From Our Blog – Best Custom Home Builders

Congratulations to Desert Star Construction, recently named one of Arizona Foothills Magazine’s Best Custom Homebuilders. I know they have several exciting projects in the works, but one of them is for sale right now.  And we’re proud to have featured it on the cover of our Portfolio magazine.  Click here to take a tour of one of Paradise Valley’s most remarkable custom luxury homes. read more

Mountain Shadows Resort Update May Boost Home Values

Our very own Catherine Jacobson was quoted in today’s Arizona Republic.   “Catherine … said a definitive development plan that is ready to go would be a big boost for Mountain Shadows East and West residents and their home values. There already has been an increase in price per square foot for Mountain Shadows homes as the overall real-estate market improves, said Jacobson, a resident of Mountain Shadows West. “We moved in about a year before the resort shut down, just long enough to know how nice it would be to have a new resort come around,” she said.   Read the rest of the article here. read more

Guest Post: Tenant’s Rights During Foreclosure

What happens to a tenant when the landlord stops paying on the mortgage and lets the bank foreclose? These days, it’s a common question potential tenants are wise to ask and here with the answer is Chris Combs, Esq., founder of the Combs Law Group, a law firm with extensive business and real estate law experience based in Phoenix. Writes Chris: The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (“Act”) provided that any bona fide residential lease entered into prior to the date of foreclosure would have to be honored by the bank or other new owner. This provision in the Act was unclear but was generally interpreted in Arizona to mean that a [...] read more

Market Math – Stymied by Statistics?

Eventually they’ll get it right, and by then they’ll be too late. Yesterday the Phoenix Business Journal reported on two studies finding that the Phoenix market is up 7% from last year — and simultaneously heading down 11 percent this year. The “up 7 percent” article compares March 2011 to March 2012.  Checked against our own data, the 7 percent is accurate for Phoenix’s luxury real estate neighborhoods like Paradise Valley, Scottsdale, and Arcadia.  Good news! However, what mystified me was the second study claiming that we would be facing an 11 percent decrease in prices this year after such a strong first quarter — showing no signs of letting up.  And to this point, [...] read more

Vacation Homes in Arizona

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal published a study which found that the average vacation home buyer travels up to about 300 miles between their primary and secondary residence.  Reasons include the obvious ones like ease of access, but also so the property can be more easily shared with friends from their home town or maintained as a rental.  The story cites Home Away, Inc., whose own research finds that 91 percent of vacation home owners rent it out when its not in use. For the curious (and for fun), I plotted this map highlighting a 300 mile radius of metro Phoenix.  I suspect we will continue seeing Los Angeles and [...] read more

The Foreclosure Wave That Won’t Be

Yesterday Reuters published an article about Americans bracing for the next wave of foreclosures, again reminding us that we’re all doomed. Except… we’re not. I contacted Mike Orr with The Cromford Report who pointed out that Phoenix foreclosures peaked in 2009 and have been trending downward ever since. His research suggests the “wave of foreclosures” in metro Phoenix is actually 90 percent over. And across the country, delinquency rates are down and continuing to go down, according to information provided by LPS Applied Analytics. Managing nearly 40 million loans across the U.S., their aggregate data is especially helpful in recognizing national mortgage trends. The Reuters article even mentions LPS figures [...] read more

Impending Tax Change for Short Sellers

Homeowners considering a short sale later this year may want to get moving because a tax benefit for short sellers is set to expire at the end of 2012. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 was established in an attempt to allow short sellers – presumably in a dire financial situation – to avoid a surprise income tax bill the following year.  Essentially, it exempts sellers from paying income tax on the difference in what is owed versus the short sale price of the home.  The link above will take you to the IRS page with specifics, and absolutely consult your accountant (and probably your attorney) to see if [...] read more

Arizona Visitor’s Guide

Check out the new State of Arizona Official Visitor’s Guide.  We just received a digital copy and it is too good not to share. Even longtime residents are sure to find something new and exciting to explore.  You can download your own copy by clicking on the photo.  Happy trails! Viewing on a smartphone or tablet?  Click here for a version optimized to display on your device. read more

Make the Skies Friendly Again – With A Flight From The Scottsdale Airport

One of the nation’s busiest single runway airports, the Scottsdale Airport has long been a Northeast Valley landmark. Within minutes of some of metro Phoenix’s most prominent businesses, nearby resorts, restaurants and recreation amenities, there’s no reason that the next time you fly, it can’t be for both business and pleasure. But it wasn’t always such an idyllic place. Rapidly constructed as an Army Air Corps training facility within months of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the school trained over 5,500 pilots before being shut down shortly before the Allied victory in Europe in 1945. By the time their graduates had finished winning the war, they had flown 26.5 million [...] read more

The Camelback Inn – Always At The Heart of Town

  In 1936, with the country mired in the depths of the Great Depression, an ambitious young hotel manager persuaded a group of investors to fund construction of a resort in the Sonoran Desert. Arizona had been a state for less than 30 years when hotel manager Jack Stewart proposed the idea of a resort destination in the desert.  His investor?  An Ohio businessman with a name familiar to modern Phoenicians, John C. Lincoln. Stewart and Lincoln’s partnership created a legacy.  The Inn was originally constructed with 75 rooms and for a cost of about $1.2 million in today’s dollars.  Removed from the hustle of city life, the Camelback Inn’s namesake [...] read more