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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pre-fab skyscrapers - including time-lapse video

pre-fab skyscrapers - including time-lapse video


This spring, a Chinese construction company will build the world's tallest building, using prefabricated modular technology, in 90 DAYS! (gizmodo.com)

It's name is Sky City. It'll be 2,749 feet tall and 220 floors, and built in ninety days..

Sky City to be built spring 2013


Let's look at some details:

Here is the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the world's tallest building at 2,719 feet (including the gigantic spire at the top.)

Burj Khalifa


Here's how much taller the Burj is than other skyscrapers from around the world.

World's Tallest Towers


Sky City will be taller than the Burj, and without a spire. Wow.

The Burj Khalifa cost $15,000 per square meter to build, which equates to $1,394 per square foot. That sounds about right - architects, engineers, planning, zoning, steel, glass, concrete.. I'd expect the tallest luxury skyscraper in the world to cost a lot more than building a house.

Sky City, on the other hand, will cost only $1,500 per square meter to build. ($139 per square foot.) What?! How?!

220,000 tons of steel. 104 high-speed elevators. 4-pane glass windows. Extreme energy efficiency. Housing for 31,400 people. Offices, schools, hospitals, shops, restaurants. Basically, they're building a small city for the same money it costs to build a house!

Enter prefabricated modular technology. Here's a time-lapse video showing the same company, using the same technology, constructing a 30-story building in 15 days.



The video loops through twice - you can stop it at the 2:45 mark. Also, here's the link - embeded videos don't always pass through feedreaders and emails..

I'm interested to see how this technology impacts the construction industry over the next decade. Faster build times, more precision, better insulation and efficiency, lower costs... All good things.

-Chris Butterworth

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DIY - closet organizing shoe rack

DIY - closet organizing shoe rack


Sometimes I stumble across an idea that's so simple, and so awesome, I have to share it. This is one of those times.

Originally posted by Jen on her Epbot blog, "How's it Hangin'? A Flop Tutorial" Click through for more pictures and detailed instructions.







Let's think about this idea for a minute. It's:

  • Inexpensive. I throw a few of these hangers into the recycle bin every week - you can't get much more inexpensive than that.
  • Easy. If I'm not overwhelmed by a project, it can't be that hard to do.
  • Functional. You couldn't fit that many pair of flip-flops in that small of an area without them being a complete mess. This gets them off the floor, paired up with each other, and easy to find the pair you're looking for.
  • Decorative. Jen prettied hers up with the little decorative bow-ribbon-thingy, but even without the decoration, it would still add a splash of color to your closet. (Most girls in phoenix have a pair in every color, right?)

I think it wins on all four counts. How about you - are you going to try this?

-Chris Butterworth

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election day - how will the results affect the Phoenix real estate market?

election day - how will the results affect the Phoenix real estate market?


I have smart friends voting red, and I have smart friends who vote blue. My question is, does the winner of today's election matter, in terms of the Phoenix real estate market?

In terms of social issues and the parties' overriding directions, of course it matters. Taxation, pro-life vs pro-choice, military, health care, size of government, business regulation... The winner of today's election will get to move the country in the direction of his (and his party's) beliefs.

But the local real estate market? Not so much, at least not directly.

It's all about the budget deficit

How dysfunctional does a family have to be for the kids, when asked about Mom and Dad, respond "They both break all their promises - all we really care about is that one of them remembers to pay the bills."

We've been through a Great Recession - the worst economic times most of us has ever seen in our lifetime. And while things aren't back to great yet, they're better than they were and seem to be getting better each quarter.

However, we still haven't dealt with our runaway deficits. This will be the most important job of our president over the next couple years - regardless of who that president is.

Plan, propose, compromise, discuss, be a leader, compromise some more, remove pride and party lines from the discussion.. Do these things, and show the rest of the world we have a very real plan in place for reducing our debt, and our recovery will continue unabated. Everybody wins, on both sides of the aisle.

Play party politics, blame the other guy, keep your pork barrels, kick the can down the road, and prepare good sound bites for the next election, and we're all in big trouble.

