How to track the rise and fall of car sales in Arizona
Cars and trucks have become the most popular form of transportation.
But the growth of passenger cars, SUVs and pickups is also taking its toll on the market.
And that’s putting pressure on local retailers who have been struggling to sell the latest models, particularly during the holiday season.
As the holiday shopping season comes to an end, car sales have dropped in the state, according to a new report.
In the first quarter of 2018, Arizona ranked dead last for auto sales, according the National Retail Federation, and it was just 3rd in overall car sales.
The state is also home to some of the most expensive real estate in the country, with prices ranging from $70,000 for a two-bedroom house in Prescott to more than $1 million for a one-bedroom apartment.
But with prices increasing at an annual rate of more than 30 percent since 2009, the situation is more acute for car sales than it was even a few years ago, according a report released by the Arizona Association of Realtors last year.
And it’s not just cars that are suffering.
Some retailers say they are struggling to keep up with rising prices.
As of the first nine months of 2019, car dealerships were reporting sales of just over $2.5 billion, according an August report from the Realtor Association of Arizona.
And the median home sale price in the Phoenix metro area was just over half of the national average of $300,000 in September, according Realtore Mark Cavanaugh, president of the association.
“It’s a great economy.
It’s a wonderful country,” Cavanaugh said of Arizona, where he lives with his wife and two children.
But his family says he has to live paycheck to paycheck.
“If you work, you pay your bills, and you have to pay your mortgage,” said Cavanaugh.
“We are in the middle of a recession right now.
You can’t just buy a car to spend your retirement on, you have got to put some money away.”
Car sales are expected to continue to fall through the holidays, according and it’s unclear if the slump will affect sales as much as it did in the first half of 2019.
The National Association of Home Builders predicts that Arizona’s median home price will fall about 2.5 percent this year, while the state’s overall sales will drop about 6.3 percent.
“Sales are not going to be as strong as they were in the beginning of the year,” said Jim McIlwain, president and CEO of the National Association.
“But I think that we’re going to see the recovery of the car industry as the holiday sales come and go.”
Still, retailers are trying to stay afloat.
The average cost of a home sold in Arizona in 2019 was $223,000, according RE/MAX.
“I think we are at a tipping point, where people are looking for bargains, especially in the car market,” Cofer said.
“And we’re at that point where I’m going to go into the home business and try to sell as many cars as I can.”
As the holidays are drawing near, retailers like the Carrera Motors store on Main Street in Prescott are selling as many vehicles as they can, but they have a tough sell.
Owner Jeff Miller said he’s selling about 30 cars a day.
“There’s not a lot of new cars,” Miller said.
He said his company has sold about 40,000 vehicles since it opened in May 2018.
Miller said sales are picking up as the holidays approach, but he doesn’t expect the sales to take off until January, at the earliest.
Miller’s wife, Julie, is also selling cars.
“The prices are way up, but it’s a good deal,” Julie Miller said, adding that they don’t have much choice.
“As a business, we’re trying to do everything we can to stay competitive, but we just can’t afford to sell a lot more.”