December

From the Archives - December

From the Archives - December


I hope you're all having an awesome Holiday Season!

christmas cactus


I figure most of you are off from work, or out of town, or otherwise celebrating and enjoying company with family and friends. But a few of you might still be around, so I thought I'd share a few posts we've written in December over the years...

Why Phoenix is Known for Sunsets - December 8, 2008. A beautiful picture, and one of the reasons thousands of people move here each year.

Snow in Phoenix - December 30, 2010. Yes, it does snow in Phoenix - probably about once a decade. And yes, we do tend to get over-excited about it when it does..!

Fixing a Clogged Bathroom Sink - the Layperson's Guide - December 3, 2008. A pretty handy tutorial for those who are a bit intimidated by unscrewing things under the sink. Turns out it's a 5-minute job, and it's very easy.

When Good Sprinklers Go Bad - December 30, 2009. Whether it's the end of the month, the end of the season, or the end of the year, it's a good idea to check on your sprinklers once in awhile to make sure they're doing the job.

This will be the last post I write in 2012, so have a safe and happy New Year's, and I'll see you again in 2013!

-Chris Butterworth

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ceiling fan without blades

ceiling fan without blades


bladeless ceiling fan


Imagine a small, unobtrusive disc attached to your ceiling that does a better job of circulating the room's air than your traditional ceiling fan. If the folks at exhale fans are as good as they claim, this could be the look of the future.

Technology Forward

The technology has been headed this way. Haven't you noticed the public restrooms that have the Dyson high-powered hand dryers? (the ones that are 1,000 better, where you don't need to wipe your hands on your pants after "drying" them!)

high powered hand dryer


Or how about those bladeless fans, also by Dyson? They're a bit pricey for my living room, but they look sooo cool, and they get great reviews.

dyson bladeless fan


Well, the two companies are using different technology and different airflow mechanics, but the results are similar - more air movement, more consistent air movement, and less energy used. Not bad...

Video Demonstration

Here's a video of the exhale ceiling fan submerged in a "room" of water, showing how evenly the flow gets distributed. (and a really cool vortex where the water is pulled up into the fan.)



Here's a link to the video mentioned: http://youtu.be/JTAXaX4wlZU (in case your rss readers strips the embedded video).

More Info and Where to Buy

Yes, they come in different colors.

Soon they will have LED lighting, and an option to be a Wi-Fi router for your house.

Price point looks to be around $300, give or take.

It looks like delivery will be available in the spring of 2013. Check out the exhale fans website for more information.

What do you think? Would you give up your traditional ceiling fan in favor of this new air-moving technology?

-Chris Butterworth

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November 2012 Charts

November 2012 Charts


The trends continue...

  • Inventory is tight. It's a great time to be a seller; not so much fun trying to buy over the last year or so.
  • Prices are rising.
  • Bank-Inventory has been declining sharply, but it still makes up over a third of the new listings each month.
  • Vacant Listings still dominate traditional listings by about a 3 to 2 margin.

Here are some charts. (my thoughts below):





Some thoughts as we head into 2013:

  • Vacancy. That 3rd chart is the key. There shouldn't be more than a few hundred vacant homes in a "normal" market. As long as the vacancy numbers are high, the market is in uncharted territory.
  • Foreclosure Buyers. How long will it take the "foreclosed families" to get back into the home-buying market? There are a couple hundred thousand families sitting on the sidelines these days, currently renting. How long will it take them to repair their credit and save up for a down payment? Will they come back en masse?
  • Interest Rates. What happens to interest rates could have a major impact on our market. The payment on a $250,000 mortgage at 3.5% is $1,123. At 6.0% (still low by historic standards), the payment rises to $1,499. A spike in interest rates could dry up demand overnight.
  • Prices. Prices today are at or near where they were at the start of "The Bubble", but interest rates are significantly lower. Are we seeing another bubble forming?


We have a lot to keep our eyes on this year. I'll continue to share what I'm seeing, as I see it.

-Chris

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Happy New Year's - 2012

New Year’s Eve (woo hoo!)  New Year’s Day (gowl games!)  New Year’s Resolutions (uh oh.)


I wrote extensively about setting and achieving goals a couple years ago. (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.)


But for today, I thought this chart says it all.


Happy New Year’s, Everyone.  I’ll see you next year.




by visually via














- Chris Butterworth

It's Construction Time (again)

Ahhh. The last week of the year. Time for reflecting on things past and setting goals and direction for the next year. And for our long-time readers, this is usually a good time to revamp our website's layout & design!



Personally, I think it's been a little stale around here lately, and we've both been a bit less than energetic with our writing over the last couple of months... So let's mix things up!