At some point in the future - maybe 2014 or 2015, we're going to issue Treasury Notes, and the bond market is going to say "We're not sure you'll be able to pay us back without renegotiating, so we want more return for our risk - we'll take these notes at 7%, rather than 0.5%."

Ask Greece what happens next. (or Ireland. or Portugal. or Spain, Italy, or France.) It isn't pretty. One day mortgages are 3.5%; the next they're at 8.5% and rising.

Yeah, that'll put a stop to our little recovery. The payment on a $200,000 house goes from $1,075 to $1,700, and suddenly people aren't willing (or able) to pay $200,000 anymore. Either the market stalls, or the market crashes. In the meantime, businesses feel the same cash crunch from lack of cheap credit, so we go back to hiring freezes and even more layoffs. Now unemployment rises, from our already too high levels. Throw in another round of foreclosures and fewer people who can afford to buy homes, and we've got another decade in front of us which will be worse than the last 5 years we just went through.

Who needs to Win?

So who's going to be the better president, given all of the above? I don't know.

Our incumbent hasn't shown me as much conviction and passion as I think it's going to take. On the other hand, he won't have to worry about re-election in his second term. This might give him the flexibility needed to make waves while doing important work.

The challenger talks a good game and looks good on television. But then again, so does every newly elected president. (Our incumbent looked great four years ago!)

I'm not telling you who to vote for, and I'm not telling you who I'm voting for. I'm just saying the winner better make a balanced budget his top priority.

Bottom Line

How dysfunctional does a family have to be for the kids, when asked about Mom and Dad, respond "They both break all their promises - all we really care about is that one of them remembers to pay the bills."

It doesn't matter to me who wins this election, as long as they're up to the task of balancing our budget. If either party gets stubborn and decides to play politics as usual, we're all going to lose, big-time.

* Editor's note - this is an op ed piece - my opinions are mine alone. You're welcome to agree or disagree in the comments below, but please don't turn this into a political flame-throwing match.

-Chris Butterworth

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Maricopa County Charts - October 2012

Maricopa County Charts - October 2012


I normally look at a rolling 13 months, so we can see what's happened over the last year. But today I wanted to see a little more history, to see if it can help us spot any emerging trends, so I'm pulling in the last 25 months' data.

Sold Price per Square Foot - You can argue any individual property as having unique qualities and not tying exactly to the price per square foot trend. And that can be very true for a given property. But for the market as a whole, no other statistic gives us a better feel for which direction the market is going..

Maricopa County - price per square foot


New Vacant Listings as a Percentage of the Total - a "normal" market will have some vacant listings; a "Great Recession" market will have lots of vacant listings. I'm expecting this chart to show a downward trend over the next year, as more traditional sellers get back into the market.

Maricopa County - new vacant listings


Number of Homes Sold - This is one of those basic charts. Forget all the fancy statistical analysis-type stuff - days on market, months inventory, etc., and let's just look at how many homes are selling. This will give us an indication of whether the market is hot or cold, heating up or cooling off...

Maricopa County - number of homes sold


New Bank-Owned and Short-Sale Listings - If the banks are involved, people are still hurting. This causes excess inventory over what would normally be available. It also puts a "homeowner" on the sidelines for a few years while he/she repairs their credit. A downward trend on this graph is a very good thing.

Maricopa County - new distressed listings


Summary

We've been moving in the right direction, slowly but surely, for a long time.

  • Last month was the first time in a long time with fewer than 2,000 new distressed listings.
  • Prices are still on the rise. (a little faster than I'd like to see, but better up than down.) This helps people who were borderline underwater regain positive equity. It also helps people who have been waiting for a better time to sell, to sell. All of these factors will help lead us back to a more normal market.
  • Homes are still selling at a brisk pace. Maybe not record numbers, but we have enough volume that the market isn't in danger of stagnating.
  • Overall, I don't see anything magical, but I do see a long-time trend of heading in the right direction. One day we'll finally get to where we've wanted to be. (since 2008 - what's a half decade, give or take?!)


Note - all data was pulled from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) and is considered accurate but not guaranteed.

