The challenge of making an attempt to make sense of a market in transition, such as were now experiencing in Sedona, is that it tends to not perform in neat, predictable patterns. That’s the tale of Sedona Real Estate at the end of the first Quarter of 2013. Different segments of the market are pulling in sometimes opposite directions and even within some of those segments, behavior can be puzzling.

Starting with the bellwether Single Family Residence market, compared to the 1st Quarter of 2012, surprisingly we see about an 11% decline in the quantity of sales, year over year. Outstanding sales are down approximately 25%. Inventory is now up, over 15%, since the beginning of the year and climbing. Still, while demand has slacked a bit and supply is getting better, the Mean Recorded Selling Price of houses is up significantly in the neighborhood of 28%.

What gives? First, if you are a regular reader of this column, you may recall my admonition to be cautious about reading too much into the price median since it reflects both exact price appreciation and the mixture of the properties being sold. Presently, were seeing a little bit of a boom in the luxury home market that’s tugging the MRSP up. Second, the generally held position is that the low inventories of the past few months have put many purchasers off who are waiting for a better selection. Certainly some true in that, so that the climbing increase in listings will help. 3rd, were seeing a phenomenon classic in an upwards market transition: a number of sellers, having seen the familiar light at the end of the tunnel, are digging in their heels and announcing No Deal to good offers depending on continued market improvement. Dodgy business that, especially for houses that are over-priced.

Home sales of a million greenbacks or even more is the present darling of the market — the best since 2007. Sales are where they were in 2004. Based totally on current Pendings, well have more luxury houses sales in the 1st 4 or five months of 2013 than we had for each of the full years since 2007. Even inventories are way up, 22% over 2102. Costs are up as well, but less than 10% so far.

With home prices increasing, the much-abused Land segment has come to life. Prices remain fairly level with 2012 so far, but sales have jumped about eighty percent. We’re seeing more buyers targeting luxury lots with the intent of building, as well as speculators purchasing less costly lots on which to build spec homes. There is something of a boom in new home construction at assorted levels of the market.

The Condo / Townhome segment can be counted to be contrarian. There, sales are up about 50%, but the Mean Recorded Sales Price is down about twenty p.c.. That, nevertheless, is a clear example of the mixture of the sample. Cheaper condos are selling quicker than dearer townhomes right now.

The sum total of all this, slightly paradoxical, information is a market that’s clearly improving, even tho in fits and starts. Buyers will be there so long as sellers dont get daft. And, barring future economic meltdowns, well be back to long-term trend of steady price appreciation.