Seriously, I'll be making some changes over the next couple of weeks - sidebars, buttons, widgets, colors, theme.. "a little ham & eggs coming at you", as the great Ron Burgundy would say. Bear with me, and if you notice anything goofier than normal, please let me know.

Thanks,

Chris Butterworth

Distressed Activity by Month – November 2011

THE GRAPH HAS INVERTED!  There are some significant changes to the graphs this month.  Finally!  (my thoughts below the charts)

(Click on any chart to see a larger version.)

Listings First – Here are the new distressed listings hitting the market each month going back to January 2009, broken out by different types and views.

Chart 1 - New Bank Owned Listings  - (new listings actually owned by the bank – think foreclosures and REOs.)

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Chart 2 - New Short Sale Listings (new listings, still owned by the ‘owner’, but needing the bank to take a short payoff because the home is worth less than the mortgage balance.  The bank will need to approve the sale.)

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Chart 3 - New Bank Owned + Short Sale Listings  (a combined look at the above charts – these are the new listings where the bank is going to take a loss on the property, and the best reflection of my former Distressed Listings chart.)

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Chart 4 - New Vacant Listings  (new listings which are vacant homes.  While not all vacant listings are distressed listings, I am including them because they represent a very large percentage of the overall market, and therefore provide some measurement of Distressed.)

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Now the Sales - I’ve pulled all the homes sold since 1/1/2009 for Single Family Residences in Maricopa County, broken out by who owns them and who lives in them.

Chart 5 - Home Sales by Type of Owner

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Chart 6 - Home Sales by Type of Occupant

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I am including Single Family Detached Homes listed for sale (or sold) in Maricopa County via the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.  These numbers are believed accurate but not guaranteed.

What does it all mean?

Chart 1 – New Bank-Owned listings are falling off the chart.  Finally!  From over 5,000 in March, 2009, to consistently between 2,000 and 3,000 for the last year, to the last few months being under 2,000.  And now we’re approaching the 1,000 mark.  This is great news.

Chart 4 – New Vacant Listings are also trending steeply in the right direction.

Chart 5 – November was the first month in well over 3 years where there were more sales of traditional / equity owned homes than bank-owned homes!

Now, before we get too carried away and think the market has recovered, there are still some sobering numbers in the above charts:

Chart 1 – there are still more than 1,000 new foreclosures hitting the market each month.  That’s a lot of people losing their home.

Chart 4 – 3,500 new listings are vacant; that’s not the sign of a normal market.

Chart 5 – I’m willing to wager that 2/3 (or more) of the equity sellers are investors who bought foreclosures a couple/few months ago and are selling the homes today.  These aren’t the regular mom & pop families selling their home in order to go buy a larger or smaller home down the street.

Chart 6 – There are still far more vacant than occupied homes changing hands.  Again, this isn’t the sign of a market which has recovered.

Overall, we’re definitely headed in the right direction.  Fewer bank-involved listings will translate into fewer vacant listings and fewer investor buyers down the road.  This month marks a big step forward in the right direction, but there are many more steps to be taken..

Your feeling a little more optimistic today Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Maricopa County Sales Charts – November 2011

This month’s charts look good, especially for this time of year.  # of Sales is down a little bit, but that’s just seasonality – it’s actually higher than it was a year ago.  In addition, Average Sales Price and Average $/Sqft are trending upwards, while Average Days on Market is trending downward.  All good signs.

Here’s a look at the recent trends county-wide.  I’m pulling a rolling 13-month history so we can see the last year’s trends plus a comparison of this month to the same month last year..

Specific Zip Code reports are now available!  If you’d like to see how the sales activity in your zip code compares with the county as a whole, just click here to sign up, and you’ll receive your zip code report via email each month.

and now, on to the reports.  (click each chart to embiggen)

Number of Homes Sold by Month

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Average Sold Price

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Average Price per Square Foot

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Average Number of Days on Market

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** The data for all these charts represents Single Family Homes sold in Maricopa County via the MLS.  All data was pulled from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, and is thought to be accurate but is not guaranteed.  Please do not make any life-changing decisions based solely on the information contained herein.

Questions, comments, suggestions?  Please give us a call/email anytime – we’d love to hear from you!

Your keeping an eye on the trends Realtor,

Chris Butterworth

Snow in Phoenix



Although it’s rare, sometimes we Phoenicians have to protect our desert plants from freezing temperatures. Our Tucson branch manager, The HouseChick, a.k.a. Kelley Koehler wrote about prepping your cactus for the few freezing nights. Click on over to see  cups on cactus and the new trend, bags on cactus.