-Chris Butterworth

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the nest - a learning thermostat for your home

the nest - a learning thermostat for your home


Have you heard about the nest thermostat?

the nest thermostat


I've been hearing about it and reading rave reviews for the last couple months - it's billed as being super easy to use, learns your house's habits within a week, and saves you a lot of money on your electric bill.

It's an interesting concept, and I'm big on both saving energy and saving money.

  • Motion-sensing technology lets nest know when you're not home.
  • You manually select temperatures as you normally would, and nest learns your habits and gets the house to the right temperature without you having to think about it.
  • You tell it what temperature to use when you're not home, and nest automatically knows when you're away and turns up/down accordingly. But unlike your current thermostat, nest will have the house back to your preferred temperature before you get home.
  • It connects to your home's wi-fi network, and is then available to adjust from your smartphone. (iphone, ipad, android).
  • You can access your nest from online to view reports, history, and change settings.


The nest website shows a real-life example of a couple from Phoenix using nest in their 2,000 sqft home, who cut their energy bill by 23% in the summer and 20% in the winter.

At $249 it's not cheap, but if it could cut my energy bill by 20% it would more than pay for itself in one summer!

Available at Lowe's. 144 Reviews - 5 Stars.

Have you tried the nest yet?

-Chris Butterworth

Our Tribe


Our Tribe
Current and past clients of Chris & Heather—here’s your chance to tell the world what you *really* think of us. Scroll down and add your 2 cents! Thanks for working with us, we really appreciate you.
{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }
Robert Whitelaw, Realtor May 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm [edit]
I appreciate you taking the time to close the loop with me on that referral I sent you. I literally do hundreds of referrals like this across the entire country and you are the FIRST agent to do this kind of follow-up. I usually hear nothing, or get word of a closing escrow. The next time I have someone looking for an agent in Phoenix, you will be the first I contact.
Dena Reany April 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm [edit]
We LOVE our home so much! You did a great job for us; thank you. We removed a portion of cabinet in our kitchen. It really opens it up now, and makes for a nice breakfast/drinking bar! Stop by if in the neighborhood to see it!
Clare Pollard January 7, 2011 at 4:37 pm [edit]
This was my first time looking for a house. Not to own, just to rent, but just as daunting to face on your own. Heather walked me through the whole process. I was had a lot of needs and wants on my list, and she provided me with so many options.
Without her expertise I would never have found the right place. I highly recommend her and her team to anyone in need of a new home.
Thank You Heather!!
Clare
Tracey Johnson September 29, 2010 at 10:49 am [edit]
(comment about our Viewpoint opinion and analysis newsletters which you can find on our blog at http://ThePhoenixAgents.com./newsletters)
Several of my writing students have chosen the topic of rent vs. buy a home for their papers this semester, so I will point them to your great blog for some research. Thanks for sharing.
Noel Fahy September 29, 2010 at 10:44 am [edit]
I forwarded one of your Viewpoint articles to a friend who’s thinking about buying in AZ. Great information!
Kevin Reiser, AmeriFirst Home Loans July 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm [edit]
You guys were an easy choice to refer my recent buyer clients to once we got their mortgage approval, and you made me look like a rock star with your performance! I applaud your efforts. These buyers adore you!
Ian June 17, 2010 at 12:01 pm [edit]
That neighborhood you recommended to me (Thomas 24th-32nd St) was spot on! I drove around there today and was totally digging it!! There was one road (Pinchot – don’t remember the St range) where the trees were so huge, I never would have thought I was still in Phoenix. Having worked doing mattress delivery all over the Valley for five years, I thought I was pretty familiar with the lay of the land, but this part of town was off my radar altogether. Let’s go house shopping this week!
Jeannie Bolger June 10, 2010 at 11:22 am [edit]
Thanks for the update on the transaction we’re working together. It’s so nice working with agents who are “On Top” of their file. Thanks Again…………..you guys are awesome!
Lyn Eshom May 7, 2010 at 11:00 am [edit]
Hi Heather,
Thanks for all the info that you forwarded to us….we really appreciate it when someone (in this case, you) will walk us thoroughly through the process.
Lyn & Bill
Cheyenne Barcala February 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm [edit]
It was a breath of fresh air to work with Chris and Heather because they are proactive and hardworking agents who don’t just sit around waiting for a deal to close. The care and concern you showed for your clients well being is extraordinary!! I definitely look forward to working with you two in the future. http://www.SummitREPros.com
Matt K & Jessie L February 3, 2010 at 10:51 am [edit]
Jessie and I really appreciate all of the dealing with our trips into Phoenix from Denver, showings all across Phoenix, and all of the hard work both of you have done for us. You guys really made this complex process easy!!!
Pam B February 2, 2010 at 7:02 pm [edit]
I have to tell you, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my house. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. Even though it took a long time for me to find the right one for me, I’m just so happy I didn’t settle for something else before I found this one. I love this one so much and love the neighborhood. I really appreciate you hanging in there with me so I could find the right house.
Regina Sacca November 16, 2009 at 10:40 am [edit]
Dear Chris,
