Memorial Day 2010

memorial-day-flag The U.S. flag inspired the National Anthem

The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Many thanks to all those who have served and continue to serve to preserve our land of the free and home of the brave.

Phoenix Real Estate Update: Pending Sales Give You Inside Info

Bob Bemis, CEO of the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS), spent a few minutes on Channel 12 yesterday morning announcing new real estate statistics now available for the Phoenix market.

 

When a home seller accepts an offer on his home, the listing agent is required to input certain information into the MLS system about the sale. Information which is hidden from public view.  Information includes closing date and agreed to sales price. 

ARMLS will now be publishing a monthly report, so that agents can share what is truly going on with the Phoenix real estate market real time, utilizing the ARMLS Pending Price Index™.  Bob does a great job of explaining why this statistic is more relevant than others, and he also shares his insights on the market. 

Take a few minutes to listen to Bob’s interview, and then if you’d like to know more, please let me know. I have a full copy of the May 2010 ARMLS Stat Report, which I can email to you at your request.

Echo Coffee Opens in South Scottsdale: Great coffee, good vibe, organic eats

green-light-echo-coffee

Echo Coffee opened a little over a month ago, and fills a much-needed niche in South Scottsdale.  Locals were some of the first through the door, and they congratulated, and thanked, owner Steve Belt, for opening an independent coffee shop in their neighborhood.

From its Grand Opening press release:

SCOTTSDALE, AZ (05.04.10)- Offering a fresh outlook on starting your day with a friendly smile, Echo Coffee has opened in South Scottsdale with the motto that the community around the coffee shop is what’s most important.  From the modern comfortable décor to the numerous meeting spots throughout, Echo Coffee hopes customers will not only grab a great cup of coffee, but take a few minutes to relax and maybe meet a new friend.  

echo-lounge

The store has been open for less than two weeks, and already Echo has seen a steady stream of coffee enthusiasts interested in the modern but homey coffee shop. Belt, former real estate agent, always loved his time spent in coffee shops and wanting a change in pace.  His new venture emphasizes this more tranquil outlook on life.  “I loved starting my day by coming to a coffee shop, sitting and talking with my neighbors and colleagues. In my shop I wanted to combine a great product with a viable third place location.”        

steve-belt-coffee-roaster

Each drip coffee is made to order at the pour over bar, where the barista pours hot water over the freshly ground coffee.  Belt has hired chef Carylann Wootton, formerly of Liberty Market in Gilbert, to create a menu emphasizing fresh, organic ingredients.  The pastries and light lunch menu include fare such as pecan and cranberry salad, curry chicken sandwich, hot pressed Italian sandwich, and various scones, breads, and pastries.

echo-coffee-order-central

I stopped in early on and got a coffee roasting demonstration from Steve.

From green coffee beans…..

green-coffee-beans

…. to the beautifully roasted.

roasting-coffee-beans

And, of course, Steve sells these fresh beans by the pound, too.

Great coffee…

I find myself looking for an excuse to head over to grab an exceptional cup of coffee and catch up with Steve.  Not only am I glad to see a new business opening in South Scottsdale, it’s wonderful to see a friend going after a dream and doing it well.

The food is excellent too!  Menu

echo-coffee-entrance

To contact Echo Coffee, visit www.echocoffee.com, or call 480-422-4081.

Echo Coffee on Facebook

Echo Coffee on Twitter

Echo Coffee is located at 2902 North 68th Street on the northwest corner of 68th Street and Thomas Road.  Business hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

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Scottsdale Home Prices Dropping: Fact, Fiction, or Freaking Out?

Last week, I read the headline to this article, Scottsdale home prices remain in a freefall, and shook my head.  Regardless of the content of the article, I felt the headline was just "too much drama". 

  • Yes, Scottsdale is a different real estate market than the rest of the valley. It did not experience the dramatic drops in the past several years that much of the rest of the valley did. 
  • Yes, Scottsdale home prices have declined.
  • Yes, Scottsdale has too many foreclosures and short sales, but they no where near the numbers found in many of the outlying area of metropolitan Phoenix.

Now that the Cromford Report is back in full production after a devastating fire, I’ll share some charts, and you can come to your own conclusions. For the this conversation, I’ll compare Scottsdale and Phoenix.

In 2007, when home prices started dropping , you can see that Scottsdale (the heavy line) and Phoenix (the lighter weight line) followed approximately the same path.  These charts map out annual appreciation, based on the monthly average sales price / square foot.  At the beginning of the year, properties in both cities were appreciating annually about 2.5% , but by the end of the year, properties were depreciating about 4-5%.

Comparing Scottsdale and Phoenix Home Price Appreciation 2007

Moving ahead to 2008, you can see the dramatic depreciation that both Scottsdale and Phoenix were on a steady decline, with Phoenix depreciating at a much greater pace, ending the year at -50%, while Scottsdale was closer to -30%.

