Arizona Towns Showing Modest Growth

Arizona cities and towns continue their recent growth spurt. While not growing at rates comparable to the 1990’s and early 2000’s, the state has seen recent new growth.

Here are Arizona cities and towns and how they rank nationally in population. The following is based on 2011 U.S. Census estimates:

City or Town / National Rank

Phoenix: 1,469,471, 6th

Tucson: 525,796, 33rd

Mesa: 446,518, 38th

Chandler: 240,101, 81st

Glendale: 230,482, 87th

Scottsdale: 221,020, 92nd

Gilbert: 211,951, 99th

Tempe: 164,268, 145th

I have lived in Arizona for the better part of 30 years now. During that time we have witnessed mostly good, consistent growth. However, during the recession that began around 2008 our valley has experience a slow growth mode. We have lost residents to other states for the first time in memory.

However, the valley is now seeing a revitalization in its population growth once again. Arizona is once again becoming one of the fast growing states in the country. Arizona is a unique population. We have a varied population base and no specific industry, like a Las Vegas Nevada.

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Mesa leads the metro Phoenix area in the number of distressed home sales. Short sales are driving the homeowner market in virtually every valley city, where foreclosed property sales used to dominate.

Short Sales Simmering

In March of 2012 Mesa had 919 transactions considered distressed sales. If you add Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert and Tempe together 2,355 distressed sales occurred in March of this year.

Higher value neighborhoods tend to fare better, such as 85215, where only 24% of home sales are in this category. Many of the distressed sales are in lower income neighborhoods.

In short sales the lender forgives the debt partially because the home does not retain enough equity for the owner to repay the debt. What helps the lender is finding a buyer quickly so the home does not sit empty. In foreclosed situations a home can sit empty for a time, often times leading to vandalism.

The Crash that ended Careers

In 2007 there were over 52,000 real estate agents in Arizona.

After the recession and real estate crash the industry witnessed a 52% decrease in the number of real estate agents.

Today there are a little over 35,000 agents licensed in Arizona. An additional 19,000 have licenses that are not active, meaning they cannot transact business.

While many expect the number of real estate agents to rise again, many feel the market is still too uncertain at this time. Though, Arizona has seen housing prices rise considerable in recent months.

Construction Woes of Phoenix

According to the Associated General Contractors of America, the City of Phoenix suffered the worst decline in construction jobs in the nation.

Upwards of 93,000 people lost constructions jobs in the Arizona capital.

Other Arizona towns significantly impacted in a negative way – Kingman and Lake Havasu. Both saw drastic construction job losses since 2009, both losing about 70% of their construction jobs to the poor economy.

Phoenix officials say that the city has seen improvement of late. In the last 12 months they report a gain of 1,900 construction jobs.

Using numbers from July 2008 – June 2009 Arizona ranked #7 in the nation in fastest growing states. Arizona grew at a 1.48% clip, which is probably still far off its pre-recession growth days.

Surprisingly, states like Wyoming and Alaska grew faster than Arizona during this time frame. That may have had as much to do with jobs as any reason, as Arizona unemployment numbers remain high.

Most of the states with the highest rates of growth occurred on the west coast. And the current blizzards and extreme winter conditions in the midwest and east coast may only help spur growth west of the Rocky Mountains.

Gary Brown, Agent/Owner
(480) 659-0229