Thank you so very much for your professional service for a very timely & profitable sale – sure made life easier for all of us.
Sincerely,
Jean, Al, & Regina
Matthew Witman November 3, 2009 at 8:55 am [edit]
We recommend Heather & Chris as your Buyer’s Agent in the Phoenix area. If you’re looking for someone to always pick up the phone, work around your schedule, and help you to examine what is a most difficult market in the Phoenix metro area, Heather & Chris will work with you to achieve your dream.
Shanda B. August 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm [edit]
This comment was input by Chris Butterworth, via a voicemail left by Shanda B.
“Hey Chris, It’s Shanda just calling you back. Again thanks so much for all your help and glad the house closed. I called the utility companies today & service is scheduled to be disconnected either tomorrow or Monday. I’ll call the insurance company tomorrow and tell them we’re done. So I think I’ve got all my ducks in a row and we’re done & we’re out… which is what we wanted. You have been really really great, you & heather both – we really appreciate it. The best realtors we’ve ever worked with in the course of my lifetime – you guys have been really really awesome. So give me a call if we need to chat or there’s any other follow up items that I need to do, and that’s it. Thanks again for everything.”
Aaron Valenzuela September 15, 2008 at 7:23 am [edit]
I recommend Heather for all your real estate needs. Over the past six months, Heather performed flawlessly in selling 4 of our investment properties. Considering the current state of the real estate market and the less-than-favorable location of our properties, Heather’s work far exceeded our expectations.
Having worked with a number of Realtors over the years, Heather is by far the most knowledgeable, accommodating and professional. Outside of having to sign various documents, I didn’t have to concern myself with any aspect of the sales. I recommend her without hesitation and look forward to working with her again in the future.
Amy Crump November 18, 2006 at 5:49 pm [edit]
Heather took over the job of selling my home after another Realtor had no success. Within a few weeks, I had two offers to choose from, in the middle of a down market! She made it possible for me to move up to the bigger house I’d been dreaming about buying for months.
Jerry Brennan April 4, 2006 at 7:51 pm [edit]
Heather, thank you again for the terrific job you did for us on our townhouse purchased last year. As you recall, the sellers’ conditions were unusual and the market was going crazy at the time. I feel that your advice was key to making the right offer and acquiring the property at the right price. You’re a real pro in my book and I look forward to working with you again.
Judy & Michael February 21, 2006 at 2:59 pm [edit]
Dear Chris,
Thanks for all your help and understanding my needs, as well as the whole family’s needs.  With gratitude,
Judy & Michael
Kathy M October 31, 2005 at 6:16 pm [edit]
Thank you so much for everything you did for us regarding the sale of our condo. You went above and beyond in every respect! Treating clients like your own family means so much and enhances feelings of trust and security. You really know your stuff!
Kari Gemar September 19, 2005 at 7:44 am [edit]
From the beginning, Heather was wonderful! She walked me through all of the steps and explained everything very clearly. After just a few weeks I was moving into my dream house in a neighborhood I’d wanted to live in for 10 years! It was a great experience. Although I love my house and hope to live in it forever, if I do ever decide to move, Heather will be the first person I call.
Siri-Shiva July 18, 2005 at 12:43 pm [edit]
We want to thank you for all you did in the selling of our house on Windsor Ave! Things went very smoothly, and we were glad that we had you on our side. We could not have done without your insight and advice!
The only regret we have is in not sending this thank you to you sooner. And we love your newsletters!
Siri-Shiva, Ravidas, Hari-Parkash, & Emma
Kelly Corsette February 15, 2005 at 6:47 am [edit]
Chris made a very stressful process – selling a home and buying a new one – very comfortable. He made sure we understood all of the fine print and looked out for our best interests at every turn. There are a lot of realtors out there, but none will work harder for you than Chris Butterworth!
Lenora January 30, 2005 at 8:19 pm [edit]
I am a single mother of four children. I never thought I would be able to own a home of my own until the day I met Chris. The first time I met Chris he had a warm personality and a wonderful smile, he actually made us feel like family. Chris assured me that even though I was a first time buyer don’t give up hope because all things are possible and dreams can come true. I am truly happy to say that Chris helped make my dreams come true, I am now a Home Owner and very happy with my home. I would recommend Chris to anyone who’s looking for a home because Chris is the man for the job. He is patient and kind and he makes sure his client is satisfied with their choice and that’s very important to me. Thank you Chris for all you have done.
Guillermo E. Diaz January 9, 2005 at 9:17 am [edit]
Chris was very helpful in helping me find the home I wanted. I came from another state and was not sure about the various communities in and around Phoenix. Chris took the time to show me different houses in different cities and was very helpful in arranging a meeting time that did not conflict with my schedule. We ended up finding a great home in a terrific neighborhood.
My home buying process was pleasant and I thank Chris for all his time and work. Whenever I had a question about the “buying a home” process, I knew I would be able to count on Chris for answers and advice. I would definitely recommend Chris to any person who is trying to buy a home.
Keith August 5, 2004 at 8:30 am [edit]
I was talking to someone in my office about you being my Realtor and let him know how good and organized you are and that you have been the best Realtor I have ever had. Anyway, he was impressed.
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winter rye grass - from the archives

