It’s monsoon season in Arizona…

Monsoon season started June 15th this year.  A couple years ago weather experts decided that the “season” would start on this date every year, rather than by the weather pattern based on average daily dew point. This weather-based criteria was important to home owners who used evaporative cooling to supplement their standard air conditioners.  “Evap” coolers were much cheaper to run (my brother once told me 25% of the cost), but require a very low humidity to be effective, so could only be used until monsoon season started. Now that air conditioners are so much more efficient, homeowners of the older homes that still have these evap units are most-often not replacing them when they die. I doubt that the official start date really has anything to do with air conditioning, but it does signal the time of year when our humidity does start to rise, so we do start to see clouds much more often.  And with clouds, we get some incredibly beautiful sunrises. Like a few of my favorites from last year:      References for Arizona’s Monsoon Season: Arizona Monsoon – Phoenix Monsoon Facts Tracking the Monsoon Monsoon is a...

Scottsdale Real Estate Market Report: Average Price per Square Foot Comparisons by Zip Code

Yesterday, a neighbor asked me which real estate theory I subscribed to, and I had to chuckle because I’d just been thinking about a couple of the different scenarios that have been thrown around over the past couple of years.  First there was the “W“, where prices drop, creep back up, and then fall again.  Then, there was the “L“, a deep fall, with home prices bumping along the bottom for a while, some said for years. In the Phoenix metro area, we’ve experienced three real estate markets for well over a year.  The question prompted me to look more closely at the Scottsdale sales prices over the past several years.  From the chart below, you can see that prices were static and topping out in 2007, with a steady decline until late 2009.  Look at how flat pricing has been this year,  with the average sales price for the city, as a whole, hovering around $175 per square foot, after spending most of the 2007 at almost $300 per square foot. Scottsdale homes cover a huge price range. As of today, condos listed in the Arizona Regional MLS range from $34,000 in South Scottsdale to $4,599,000 at the Scottsdale Waterfront.  Single family homes start at $89,000 in South Scottsdale, and top out at $15,000,000 in Estancia in North Scottsdale.  With that diversity, it only made sense to look at each of the Scottsdale zip codes, to see if all price ranges were behaving similarly. Starting with the South Scottsdale zip code of 85257, you can see the same average sales price trend, with a peak of almost $200/sf...

Scottsdale’s Mighty Mud Mania – Just add water!

Photo credit: Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale The 34th annual Mighty Mud Mania is today, June 19th, 2010, from 8:30am to 2pm at Chaparral Park, located at 5401 N. Hayden Road in Scottsdale.  Parking is fairly limited, so there will be shuttles from Mohave Elementary School which is located on the northeast corner of Jackrabbit and Granite Reef. Map of Park, Parking, and Shuttle Service Mud Mania was first held in 1976 as a promotional gimmick for Johnson’s Wax “Shout” spray pre-way.  The company handed out 300 white t-shirts for participants, but the Arizona mud was just too much to the pre-wash, so Johnson dropped it’s sponsorship.  However, the event was so successful that the city took it over as the “culminating activity of all the Scottsdale Parks and Recreation summer programs“. I’ve been riding by the park watching the preparations for the last several weeks.  Thursday, I stopped to take a few photos of the pits that were all ready for the big event.  I also ran into Jan Cameron, Director of Scottsdale Parks and Recreation, who was surveying the scene.  She mentioned that the event was being held on Saturday this year, so that more parents could watch and participate. She said the event was also being held earlier in the summer so the turf would have more time to recover for falls sports. Here’s another photo of a mud pit ready for water and kids. It’s huge! Photo credit: Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale Today, there will lots of mud pits (with age group designations), giant mudslides, sandcastle building, and a hose-off. ...

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Closing Date Extension Passed by the Senate

photo credit: Collin Anderson Good news for all the buyers who are patiently waiting for banks to make decision on pending short sales! Yesterday, I got an email, or three, letting me know that the Senate had passed a tax credit extension for those who have accepted offers on homes, that will not close by the original deadline of June 30, 2010. These mainstream articles that will give you a bit of background and more specifics on the proposed extension: Associate Press – Senate approves home tax credit extension Reuters – Senate votes to extend US home tax credit deadline And, as Jay Thompson at PhxREGuy.com points out on his post, Senate Amendment to Extend Home Buyer Tax Credit Deadline, the bill still needs to be reconciled with the previously passed House bill, and signed by the President, before it goes into effect. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has been focused on this issue, as you can see in the chronology: First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit: Latest News.  The comment NAR president, Vicki Cox Golder from Tucson, made in her letter to Congress yesterday is spot on. Extension of the closing date is a pro-consumer relief provision. It assures the fair treatment of prospective purchasers who have followed the rules and done their part to assure that the sale goes through. Congress must assure that those who have met the eligibility requirements for the credit and done all within their power to satisfy the timing requirements will not have to forfeit the credit because of events and challenges outside their control. I imagine that the bill will be...

Scottsdale Schools Start August 9th, 2010

  I know it seems a little odd to talk about Scottsdale schools starting back into session, when many kids in other parts of the country are still finishing up the school year.  However, Arizona schools start early, and if you are planning a move here and want your kids to be there are the first day of class, it’s important to know that most schools are back in session in August. In the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD), schools start August 9th, 2010. If you are thinking about a move to the city, here are several links to get you started with your Scottsdale public school research: Enrollment Information for New SUSD Students Scottsdale School District Calendar 2010-2011 Scottsdale School Start Times Scottsdale School Boundary Map List of Scottsdale Schools and Maps Open Enrollment Information for Students Living Outside the SUSD District Boundaries My son is going to be a senior in high school this year, and has attended six Scottsdale schools all over the city.  I also was very involved with the Special Education Parents Advisory Council for quite a few years.  Now, I sit on the SUSD Bond Oversight Committee, which has given me more insight into the school budgeting process, as well as additional contact with the school administration.  If you have questions about the Scottsdale schools, let me know and I’ll help you get your...