Strong Economy Keeps Housing Market Humming

Lea Marquez Peterson
Arizona Corporation Commissioner


You are probably asking what an Arizona Corporation Commissioner is doing in a real estate industry publication. I have found that the Commission has a poor history of effectively educating the public of what it is we actually do, so I don’t blame you.

In reality, our agency touches all parts of life in the state. From helping new businesses get incorporated and protecting investors from fraud to monitoring telecom companies and overseeing pipeline safety, we do a lot.

Our highest profile responsibility – the one that most people know us for – is regulating water, wastewater, and electric utilities across the state. The decisions we make in that role impact every resident and business in Arizona.

Every homeowner, landlord, tenant, and business feels the effect of the utility policies we put in place. My goal is to ensure that we continue to provide reliable, sustainable, and affordable utilities for everyone. Understanding the many sectors of our economy impacted by these choices – including the real estate sector – helps me to do that.


Here, There, and Everywhere 

As a lifelong Southern Arizona resident, I understand two things very clearly. First, Arizona is a wonderful and beautiful place to live, work, and play. And second, Arizona is more than just Phoenix.

I get it. Maricopa County has been the fastest-growing county in the nation which led our state to grow faster than any other last year, a whopping

2.2 percent! The Valley of the Sun has grabbed the attention of companies across the country looking for an affordable major metro area where they can relocate major pieces of their operations and workforce.

But more and more, that growth trend is widening beyond the Phoenix metro area. From major industry players like Caterpillar, GEICO, and Amazon expanding in Tucson, to cutting edge transportation manufacturing breaking ground in Coolidge and Casa Grande, on up to a thriving healthcare and biotech industry in Flagstaff – the whole State is feeling the positive effects of growth.

All of those transplants looking to put down roots in Arizona and get to work, however, have one thing in common…they need a place to live. So what does this mean for the Arizona housing market as we move into 2020?


Ahead of the Curve in 2019

 So far this year the housing market in Arizona has been tight. The RE/MAX National Housing Report, for instance, says Phoenix has one of the two tightest markets among the 53 metro areas it ranked.

Prices have continued to rise over the last few years, albeit at much more reasonable levels than the 2005-06 build-up to the last crash. Gone are the days of a 50 percent jump in two years, and instead we have seen more healthy 6-8 percent gains annually. What’s encouraging, is that even with our recent rising home values, the median home in Arizona is still below $300,000.

2019 has seen many major markets — especially on the coasts – with some even seeing price declines. Here in Arizona, however, there is little to signal that the market has plateaued.


Looking Forward 

As former President and CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, I understand that there are many factors that impact the health of a housing market. Many of these stem from the state of the overall economy. When people want to do business here, everyone feels the effects.

When I look around Arizona I believe that we have the fundamentals in place to sustain healthy growth moving forward. We have recommitted to supporting our education system, made massive improvements to our infrastructure, adopted policies to keep taxes low, and attracted new industry by cultivating a business-friendly environment.

When you pair those factors with our natural beauty, prime weather, and great people it seems Arizona is in a good position to remain strong into the future.