winter rye grass - from the archives


It's mid-October - we're getting close to the end of the winter grass planting season.



From the Archives:


More food for thought: If you're not going to plant winter grass this year, now is a good time to reset your sprinkler system for fewer and shorter watering times..

-Chris Butterworth

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Another 20% Drop in Home Prices?

Another 20% Drop in Home Prices?


I read an article this weekend which I thought was worth sharing.

To set it up properly, I'll introduce some names. John Mauldin is an economist, writer, and founder of Mauldin Economics. He publishes a couple different free economic newsletters which I highly recommend. One of his newsletters, "Outside the Box", features a different guest writer each week. The guest writers are always very successful economists and financiers who may or may not agree with Mauldin's opinions, but who provide a different take on the topic at hand. This weekend's Outside the Box newsletter was titled "A Little Chronic Deflation", and featured guest author Dr. A. Gary Shilling.

In the article, Shilling writes about housing prices (excerpt below - click above link for the full article):

Housing Woes
House prices have been deflating for six years, with more to go (Chart 10). The earlier housing boom was driven by ample loans and low interest rates, loose and almost non-existent lending standards, securitization of mortgages which passed seemingly creditworthy but in reality toxic assets on to often unsuspecting buyers, and most of all, by the conviction that house prices never decline. 


I expect another 20% decline in single-family median house prices and, consequently, big problems in residential mortgages and related construction loans. In making the case for continuing housing weakness, I've persistently hammered home the ongoing negative effect of excess inventories on house sales, prices, new construction and just about every other aspect of residential real estate.
...
That further drop would have devastating effects. The average homeowner with a mortgage has already seen his equity drop from almost 50% in the early 1980s to 20.5% due to home equity withdrawal and falling prices. Another 20% price decline would push homeowner equity into single digits with few mortgagors having any appreciable equity left. It also would boost the percentage of mortgages that are under water, i.e., with mortgage principals that exceed the house's value, from the current 24% to 40%, according to my calculations. The negative effects on consumer spending would be substantial. So would the negative effects on household net worth, which already, in relation to after-tax income, is lower than in the 1950s.

