July 03, 2012 (Shirley Allen)

Monthly sales of new and resale homes in the Phoenix area hit a 41 month high in May and have risen over 26 percent in the last nine months alone according to the latest housing data released from DataQuick.

A total of 9,892 new and existing homes and condos closed escrow in the Maricopa-Pinal counties area in May. Sales were 4.4 percent higher than the 9,450 homes sold in April and 1.7 percent higher than the 9,725 homes sold in May of 2011.

Home sales typically increase 4.7 between April and May but were still 7.6 percent below the average number of homes typically sold in May.

New homes sales were 51.6 percent higher than in the same month last year, their highest since 2008, but were still 56.4 below the average for the month. Sales of existing homes were 5.9 percent higher than the May average.

Cash buyers accounted for 43.3 percent of all purchases in May, down from 45.0 percent in April but up from 42.0 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 increased to $124,000 in May, which was up from $120,000 in April and $90,000 in May of 2011.

Absentee buyers, usually investors and vacation home buyers, accounted for 39.7 percent of all homes sold in May, down from 40.2 percent in April. The prices they paid for their purchases increased to $122,700 from $120,000 in April and were up from $90,000 in May of 2011.

The overall median price paid for new and resale homes and condos in May was $150,000, up from $142,000 in April and up from $120,000 in May of last year. It was the sixth 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 June 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 in 41 months.

Distressed property sales accounted for 36.9 percent of the re-sale market in May, with foreclosure sales accounting for 24.3 percent of all re-sales, down from 26.6 percent in April, and short sales accounting for 12.6 percent of all re-sales, unchanged from April. Foreclosure re-sales peaked in April 2009 at 66.2 percent of all re-sales. Last year at this time, foreclosure sales accounted for 50.8 percent of all sales in the Phoenix area.

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