to be rebounding (with valid ARMLS data), even if the astronomical gain in $/SqFt turned out to be invalid...


market analysis, price per square foot
Comments: 2  |  Back to rbiBLOG

I hear you Doug - I'm

I hear you Doug - I'm currently the manual-spam-deleter-guy as our Dev team is busy building rbiFOCUS. The comment spam is relentless and maddening. I know there is likely an easy fix w/in Drupal, but it's down the chain of priorities - new features for our loyal customers are on top :-) Thanks for the comments about clean, accurate stats, as you can imagine, our data QA process took some time to set up!

Corey, please ask the team in

Corey, please ask the team in "IT" to help you low tech number crunchers out with a spam filter for this blog. Oy vey! Trying to discuss value of a property while clients are reading everything on the web is a very challenging issue for real estate agents. Often these sites have numbers that are lagging the market, too high and too low. So, I really appreciate the extra Quality Control that RBI does to make sure data like square footage is entered accurately. The old saying, "garbage in, garbage out", can't be any truer today.

RBI Sign In

Forgot password? Click here...