What I find interesting is whether Phoenix will face the same declines as what he predicts nationally.
  • We're seeing bidding wars at today's already-appreciated prices.
  • Investors have proven they can rent homes out for a profit, even at today's already-appreciated prices. (this is why there are bidding wars.)
  • A downward trend in rental rates will scare investors away from the market, which would cause prices to fall.
  • Downward rental rates would be caused by fewer renters (less demand), which probably means these renters are buying homes.
  • This would simply trade one set of buyers (investors) for another (former renters), which seems like a net-neutral effect on prices.
Mauldin and Shilling are a lot smarter than me, so I tend to listen to their forecasts with great respect. However, I don't see how the Phoenix prices can fall another 20% from where they are today..

-Chris Butterworth

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Maricopa County Charts - September 2012

Maricopa County Charts - September 2012


We've been watching this "market correction" for a long time now, and there's still a lot of uncertainty about what's coming next. Here are a few charts worth noting this month..

Number of New Vacant Listings

This chart shows how many homes went up for sale as vacant homes. Obviously, a "normal" market will not have thousands of vacant homes for sale each month.

Maricopa County - Vacant Listings

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Average Price per Square Foot of Sold Homes

You can see how prices shot up dramatically in the first half of the chart (21% increase in 7 months). And while prices are still increasing, the rate of increase has slowed. (3.4% in the last 4 months).

Maricopa County - price per square foot

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Number of Homes Sold

The number of homes sold has held within the 5,000 - 6,000 range over the last year, with a couple months slightly outside that range.

Maricopa County - number sold

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Numbers represent Single Family Dwellings in Maricopa County. All data was pulled from the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) and is believed to be accurate but not guaranteed.

-Chris Butterworth

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About


About


updated 10/2012

Who are The Phoenix Agents?

After planning and preparing in 2003, I went into real estate full-time in the spring of 2004. By 2005 I was mentoring a team of Realtors as The Butterworth Group. Then two things happened: 1.) the market collapsed and most of my group left the business, and 2.) one of my agents, Heather Barr, had become so good there was no longer a mentor-appretinance relationship.

Heather and I merged our businesses in the summer of 2008 and became The Phoenix Agents. Unfortunately (for me), Heather took advantage of an opportunity in 2011 and moved away from Arizona. Maybe she'll be back one of these years; most likely she won't.

That leaves me, Chris Butterworth, as the sole member of The Phoenix Agents. (until my wife gets her real estate licnese...)

Mission Statement - website

The following mission statement was written in 2006, when we originally discussed what a web-log (blog) should be.  (and I don’t need to change a word today, 6 years later.)

What’s this all about?
This is a place where we can inform and educate real estate buyers and sellers by sharing our daily thoughts and experiences.  We’re “plugged in” to the Phoenix Real Estate Market, and want to foster education and discussion in real time.
We see listings, talk with buyers & sellers, and discuss the short-term and long-term market outlook everyday.  We read news stories and current events with a “how does that effect Phoenix Real Estate?” frame of mind.  We believe you can gain some experience from our knowledge – as if you were sitting in our office with us.  This will help you make better real estate-related decisions.
Please feel free to join us.  All opinions are welcome.  Read, comment, share your insights and observations.  We only ask that everyone be respectful of others.  After all, you are sitting in our “office”.

Over the years many other blogs out there have become more in the business of capturing leads than providing information.  Not ours.  We’re not here to “sell” you or “capture” you; we’re here to help you – something in your life is driving you to make a change (growing family, marriage, divorce, retirement, job change, kids moving out, kids moving back in, caring for an elderly relative, investing, up-sizing, down-sizing, etc.); we can help make that transition as smooth as possible.

About Chris Butterworth

I have a very strong belief that lasting success can only come from working hard and treating everyone with genuine respect. Honesty, Communication, Organization, Technology, Ethics – I just don’t think you can take short cuts and expect to have good results.