Comparing Scottsdale and Phoenix Home Price Appreciation 2008

Then in 2009, depreciation continued, but started easing up significantly in Phoenix in March of that year.  It’s significant, jumping from -60% to less than -10%.  One could look at that and call it the beginning of a recovery.  

And Scottsdale, experienced improvement too, and you will see that while real estate values started the year depreciating at a rate of 30% and rose to better than -10%, the city really never got hit as hard as Phoenix did.

Comparing Scottsdale and Phoenix Home Price Appreciation 2009

This year, Phoenix real estate values has continued to improve.  Prices per square feet are appreciating, from 5% depreciation rate to consistently appreciating at an annual rate of over 20% since March.  Scottsdale continue to hobble along, depreciating at an annual rate of somewhere between 5-10%. 

 Comparing Scottsdale and Phoenix Home Price Appreciation 2010

While Scottsdale price are still depreciating, they are by no means in a freefall, at least in my opinion.  Competition is still pretty fierce in the lower price ranges, which has helped Phoenix much more than Scottsdale. At the same time, Scottsdale has not experienced the huge depreciation that Phoenix did.

I believe we’ll continue see bits and pieces of improvement throughout the rest of this year, but by no means do I feel the Scottsdale real estate market is in jeopardy. 

Now, tell me, what do you think?

I like, I like, I like

Here’s a morning minute for you!

Easy to smile with this one, and a great reminder to appreciate our lives.

(I could easily tie this one into home buying, but the message is a lot bigger than that!)

Enjoy your day 🙂

Foreclosures: Making me crazy

I’m working on a Broker Price Opinion (BPO) for a lender owned property tonight.  I pulled up this map and just had to share.  Makes me crazy.  Why?

Well, this is not ordinary.  This is not typical. 

To clarify, the gavels are pending foreclosures, and the map does not include the properties that have already gone back to the lender.  To date, I’ve not seen so many in such a small area.  Most of these homes are condos.  Two bedroom units sold for over $200-300K in 2005-2006.  Today, they are listing and selling for about $60K. 

The question in my mind is how did this many owners get approved for loans and then default so quickly in mass? 

foreclosure map phoenix arizona

I got my real estate license in December 2003, so I was basically on the sidelines trying to figure out to build a business watching more experienced, confident, and sometimes aggressive colleagues make a ton of money during the big real price run-up.  Over the years, my business has continued to grow, while many real estate agents left the business.  With all the craziness of this industry and what it’s done to our economy, I feel fortunate to have a strong, diverse business that helps people and creates a solid income for me.

Part of my business does come from listing bank-owned properties, which I’ve been doing since early last year.  It’s a different type of business, and I’ve learned a ton.  Besides tightening up my business practices, I’ve learned how to knock on doors, asking the occupants if they know the property they are living in has been foreclosed on.  And these days, the now bank-owned homes usually have someone still residing in them, waiting for me to show up.  More often than not, the occupants are tenants.  They’ve seen the legal papers posted on their door. They know the bank will help them move on, by helping them recoup their lost security deposits and more.

I really don’t have the answer my original question.  I can tell you that many of the people that I come in contact with are not sure what is next for them, but these days I do sense a calmer demeanor, than I did last year.  Maybe it’s me being more confident about what I’m doing, or maybe people are starting to see that moving out and moving on, is really the next best step for them.  Seeing a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

Maybe it’s not so crazy after all.  Maybe times are changing, and I’m just a little slow to catch on.

Phoenix Real Estate Update: Comparing 2009 / 2010 Housing Inventory by Price Range

You all know that major changes have occurred in the Phoenix real estate market over the past year, but I think these two charts illustrating the Months Supply by Price Range may take you a bit by surprise.  I know I did a double-take, and needed to take a closer look before sharing them with you.

A year ago, the lower end of the market was moving quite briskly, and there was less than six months inventory for homes priced under $200,000.  For homes priced over $600K, there was more than a two year supply, and that supply increased dramatically as the price range increased.

april-inventory

Now, see what is going on today.

Looking at months supply of homes, you will notice that now there is less than a six month’s supply of home in all price ranges under $350K.  And the 2+ year supply of homes doesn’t come into play until you get into the super-luxury market of over $3M.  While there is still definitely a surplus of inventory in the $600K-$2M range, it is no where near what we were experiencing last year and dramatically reduced from a year ago.

For instance, in 2009 there was a 49 month supply of homes in the $1-1.5M range.  Today, that supply is 13.6 months!  This decrease in supply is most noticeable in the upper price ranges, from $500K and up.  And in Scottsdale, where the current average home price is about $525K, this reduction in inventory  in the higher price ranges is more than good news.

phoenix-housing-inventory

In my mind, it only gets better from here.  What do you think?