Housing prices up, inventory down in Tucson

Published: Jun. 14, 2017 at 9:09 PM MST|Updated: Jun. 15, 2017 at 10:47 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - According to numbers released today by Tucson Realty and Trust, the average price of a new home in Tucson is now $335,697, a record amount.

"Anything under $300,000 is gone in a heartbeat," said Hank Amos, the president of the company. "The market is on fire."

The average price for all homes on the market is $224,783.

Amos said on Wednesday, June 14, there are a couple of reasons for the increase in prices.

First of all, Tucson has become a "job growth" city. 5,300 jobs were created in 2016 and the area is on pace to add another 7,100 jobs this year.

Many of those jobs are in high wage industries like Caterpillar, Raytheon and Comcast.

Those workers don't shudder at the higher prices, "they buy" he said.

And secondly, he believes, the inventory has shrunk to the level that its putting pressure on the prices.

He said even prices on existing homes has increased nearly 5 percent just in the first half of 2017. Sales have jumped more than 12 percent, which means more pressure on prices.

But he also adds, the land on which to build homes has shrunk as well, meaning even if developers want to build, finding a place to do so is becoming more difficult.

The inventory for lots has decreased by 10 percent so far this year which means builders are buying where they can, when they can.

Adding to the problems is finding enough skilled workers to keep up with demand.

Builders are searching across the country to try to find skilled carpenters, plumbers and foremen to come to Tucson.

"We don't have an inventory of young workers who have those skills," Amos said. "There's not a long of young people who are in this business."

When the market crashed in 2007, many skilled workers left Tucson, others retrained for other professions, and young people stayed away from the trades.

That shortage is catching up to Tucson.

"We went through a time when it was thought everyone should go to college," Amos said. "People are just beginning to realize it's okay to be in the trades, you can make a great living doing it."

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