Greater Phoenix Residential Market: 2021 May Results

V.P.  Business Development and
Real Estate Analyst Grand Canyon Title Agency
Author of The Wilcox Report
602.648.1230 Founder

Supply of Buyers Not Ending Soon

Twelfth Consecutive Month Median Purchase Price Up

Maricopa County Number One for This

Population Numbers for Arizona’s Fifteen Counties


Supply of Buyers Not Likely to End Soon in Maricopa County

Recently the U.S. Census Bureau released their annual population numbers for counties in the U.S. According to the data, the population in Maricopa County from July 1, 2019 to July 1, 2020 increased by 86,820 people per day. This population gain was greater than any other county in the U.S. The second U.S. county for population increase was Clark County, Nevada at 40,079 and third was Collin County, Texas at 39,997. Maricopa County’s population is now at 4,579,081.  

2020 was the fifth consecutive year Maricopa County led all U.S. counties in annual population gain. The percentage of Maricopa County’s population increasing from migration is up compared to five years ago. Eighty-one percent of its 2020 population gain was from migration compared to 71% in 2016. Hence, its natural population percent change has decreased by 10% in 2020 from 2016. Maricopa County’s average annual population increase in each of the last five years is 81,000 people. In 2010, the time of the great real estate recession, Maricopa County’s population increased by only 7,812. 

If Maricopa County were a state, where would its 2020 population increase rank it? Excluding Arizona itself, which gained 129,558 people over the same period, the state’s most populous county would rank fourth. Only three state Texas, Florida and North Carolina gained more people than Maricopa County. 

At this time, Maricopa County most likely will gain another 80,000 to 90,000 people in 2021. This means the supply of buyers for residential homes is not likely to end soon.

U.S. Counties with Decreasing Populations

Not all counties in the U.S. had populations that increased in 2020. Los Angeles County, CA led all counties in population decrease. Its population decreased by 68,556. Second was Cook County, IL declining by 37,042 people and next was Queens County, NY decreasing 28,121. Of the top ten counties that had decreased in populations in 2020, four were in New York, three in California, and one each in Illinois, Michigan and Hawaii. See Table One.

Census Bureau Categories Used to Determine Population Change

The first category is natural population change. In each county the Census Bureau adds up the number of births and deaths. The difference is either a natural increase or decrease in population. For example, the Census Bureau reported that in Maricopa County from 2019 to 2020 had 52,573 births and 36,247 deaths for a natural population increase of 16,326. The next category is migration. Migration’s two subcategories are international migration and domestic migration. The Census Bureau concluded that Maricopa County’s 2020 international migration was 6,185 and domestic migration was 64,403 for a total migration increase of 70,588. There is a third category that makes an adjustment to the numbers but is a small number and beyond the scope of this article. When we add up 16,326 (natural increase) to 70,588 (net migration) and subtract an adjustment of 94, Maricopa County’s population increase was 86,820.    

2020 Population Changes for the AZ Fifteen Counties

Table two has the 2020 population changes for Arizona’s fifteen counties. The results show twelve of the counties increased in population. Pinal County, after Maricopa County, was second in population gain with 19,188 people and Pima County was third with an increase of 11,914. Pinal County led all Arizona Counties with the highest population percentage growth which was explosive. Pinal County grew by 4.2%. Maricopa County was second at 1.9%, Yavapai County third at 1.8% and Yuma County fourth at 1.7%.  Ten counties had more babies than deaths. Eleven counties had net migration. Five counties had both more babies than deaths and net migration.

May 2021 Sales, Listings, Median Purchase Price and Median Monthly Rent

The demand for single-family resale homes in Maricopa County continues its roar. May 2021 sales were 34% higher than May 2020. There were 6,442 sales this May compared to 4,800 last May. May 2021 listings were 10% higher than May 2020. There were 6,719 listings this May compared to 6,115 last May. For the twelfth consecutive month the median purchase price in May 2021 set an all-time high. It was $435,000 this May. This is $15,000 or 3.5% higher than April and $108,000 or 33% higher than last May. Median monthly rent for a single-family resale home in Maricopa County also continues to increase. For the first time it was over $2,000. The May 2021 median monthly rent of $2,097 was $102 or 5% higher than April and was $357 or 21% higher than May 2020. 

Conclusion: Be an Influencer 

While most sellers and buyers are aware of the hot market for single-family resale homes in Maricopa County you might distinguish yourself from other real estate agents by being specific as to a reason why the market is hot. For example, if you were asked about the residential real estate market in Maricopa County or Greater Phoenix your response might be “well the demand for single-family homes most likely will continue. Recently the U.S. Census Bureau released their county population numbers and the population of Maricopa County increased by 86,820 or 238 people per day in 2020. No other county in the U.S. gained more people than Maricopa County. Eighty percent of our population gain was from people migrating to Maricopa County. Because this migration most likely will continue this year and because of our low supply of inventory competition will remain high, and prices will continue going up.” You get the point, use information in a way that fits your style, creates credibility, and makes you an influencer with sellers and buyers. Note: Starting soon will be a monthly call for real estate agents to go over trends and strategies for competing in today’s residential marketplace. To receive notification, email me at The information in this report is deemed accurate but agents, buyers and sellers should verify any information contained in this report before buying or selling.

Table One

Rank Top Ten Counties for 2020 Pop. Decline Decrease
1 Los Angeles County, CA -68,556
2 Cook County, IL -37,042
3 Queens County, NY -28,121
4 Kings County, NY -23,395
5 New York County, NY -20,337
6 Bronx County, NY -17,045
7 Santa Clara County, CA -15,360
8 San Francisco County, CA -12,220
9 Honolulu, HI -9,665
10 Wayne County, MI -9,470


Table Two Census Results for Arizona’s Fifteen Counties by The Wilcox Report

Arizona Counties 2020 Pop. Net Change 2020 Percent Change Total Natural Change Births Deaths Total Migration International Migration Domestic Migration Adjustment
Apache County -45 -0.1%


117 891 774 -165 29 -194 3
Cochise County 202 0.2%


-107 1,335 1,442 306 115 191 3
Coconino County -1,486 -1.0%


477 1,440 963 -1,963 86 -2,049 0
Gila County 226 0.4%


-429 481 910 661 17 644 -6
Graham County 321 0.8%


193 514 321 126 40 86 2
Greenlee County -126 -1.3%


66 123 57 -191 11 -202 -1
La Paz County 223 1.0%


-142 188 330 366 71 295 -1
Maricopa County 86,820 1.9%


16,326 52,573 36,247 70,588 6,185 64,403 -94
Mohave County 3,360 1.6%


-1,876 1,780 3,656 5,260 -62 5,322 -24
Navajo County 1,075 1.0%


136 1,363 1,227 939 55 884 0
Pima County 11,914 1.1%


-465 10,667 11,132 12,362 1,584 10,778 17
Pinal County 19,188 4.2%


901 4,678 3,777 18,382 405 17,977 -95
Santa Cruz County 80 0.2%


241 612 371 -163 129 -292 2
Yavapai County 4,164 1.8%


-1,500 1,798 3,298 5,693 22 5,671 -29
Yuma County 3,642 1.7%


1,128 3,008 1,880 2,505 585 1,920 9