Open up, houses: Realtors association puts on a parade
You don't have to be Harold Arlen to love a parade.
Indeed, home shoppers - whether serious or "just looking" - are turning out to be enthusiasts of the "Parade of Homes" put on by the Prescott Area Association of Realtors (PAAR).
Pete Weaver, president of PAAR, says the first Parade of Homes was last year - followed by two this year.
The next PAAR Parade of Homes will be Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Weaver expects well over 100 homes on the tour, ranging geographically from Dewey-Humboldt to Chino Valley, though most will be in Prescott and Prescott Valley areas.
This is not an unusual opportunity for go-getters who want to "see what's out there" and hit dozens of homes.
"It's an area-wide open house where we coordinate our agents that want to participate," said Weaver.
To view the homes on the tour, visit paar.org.
Motivated to see plenty of homes? Shoppers "can tour 20 homes, easily," Weaver said.
As a bonus, Saturday's event helps a great cause. "This is in support of Prevent Child Abuse (PCA) out of Prescott Valley," Weaver said.
Rather than balloons to signify parade participants, the Parade of Home sites will be marked with blue and silver pinwheels. "We're encouraging all of our agents to donate $1 for each pinwheel," Weaver said.
"Any donations we get will go to the local chapter of Prevent Child Abuse."
While home shoppers from the Phoenix area will be on the parade route, Weaver said locals "want to see their neighbor's house and have a nice hot cookie."
The kind of treats provided vary from open house to open house. "Some go all out," Weaver said. "But the most important thing is having a real estate expert talk intelligently about the home and the area. If they get a cookie, that's a bonus."
It's also a great time for buyers to jump in, as demand has been steadily rising, pushing home prices up 13 percent over last year.
Weaver expects another rise next year of around 10 percent. "Unless something unforeseen happens, nothing is going to derail the recovery," he said.
According to Weaver's year-to-date figures, closed sales average sales prices for PAAR homes are $234,000, up from $207,000 this time last year.
"Sellers are getting on the average 97 percent of their list price - that's identical to last year," Weaver said.
"Time on the market is down 20 percent from same period last year."
The sales prices are "a vast improvement, but it'll take a lot until we're back to 2005-06 levels - but that wasn't very realistic."
During the "bubble years," Prescott area home sales prices peaked at just under $300,000 ($299,633, if you want to be precise) in 2006.
"We're seeing a very healthy trend upwards," Weaver said. "It's not the craziness we saw back in the 2005-06 time frame."
In Prescott, home sales this year are averaging $299,000, up 9 percent from $273,000 this time last year.
Driven by some big developments (Stoneridge, Granville, etc.), Prescott Valley's year-to-date average is at $205,000, up a booming 15 percent from $179,000 last year.
Chino Valley's 2014 average of $171,000 is up 19 percent from the $144,000 last year.
The Dewey-Humboldt area has a year-to-date average of $181,000, a 13 percent increase from 2013's $160,000.
Another way of viewing the home sales recovery: PAAR now has 1,210 members - down from a peak or 1,900, but up quite a bit from the recession trough of 825 members.
Saturday's Parade of Homes also kicks off the fall home-buying season, which can be pretty busy.
"Seasonally, we see our peak usually between April and about this time of year," Weaver said. "It's been fairly good in the last few years leading up to Christmas."
For more, see paar.org.