September 12, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and resale homes in the Phoenix area fell for a second consecutive month during July as thinning inventory helped boost prices above last year’s levels for the eighth consecutive month according to the latest housing data released from DataQuick.

A total of 8,949 new and existing homes and condos closed escrow in the Maricopa-Pinal counties area in July. Sales were 6.5 percent lower than the 9,556 homes sold in June but were 0.2 percent higher than the 8,934 homes sold in July of 2011.

Home sales in the region typically fall around seven percent between June and July and were 10.5 percent below the average number of homes typically sold for the month but it was still the best showing in the area since 2009.

Cash buyers accounted for 43.4 percent of all purchases in July, up from 41.4 percent in June and up from 40.0 percent a year earlier. The record for cash purchases was in February 2011, when 48 percent of the sales were for cash.

The price that cash buyers paid for their purchases fell to $117,000 in July, which was down from $120,000 in June.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 41.6 percent of all homes sold in July, up from 39.3 percent in June. The prices they paid for their purchases fell to $118,000 from $122,100 in June.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in July was $150,000, down from $152,000 in June but up from $120,000 in July of last year. It was the eighth consecutive month that home prices have increased year-over-year following 17 months of declines.

The current median price is 43.2 percent below the peak median price of $264,100 in July 2006, however, prices have improved by 26.7 percent since August 2011, when prices in the area reached their post-peak trough of $118,347, and are at their highest level since December of 2008.

Distressed property sales accounted for 32.3 percent of the re-sale market in July, with foreclosure sales accounting for 19.5 percent of all re-sales, down from 21.3 percent in June, and short sales accounting for 12.8 percent of all re-sales, down from 13.7 percent in June.

Foreclosure re-sales peaked in June 2009 at 66.2 percent of all re-sales. Last year at this time, foreclosure sales accounted for 49.7 percent of all sales in the Phoenix area.

Tags: Phoenix real estate, existing home sales, distressed properties, resale homes, condos, cash buyers, investors, median price