I tend to think of myself as a partner and a teacher in your real estate transaction. I’m not the kind of person who puts up barriers between myself and my clients, pretending to be some sort of guru and telling them what to do. I would much rather share information, explain the legal language in the contract and what it means, and discuss various options at each step of the process.

I try very hard to deliver results which exceed my clients’ expectations, providing value all the way through a transaction. It’s very important to me to be looked upon as a resource, whether it’s my knowledge of the area, my communication and negotiation skills, or my drive and high energy level. I want my clients to know they made the right choice when they hire me.

Real Estate Notes
  • I first got my real estate license in 1992
  • I have been on the consumer’s side of the table as well, having bought and sold many houses
  • I have owned investment property
  • I have experience in the mortgage, banking, and finance industries


Family

I grew up the oldest of 4 children; two boys and two girls. At the time it seemed very simple – each of us had 2 or 3 activities going on at any given time, and we all knew what everyone else was doing. Looking back on it, I have no idea how my parents had the energy and the ability to be at so many different places at once! I have to give them a lot of credit for encouraging us to consistently try new things.

Now that I have my own family (a beautiful wife and two terrific boys) I can see how easy it is to push yourself a little harder than you normally would for the sake of your kids. It takes a lot of energy to get a good balance in life – balancing work with play; planning for the future with playing in the present; family time with social time; and love with discipline. And you know what – I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Activities I Enjoy

I’ll try anything once, and odds are if it’s fast paced I’m going to love it! I’ve had a good time along the way playing Basketball, Tennis, Soccer, Snow Skiing, Water Skiing, Football, Beach Volleyball, Baseball, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Biking, Dirt Bike Riding, Roller-Blading, Bungee Jumping, Cliff Jumping, and Golf.

Lately I’ve taken an interest in writing and digital photography (both featured heavily on this site). I don’t think I’m in line for any major awards, but I’m having fun, and I’m seeing improvement! As for physical fitness, in January 2010 I took a challenge to compete in (and finish!) a triathlon. Since then I’ve been hooked – consistently improving my swimming, biking, and running, and building a website dedicated to health and fitness, FitnessGazette.net.

Charity Involvement

My wife, Cheryl, and I have taken on ever-increasing roles within the autism community, including raising awareness, fundraising, organizational consulting, and educatin/support. Over the last few years we have participated in, been involved with, provided support for, or raised money for:
  • SARRC (Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center)
  • CAN (Cure Autism Now which has recently merged with Autism Speaks)
  • Autism Speaks
  • Kris’ Camp
  • NMTSA (Neurological Music Therapy Services of Arizona) where I served 3 years on the Board of Directors


We have helped to raise more than $35,000 so far, and are challenging ourselves to increase that over the next few years!

I also maintain a website dedicated to helping families navigate the autism waters, HappyChucks.com.

In addition, Cheryl currently works at NMTSA.

Education
  • High School – Brophy College Prep & Arcadia High School
  • College – University of Arizona, Finance, 1991
  • Graduate School – MBA, ASU West






New Digs - Blogger - Ahhhh, feels good to be back

New Digs - Blogger - Ahhhh, feels good to be back


Good News

ThePhoenixAgents.com is back in business, and COMPLETELY revamped. Good bye, Wordpress; hello, Blogger.

I wrote my very first blog post on the Blogger platform, way back in 2006 - and almost immediately migrated to Wordpress. Since that time I've built and played with a dozen different blogger blogs, yet my real estate blog has held steadfast to wordpress. Truth be told, I've become a much bigger fan of blogger than wordpress, and I'm looking forward to moving forward.

More Good News

As far as websites go, I'm 95% author/researcher and about 5% webmaster (and that's being generous.) This new setup will require less web management, and the management that is required is stuff that I'm comfortable with from working on my other blogs. That allows me to spend less time making the blog work (and/or making it look good) - I'll let a small internet company called Google manage the back end for me!