Thinking of visiting the Phoenix-Scottsdale area to get away from cold, snow and ice? Don’t despair. It’s rarely this cold in the Valley of the Sun. Weather.com predicts we’ll be back to our usual sunny and warm 75 degrees by about the first full week of January 2011.

Need a vacation rental? Thinking about buying a winter vacation home and want to look at a few Phoenix or Scottsdale homes while you’re here?

Contact us. We’re Realtors, we’ve been helping buyers and sellers in the metro Phoenix area for a combined 10 years. We routinely help buyers find vacation homes, and we help investors choose appropriate rental homes, as well as handling typical residential real estate sales. Check out client testimonials, then give us a call.

video courtesy of AZfamily.com (“Snow Falls on Phoenix Suburbs”, by Jennifer Thomas of AZ Family.com and originally published December 30, 2010 at 3:14pm)

US home prices hit new lows. Not Phoenix.

The mainstream media are at it again. Chris and I have written about mainstream media and their panicky screamy headlines more times than I can count. Today the media are at it again.

The Washington Post ran a screaming headline this morning: “U.S. Home Prices Drop 1.3% from September to October”. They were almost gleeful when they noted that 6 of Case-Shiller’s 20 major metro markets hit all-time price lows. Oh the humanity!

Case Shiller story, Dec 28, 2010

 

But wait, let’s look at local statistics, not national headlines designed to sell newspapers. Actually, in Metro Phoenix, home prices have been essentially flat since November 2009.

Case Shiller story REFUTED, Dec 28, 2010

Look at the far right hand side of this chart, taken from the local Statistics God Mike Orr at the Cromford Report. This chart shows the median sold price of all home types in the entire Metro Phoenix region.

The numbers are awfully small, even when you click to embiggen the chart. So, so here are the median sold home prices by month, in Metro Phoenix.
$125,000 – November 2009
$125,000 – December 2009
$125,000 – January 2010
$125,000 – February 2010
$125,000 – March 2010
$126,000 – April 2010
$127,500 – May 2010
$127,900 – June 2010
$127,000 – August 2010
$126,000 – September 2010
$125,000 – October 2010
$125,000 – November 2010

Again I say to you my readers: Oh the humanity! The median sold home price has been essentially flat in Metro Phoenix since November 2009. While critics still claim that the federal home buyer tax credit artificially inflated home prices, way back in September 20101 I said that was a silly argument.

Now, the statistics show prices rose by a a mere $2,900 over 12 months. (what the federal government’s tax credit actually did was create buyer demand, which is what this market has needed more of since late 2006)

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: remember that the media screams sensational headlines because that’s their job. Rely on your local Realtors and other industry professionals to get you the truthful information without the hype.

Need a Realtor’s advice? Doesn’t matter if you’re ready to buy or sell this instant, or just thinking out loud about your options. Contact us at The Phoenix Agents. We’re here to help. Real Estate. Real People. Real Simple. The Phoenix Agents.

Fannie Mae: 2010 sucked, 2011 better

Image ID 1128001 by svilen001 at StockExchangePer Fannie Mae, the fourth quarter of 2010 will not wind up being a memorable time for housing sales.
Fannie projects that existing home sales will increase slightly, but that new home sales will drop significantly. Fannie’s number crunchers say we should expect 2010 housing sales to be down 7% from last year, and with slightly lower median prices across the nation. But it expects things to pick up in 2011.

Well “thank God!” is all I can say to that! Summer and Fall  2010 were some of the slowest times I’ve had in nearly 6 years of selling residential real estate in metro Phoenix Arizona. I’m ready for 2011 to be a happier & busier year than 2010.

image credit: Image ID 1128001 by svilen001 at StockExchange

Related Posts -

Local builder posts 4th quarter loss

Local home builder K. Hovnanian reported its 4th quarter income, which showed a smaller loss than 1 year ago, but came in lower than analysts expected.

K Hovnanians new home in Verrado, Buckeye, elev A

“K. Hov” is still building homes across the Valley. In the far West Valley K.Hov homes in the community of Verrado start at $149,900. They’re building substantially the same homes in Glendale, at the Loop 101 freeway and Bethany Home Road, starting at $164,900.

K Hovnanians new home in Chandler, elev A

K.Hov is also building in the East Valley: in Gold Canyon starting at $119,900 ; in the south Gilbert area starting at $199,999 ; and in the south Chandler area starting at $314,900.

Interested in seeing what K. Hovnanian’s new build home floor plans look like? Drop me a line and I’ll send you regular new listings from this or any other home builder.

You can also visit the K. Hovnanian website, but note that builder’s salespeople do not work for you, the buyer. They work for the buidler and their job is to craft a deal that’s best for the builder.

