WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The rise and fall of real estate prices from 2008 to 2018 in northern Arizona looks like a topographic map. Home values hit a peak around 2008 and they plummeted through the subsequent recession. Since then, home values have steadily risen with 2018 prices at or above prerecession levels.
“Home values have continued to climb,” said realtor Allan Duncan of Banker’s Real Estate in Williams.
The median home value in Williams is currently $234,100, which is up 11.7 percent over last year, according to data collected from Zillow.com.
The real estate site predicts that home values will continue to rise 6.5 percent within the next year. The median list price per square foot for the area is $196.
The median price of homes in Williams is $279,500.
“Prices went up really fast between 2017 and 2018,” Duncan said.
According to Chief Building Inspector Tim Pettit, Williams building permits were also up in 2018.
Pettit said 166 permits were issued in 2018, which is up from the previous five year period average of 135 permits.
There were 41 new residential permits, which was a 59 percent increase over the five year average of 17 new homes.
Duncan believes that home prices are beginning to plateau.
“We aren’t seeing prices increasing as much,” he said. “There is still plenty of demand, but there’s only so much people can pay.”
Currently there are 69 homes and 227 vacant lots for sale in the Williams real estate area.
“We have more inventory in northern Arizona than we did a year ago,” Duncan said. “The difference is that the prices have gone up to the point where people can’t quite buy them. They are on the market a little bit longer now.”
Duncan said on average home prices in Williams are less than the Flagstaff area.
The median home value in Flagstaff is $369,200, which has gone up 7.1 percent over last year. The median price per square foot is $218. The median price of currently listed homes is $445,000.
“Our sweet area is between $200,000 — $300,000,” Duncan said. “That’s for something in town. Manufactured homes outside of town are right around $200,000, give or take $30,000.”
Duncan said homes that are in very good condition and are priced right sell quickly.
“If something is in really pretty shape and it’s priced where other things have sold, they’re not on the market long,” He said. “Even in the winter time.”
Currently Duncan has eight properties in escrow, which includes several homes and vacant lots.
“I’m selling more land now,” Duncan said. “For a long time land wouldn’t sell, but now land is selling because you can almost put together something cheaper than what you could buy it for.”
Duncan said he is mostly selling property north of town, off of State Route 64, and lots near Elephant Rocks Golf Course.
“These are people wanting to put something on it right now, they aren’t waiting around,” he said. “They aren’t spec homes. They want to buy and build for themselves.”
Although home values are 100 percent or higher of where they were in 2008, vacant land has not rebounded to those levels.
“Something was going on in 2008 — land values skyrocketed,” he said. “It was speculators, they weren’t really putting time and effort into seeing what they were doing. They paid outrageous prices and they were able to get loans for them too.”
Duncan said it is much more difficult to get loans for land today. He said most lenders require a buyer to have plans to build on the land within a year.
Because lenders have tightened up requirements for buyers, Duncan said he doesn’t see another recession in the immediate future.
“I don’t see a crash, but I can see prices going down a little bit,” he said. “We aren’t in the same position as 2006. The people that are getting loans are more substantial. In 2006 they were giving loans to everybody.”
Although rising interest rates concern many homeowners, Duncan said the increase can be beneficial to home buyers.
“The more interest rates go up, the slower it gets,” he said. “As interest rates go up, inflation should stop and home prices should drop.”
Although many homes in the Highland Meadows area are being purchased as second homes, Duncan said most of his customers are buying in Williams to live full-time. Many are from the Flagstaff commuting area.
“We are getting a lot of Flagstaff real estate agents coming here because people are getting priced out of Flagstaff,” he said.
Duncan said the average turnaround time for a home priced correctly is two months.
“I just sold a new 1,500 square foot, three bed, two bath home for $274,000,” he said. “It was for sale one month and sold within two.”
Duncan said his agency sold 14 properties in Williams in January with four realtors. Last year at this time, they had sold 13 properties with eight realtors.
“We are doing more with less,” he said.
Pettit said there were no new commercial permits issued in 2018, but he did have 441 commercial remodel permits issues.
Duncan said there were currently eight commercial properties for sale in Williams.
“People that already live here buy someone else’s commercial property because they know it has value,” Duncan said. “So people here buy each other’s properties. They know each other. They know how to make money with it.”