Bad News

Moving almost 1,800 posts and pages wasn't completely pain free, and I'm still working through a few glitches. I also discovered some broken posts from when Heather and I merged our two former blogs into ThePhoenixAgents back in 2009.

It turns out this process conformed to the old 80-20 rule. 80% of my content moved without issue. But the 20% is being a pain in the butt, and will take me a bit of effort to manage its move. Ok, make that A LOT of effort.

But, be that as it may, the page is turned, and I'm looking forward. (which is good news, since there's no turning back!)

Any comments, ideas, suggestions, or observations? I'm all ears..

-Chris Butterworth

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BIG changes coming soon!

This has been a very busy month - behind the scenes. As the dust settles over the next 9 days I'll have 3 major changes to announce:

1.) Cheryl is joining me! Cheryl Butterworth - my wife - was born to do this job. She loves homes more than I do, and she's better with people than I am (and I've done pretty well in both of those areas over the years..) She's going to be an absolutely dynamite addition, and I'm excited about it both personally and professionally. I'll have more details and a more personal announcement when it becomes official.

2.) Thompson's Realty will be no more. You've probably already heard, via the blogosphere or Facebook, but Jay and Francy have made a personal & professional decision to merge their brokerage with another office. Jay & Francy are two of the best people in the business, and I know they believe they can do more good for more people with the new arrangement. What that means for The Phoenix Agents is we'll have a new home soon. More on that announcement as it becomes official.

3.) Major Website Updates are on the way. Given the two changes above, and the fact I've been running the same blog on the same theme for a few years now, this seems like an ideal time to shake things up online. Everything is fair game (host, provider, theme, blog engine, color scheme, widgets & plugins - it's all up for change) EXCEPT for the quality of the writing. I'm not going anywhere, which means I'll still be sharing my thoughts, opinions, and observations about Phoenix, real estate, Phoenix real estate, and anything else.

So many changes at once, it might as well be an Extreme TPA Makeover, or Pimp My TPA. The next couple weeks promise to be logistically and programmatically challenging, but I'm excited for what lies at the other side.

Please bear with me, and keep your eyes open for what's coming..

-Chris Butterworth

New Home Sales on the Rise

I read this today on the Calculated Risk blog:
Here is a table showing sales and the change from the previous year since the peak in 2005:



YearNew Home Sales (000s)Change
20051,283
20061,051-18%
2007776-26%
2008485-38%
2009375-23%
2010323-14%
2011306-5%
2012136018%
12012 pace through July.

This is still a very low level of sales, but clearly new home sales have bottomed and are starting to recover. I don't expect sales to increase to 2005 levels, but something close to 800,000 is possible once the number of distressed sales declines to more normal levels.


Read more at http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2012/08/new-home-sales-and-distressing-gap.html



It's interesting to note that, for all the hubbub about the red hot market, no houses available, inventory shrinking, and all that other stuff, this is the first year since 2005 we'll see an upward change in the number of new home sales. And yet, even with this upward trend, they will still build fewer new homes than they did in 2009.

Wow. and Yikes.

But if the author's projections are correct, 2013 should be a very good year...

-Chris

Maricopa County Sales Charts – June 2012

Another month, but the results haven’t changed. Sales Prices are up, Price per Square Foot is up, and Days on Market is down. It’s just another piece of evidence the market is white hot these days.

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 me a call/email anytime – I’d love to hear from you!

- Chris Butterworth

the charts tell the story

The last few years have been exhausting, to everybody involved in the real estate industry – it’s like they’ve been measured in dog years!

Take a look at this first chart – $/sqft over the course of the last few years:

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Prices were plummeting in 2008, which continued into 2009, until the government stepped in to prop them up with the $8,000 tax rebate plan. Then, once the tax rebate program expired, prices fell back to new lows, until this spring. Suddenly, in the last 6 months, prices have SPIKED more than 20%!

Next let’s take a look at the occupancy of listed homes:

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There has not been a single month in the last 3 years, with fewer than 3,000 new vacant listings hitting the market. Fact is, the market won’t be anything like “normal” until vacant listings go back to being a small percentage of the market. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon..

-Chris Butterworth