Sources consulted for this post:

del.icio.us Tags:

Disclaimer: Blog owners/author did not receive any compensation or consideration of any kind from K. Hovnanian, Market News Video, Forbes.com, Bloomberg or any other entity in exchange for writing & publishing the post.

67% of Phoenix-area sales are distressed

Image ID 1262615 by StockExchange user melissathr

Pulled some stats out of the Arizona Regional MLS database this morning, for a client who’s home shopping and wondering whether or not to bother looking at short sale homes.

According to MLS data as of today, December 17, 2010, 67% of all Metro Phoenix area homes sold in 2010 were in some state of financial distress.

Shortsales – 21% of all sales so far in 2010 in the Metro Phoenix region

Pre-foreclosures – 5%

REO – 41%

Are you a “regular” seller? You’ve got an uphill battle on your hands, fighting against the super-low prices of the bank owned and short sale homes. On the other hand, if your product property is in good shape and properly priced – and especially if it’s under about $200,000 – you might have buyers fighting to make offers on your home.

Are you a buyer? You should be prepared to see a lot of homes that need some “TLC” as the Realtors so charmingly put it in their MLS listing descriptions. Expect most of the homes you could potentially buy will need paint and carpet, at a minimum. Almost all of them will need a thorough professional cleaning. Many will need all new appliances. Lots of them will need a major landscaping cleanup.

Are you on the fence, wondering if you should get into the market, either to sell or to buy? Contact us. We practice low pressure real estate. Frankly Chris and Heather are not very good at giving sales pitches. We’re very good at listening, empathizing and giving advice that’s based on our clients’ needs, not on our own expectations of commissions.

Need some help finding your way? We’ve been selling Metro Phoenix real estate since before the boom & bust happened, and we plan to be here for a long time to come. Read what our clients say about us here, and then give us a call, text or email.

photo credit: Image ID 1262615 by StockExchange user melissathr

Our broker named to 100 Most Influential list

Big congratulations to our broker, Jay Thompson, for being named to the Inman News 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders list!


This is of course no surprise to any of the nearly 30 Realtor agents who work for Jay.*  He speaks locally and across the country at real estate conferences, is quoted in mainstream media,  runs a kick-butt real estate search site and blog, The Phoenix Real Estate Guy, and he's an all around likable guy.


Jay's stature in the industry is one of the reasons we're working with him. Try Googling "Phoenix real estate" and his site is result number 4, on page 1. In a land where around 90% of home buyers start their shopping online, that's unbeatable. Because we're with Jay, our seller clients get their listing in front of more eyeballs. And our buyer clients can take advantage of his ability to help us mirror his best-in-business home searching capabilities.


But really when it comes down to brass tacks, the reason we're with Jay is that we just love him. He's just damn good people and he surrounds himself with damn good Realtor agents. We're proud to be part of the team of world-class Realtors he's building.


*What is a surprise is that Inman News doesn't have a category for 100 Most Influential People Behind the Scenes, because our broker's wife Francy would win that award hands-down. She's a full time Realtor agent herself, and she quietly and competently runs the office in the background. Since we're up to nearly 30 agents, this is no small accomplishment. The amount of emailed and uploaded PDF files flying back and forth between the agents in the field and Francy in the office has got to be staggering. And yet every time I speak with Francy she's pleasant and friendly and has time to answer my questions. My paperwork -- which I present to Francy in a sort of befuddled, hurried, hot mess -- is always neatly arranged by the time the deal closes. My commission checks arrive so fast I barely have time to anticipate them. Francy, you are a Queen among women, and a big part of the reason Jay became the Real Estate King that he is.

Chateaux on Central has new owner

Depending on your viewpoint, the red brick McMansions on Central Avenue in downtown Phoenix known as the Chateaux on Central are either an eyesore or a diamond in the rough.

Back in the boom years, the Chateaux was built at an estimated cost of about $40 million with an additional $47 million provided by Mortgages Limited when the building went into foreclosure.

Wisconsin based MSI West Investments thought they were a bargain at $7million and snapped them up last March. They hired Rowland Luxury Homes to finish the build-out and punchlist items, and are putting out word they’re nearly ready to sell the luxury mid-rise condos.

The building includes 21 condo residences varying from 5,100 to 8,200 square feet. That means MSI West got the building for about $330,000 per condo.

Before the market fell apart, asking prices ranged from $2,000,000 to $5,000,000 per condo. MSI West Investments say the condos will now start at about $1,300,000.

The local Fox affiliate, KSAZ Fox 10, did a short piece on the Chateaux; see below.


