Another Hiking Recommendation for Scottsdale: Try Pinnacle Peak Park

Another Hiking Recommendation for Scottsdale: Try Pinnacle Peak Park

Pinnacle Peak The unseasonably warm weather has finally cooled off, and by Sunday we should have clear skies again.  It you’re looking for something to do outside this weekend, try a hike at Pinnacle Peak Park in North Scottsdale.  One of Scottsdale’s newer parks, the three and a half mile trail is rated as moderate by the Sierra Club, and is easier than both Camelback and Piestawa Peak.

The City of Scottsdale offers free, guided hikes Tuesday through Sundays at 10 a.m. Hikers will cover a little more than a mile in about two hours and learn about the Sonoran Desert from park experts.

Pinnacle Park is located at 26802 N. 102nd Way (one mile south of Dynamite Boulevard and Alma School Road).   Current park hours are 6:45 am – 5:30 pm.

Rock climbing and horseback riding are allowed in certain areas of the park.  For more information, call the park at (480) 312-0990 or visit the Pinnacle Park web site.

Where’s my Crystal Ball? Rent or Buy?

My son had a homework assignment this past weekend to visit several apartments and get information on rental rates and move-in fees.  Since I’ve never lived in an apartment in my life, I jumped at the opportunity to drive him around and get educated.

We focused on areas that he would be able to get public transportation from easily and that were in our current neighborhood (McCormick / Gainey Ranch).  The message we got loud and clear was that people are most definitely looking for rentals now.  In every case, there were apartment hunters in the office waiting for assistance.  We discovered that apartment selection was limited, too.

In the last office, the person helping us was actually the bookkeeper who shared that she was helping out because business was so brisk.   She said that the building owner periodically did mailings and whenever he did, that they would be swamped with business.  

Rental rates being charged were in the range of $850-1150 for a one bedroom apartment and $1000-1250 for two bedroom models. 

So, being Mom, the Realtor, I just had to run the numbers.  What would it cost monthly to purchase a condo in the same area?

In the 85258 zip code, I found a one bedroom condo listed at $125,000.  HOA fees are $144/month.  Property taxes were $461 in  2006.  Condo insurance, say $250/year.   Just assuming that 100% financing were available, at 6.5%, on a 30 year fixed mortgage, the principle and interest would be $790.

So, (estimated) monthly expenses would be:

Principal & interest   $790
Property Taxes $38
Condo Insurance $20
HOA  $144

Total monthly  $992

And of course, this monthly cost (investment) will be less, since I would have a down payment to reduce the loan amount.

Today, there are 38 one-bedroom condos listed in the zip code 85258 (which encompasses the McCormick Ranch and Gainey Ranch communities).  Prices range from $125,000 to $344,900.  Two bedroom condo range in price from $184,000 to $659,000, and 90 are listed.

I just took a quick look at condo sales in area.  Year to date for 2007, the average sale price for the 28 one bedroom condos that have sold has been just over $167,000, or about $200 per square foot.   As for two bedroom condos, 112 have sold since the beginning of the year for and average price of $255,000, or $212 per square foot.

This is where I call my tax guy and ask him to run the numbers.   There’s a tremendous selection of homes on the market right now.   Although we’re a couple years off from having to make an independent living decision, there are some excellent opportunities now.  I don’t have a crystal ball, but it does seem that buying a condo now may be the right thing to do, especially with the increased number of renters in the market.  Time to do my homework.

How Are Scottsdale Home Prices Holding Up?

Periodically, the Arizona Republic publishes this great Phoenix Metro map that shows pricing trends for individual zip codes.  For today, I’ve just posted a partial look at the current median home prices in Scottsdale, as well as the percent increase over the past five years.  When you look at the total price appreciation over the past five years (approximately 100% or more for most Scottsdale zip codes), you’ll see why there’s been a need for prices to normalize.

Overall (New and Exiting Homes)

Percentage Gains or Losses

Zip Code

Median Price

’06-’07

’05-’06

’04-’05

’03-’04

’02-’03

’02-’07

85250

358,750

-8.0

17.0

38.9

13.2

3.4

75.0

85251

359,000

-1.6

14.0

45.6

15.2

11.9

110.3

85254

485,000

-9.8

13.2

48.4

16.4

12.2

98.0

85255

823,750

0.5

13.1

39.4

22.1

10.6

113.9

85257

291,000

-3.0

13.9

50.6

11.5

6.1

96.8

85258

643,500

1.2

16.3

36.8

15.9

7.8

101.1

85259

843,500

1.6

13.4

33.3

20.6

11.0

105.7

85260

567,200

-0.5

6.5

46.2

12.8

18.0

106.3

85262

1,042,500

13.0

26.6

44.2

14.3

13.3

167.3

I have a copy the full Phoenix area map and statistics, with permission to share, so if you’d like to see a copy, just let me know.

Got a Kid in Scottsdale Special Education?

As VP of Communications for the Special Education Parents Advisory Council (SEPAC) of Scottsdale and a parent of a child with special needs, I want to make sure that all interested parents know about our November meeting, which features Dr. John Baracy, Superintendent of the Scottsdale School District, along with Lois Healey and her Special Education staff. 

SEPAC hosts this format once a year and it is one of the best attended events, where parents hear from the school district administration on the current status of special education, and also have an opportunity to pose questions to directly to the administration.  Dr. Baracy has a special kinship to our group, being a parent of an adult child with special needs, and we always appreciate that he makes a special point of attending this annual session.

Come join us for a

“Special Education Update in the Scottsdale Unified School District”

with

  • Dr. John Baracy, Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Superintendent
  • Lois Healey, Special Education Services Administrator
  • Jan Brusca, Pre-School and Elementary Self-Contained Coordinator
  • Dr. Barbara McLoone, Elementary Resource Coordinator
  • Calli Greenbaum, Middle School and High School Coordinator

Date & Time: Wednesday, November 28th, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Location: Mohave District Annex – Kachina Room (on the north side of the Mohave Middle School campus), 8505 E. Valley View Road, Scottsdale