The real estate market in Sedona went through the roof in 2004. It has come a little bit back to earth over the past six months, much like the rest of the United States, creating new opportunity for buyers eager to own a piece of the Red Rock Country. From January through July 2006, active inventory was up by 90 percent and listing prices were down by nine percent compared to the first seven months of 2005, according to Multiple Listing Services (MLS). Homes are staying on the market longer – an average of 85 days compared with 60 days last year. Yet even with homes taking more time to sell than they did a year ago, the median price is up 15 percent, to $599,900 from $521,750.
Sedona Monthly spoke to nine local realtors at the end of summer about the state of the local housing market – who is buying in Sedona, and what are the issues they ask about regarding life in a quiet resort town? We also zeroed in on specific homes on the market at price points ranging from $325,000 up to $3 million for a sense of what you can expect to get for your money. The bottom line: The local job market and recent fires aren’t nearly as important to a Sedona buyer as a great view.
$324,900: A Cottage House, For Starters
So you want to buy a home in Sedona in the neighborhood of $300,000? You basically have two choices: a condominium or a mobile home – but until the recent market slowdown the answer simply would have been, Forget it. When Rick Sobotka of Sedona Realty listed this one-story cottage-style Coffee Pot home for $324,900 on Aug. 1, it became the baseline: The lowest priced, stick-built home in West Sedona.
“The price is definitely the selling point,” says Rick. “But it also has decent views of Thunder Mountain, it’s in a quiet location, and it has a spacious living room” with a stone fireplace and wood-beamed cathedral ceilings.
The house was built in 1959 and sits on a corner lot with a grassy backyard, a shed, and a covered patio. The most recent owner bought it in 2004, and fits precisely the profile of who you’d expect to be looking for a house in the $300,000 price range: A first-timer and/or one trying to get a foot in the door of Sedona’s real-estate market. “Empty nesters,” whose children just left home, or retirees also show interest in this range.
“Some buyers might be looking for a property to rent out,” Rick says. “Quite a few will buy a home like this for the land, demolish it and build on the location.”
Not surprisingly, buyers at this level generally choose to finance the price of the home. And while you might expect a home at this price point, especially one in the vicinity of West Sedona Elementary School, to attract young families, Jean says there just aren’t many buyers under age 30 in Sedona.
Rick agrees that, even at the lower end, many people in the Sedona real estate market are retired and not worrying about finding work. And younger people looking at this level in Sedona have a secure income, typically not dependent on the local job market.