Insider’s Note: I love how the Realtor in the video describes these condos as “a lifestyle never before offered in the Valley.”

<sarcasm> Yeah, because over-the-top luxury is *never* offered in North Scottsdale or Paradise Valley. <sarcasm>

Frankly, I think $1,300,000 for a smaller condo here seems a little high. They are downtown Phoenix condos after all, and your typical buyer with a cool million or two to spend doesn’t think of looking in downtown Phoenix first. People with two million smackers go look at mansions in Paradise Valley.

I’m betting the prices will settle out to more like $925,000 up to $1,700,000.  Check back in about a year to see how I did predicting future sales prices for the Chateaux on Central.

Find the original Fox 10 news video on the KSAZ MyFox 10 website ; or view the Arizona Republic's coverage of the Chateaux on Central sale.

Condo refinancing: tricky to impossible

Way back in April of 2010, my partner Chris wrote a piece about how condos were doing in the Great Recession. This was after much discussion between the two of us. The piece was long, well reasoned and thoughtful. It was also long. We’re both sometimes guilty of over-writing. <smile>

Essentially, Chris’ piece reminded buyers that when you buy a condo you’re also buying the neighborhood and the HOA. If the HOA or your individual neighbors have financial troubles, you could too.

If more than 51% of your condo community isn’t owner-occupied housing – it’s a vacation home, or a rental – then you might have a very hard time refinancing your condo mortgage, even if your income and credit is great. Same thing with past-due HOA fees: if more than 15% of the condo owners in your community are late on their dues, you probably won’t be able to refinance your mortgage.

Couple days back, the gloomy bloggy giant Housing Doom published a much shorter piece about condos that essentially warns the same thing.

Condos make a great investment for many types of buyers – especially first time home buyers, retirees, vacationers and single professionals – but they’re not for everyone. Buyers should understand that when there’s a recession, condos have historically taken a bigger hit to values than detached housing. You need a Realtor, maybe even an attorney and financial advisor to help you make the decision to buy or not buy a condo.

Do you need a Realtor? A Realtor who knows a lot about the condos in the North and West regions of Metro Phoenix? You’re in luck! I’m that Realtor. If you’re thinking about buying a condo, give me a shout.

Buying a foreclosure is hard

Sometimes buying a bank owned REO foreclosure home is well… hard.  Sometimes it’s very hard.

It’s not that the homes are sketchy (sometimes they are).  It’s not that the homes come without any disclosures of condition (they do). It’s not that the seller won’t guarantee anything during or after the sale (they don’t). It's not even that there are always multiple offers (although under $150,000 in Metro Phoenix in Winter 2010 there are often *are* multiple offers).

Often, the problem is that you can't contact the darn agent who works for the bank. They’re either overwhelmed with too many REO homes from the bank, or they’re … otherwise… missing in action.


Video created using software available at Xtranormal.com

Distressed Activity by Month – November 2010

I’ve been following these charts for a couple years now, more convinced than ever we’ll see trends towards a recovery here before anywhere else.  So it’s no surprise I get a little excited when I see a downward blip in the graphs.  It’s probably just premature excitement, but still…

(Click on any chart to see a larger version.)

Listings First – Here are the new distressed listings hitting the market each month going back to January 2009, broken out by different types and views.

Chart 1 - New Bank Owned Listings  - (new listings actually owned by the bank – think foreclosures and REOs.)

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Chart 2 - New Short Sale Listings (new listings, still owned by the ‘owner’, but needing the bank to take a short payoff because the home is worth less than the mortgage balance.  The bank will need to approve the sale.)

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Chart 3 - New Bank Owned + Short Sale Listings  (a combined look at the above charts – these are the new listings where the bank is going to take a loss on the property, and the best reflection of my former Distressed Listings chart.)

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Chart 4 - New Vacant Listings  (new listings which are vacant homes.  While not all vacant listings are distressed listings, I am including them because they represent a very large percentage of the overall market, and therefore provide some measurement of Distressed.)

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Now the Sales - I’ve pulled all the homes sold since 1/1/2009 for Single Family Residences in Maricopa County, broken out by who owns them and who lives in them.

Chart 5 - Home Sales by Type of Owner

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Chart 6 - Home Sales by Type of Occupant

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I am including Single Family Detached Homes listed for sale (or sold) in Maricopa County via the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.  These numbers are believed accurate but not guaranteed.

What does it all mean?

Notice the drop in bank and vacant listings this month, while distressed sales remained fairly consistent with last month?  Maybe that’s a good sign.  Maybe that’s just the delayed effects of the  robo-signing scandal which broke in October.  Time will tell…

Your hopeful while doubtful Realtor,

Chris Butterworth