It’s monsoon season in Arizona…

Scottsdale Arizona Clouds - monsoon season

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:

Scottsdale Sunrise - Monsoon Season June

Scottsdale Sunrise - Monsoon Season June 2009

Scottsdale Sunrise - Monsoon Season July

Scottsdale Sunrise - Monsoon Season July 2009

 Daybreak on the Silverado Golf Course in Scottsdale (Small) 

Scottsdale Sunrise - End of Monsoon Season

Geese at sunrise - McCormick Ranch 

References for Arizona’s Monsoon Season:

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 in 2007 and remaining around $100/sf since late last year.


Moving north to the zip code of 85251, the pattern remains the same, although the peak was higher at $250/sf, and average sale price now hovers just over $150/sf.


Moving just north of downtown Scottsdale to 85250, you can see that both the price trend, high, and lows are all very similar to 85251.


In the 85258 zip code (McCormick, Gainey, and Scottsdale Ranches), the trend remains the same, with the high reaching almost $300/sf in 2007 and dropping to about $200/sf, again in late 2009. 


Scottsdale 85254 (which is really mostly in the City of Phoenix, with a Scottsdale mailing address), again follows the same pattern, experiencing a high of about $275/sf in 2008 and staying just below $150/sf since September/October of last year.


In the 85259 zip code are, which is father east of the 101 both north and south of Shea, on the way to Fountain Hills, you see same pattern with a high of almost $300/sf in 2007 and now floating just about $185-195/sf.


Scottsdale’s 85260 zip code sits between zips 85254 and 85259.  Same trend, with a high in 2007 of about $260/sf and lows in 2010 of approximately $160/sf.


Farther north into the DC Ranch and Grayhawk communities, average sales prices per square foot was in the $325 range for most of 2007, gradually declining to approximately $220/sf for this year.


Scottsdale 85262 is the largest zip code area of the city and covers much of the ground between Pinnacle Peak Road north to Desert Mountain, east of Pima.  Even the higher priced real estate in this area has followed the overall trend, reaching highs around $350/sf, and declining to about $200/sf this year.  Interestingly, prices remained fairly high for most of 2008, before steadily dropping off in 2009.


The 85266 zip code was created in mid-2007 and include the area bounded by Pinnacle Peak Road and the Carefree Highway, west of Pima, and includes the community of Terravita. Even with the incomplete data for 2007, it’s easy to see that price decline of 2008 and 2009, with the apparent bottoming out in 2010 at average sales price of about $190/sf.


In putting these charts together, I started wondering which zip codes weathered the dramatic price decreases of 2008-2009.  As you can see in the chart below, North Scottsdale price per square foot remains higher than South Scottsdale, but the percent decrease was comparable.  From a % comparison, the South Scottsdale zip of 85257 has experienced the greatest decline, while the mid-town zip of 85258 and northern zip of 85255, have declined significantly, but not as much as the rest of the city.


Related Posts:

Slide Show (Creative Commons):

Scottsdale’s Mighty Mud Mania – Just add water!

Scottsdale's 34th Annual Mud Mania - Tire Pit Preparation
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!

Scottsdale's 34th Annual Mud Mania - Pit Preparation
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.  Swimming at Chaparral Pool is on a buck, but you must have a clean swim to get in!

Below are a couple photos from last year’s event.  It really is amazing how muddy everybody gets, and how many adults spend the day in this mud soup!

Head First - Scottsdale Mud Mania 2009

The Scottsdale Fire Department was and will be on hand to hose everyone off afterwards!

Mud Mania Hose Down - 2009

Event details are here: City of Scottsdale’s Mighty Mud Mania page

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

Tax Extension - Ladder
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:

And, as Jay Thompson at 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 reconciled and signed by the President, but until that happens, it’s not a done deal.  And then, it will be up to the banks holding the strings on the estimated 75,000 to 180,000 contracts that are currently under their review to step up and work towards completing these transactions in the next 3 months.

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:

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 answers.

Salt River Fields at Talking Stick: New Spring Training Baseball Fields for Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies Named

Last weekend, I was over at  Pavilions Shopping Center, located between Pima Road in Scottsdale and the 101 freeway, on Indian Bend Road, when I happened to glimpse north past the old movie theatre.  I noticed this great view of the new Diamondback’s spring stadium, currently under construction and scheduled to open Spring 2011.

I snapped a few photos to share and spent a little time finding out more about the stadium, since I hadn’t really heard much since the original announcement.

Arizona Diamondback & Colorado Rockies Spring Training Stadium 

From, I learned quite a bit of background info from the original announcement, including:

Scheduled to open in Spring Training 2011, the new spring-training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies should raise the bar for spring-training facilities, according to HKS’s Mo Stein, who gave us a sneak preview of the project.

I suggest reading the rest of their full post, Diamondbacks/Rockies spring-training complex, which has lots of good info about the size, location, plus a reminder of the spectacular views of the McDowell Mountains. 

Spring Training Stadium - Diamondback and Rockies

Today, the Arizona Republic announced: Arizona Diamondbacks’ spring-training site named.  They’ve included some history of the name, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, as well as a more comprehensive slide show.  We’re still nine months away from the first game, but I’m already excited to get out to the stadium, watch some baseball, enjoy the weather, and get in some fun people watching.  Looks like it’s going to be a great venue.

Diamondback’s Original Press Release Announcing Site: Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community announces new Spring Training site for Arizona Diamondbacks & Colorado Rockies

Site plan: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Site Plan (which shows 12 other fields besides the stadium)

Slide Show: Salt River Fields at Talking Stick

Scottsdale Airpark News: Home Builders Follow National Trends


The editor for the Scottsdale Airpark News contacted me after reading a post I wrote, Scottsdale Home Buyers Following National Home Buyer Trends 2010?

She asked me if I could write an article more specific to the Scottsdale Airpark, which runs from about Shea Boulevard north to Pinnacle Peak Road, primarily zip codes 85254, 85255, and 85260

After doing a bit more research, I wrote an update, Scottsdale Follow National Home Builder Trends, which was published in the June 2010 edition of the paper.  As soon as it’s available on the web site, I’ll link to it, too.

The most significant update to the original article was that I interviewed a couple of local real estate agents in new home communities in DC Ranch and Grayhawk.  The perspective the agents shared was insightful, and will give you some sense of what many Scottsdale home buyers are looking for.

Read the full article here: Scottsdale Follow National Home Builder Trends

Link to Scottsdale Airpark News copy: Scottsdale Follow National Home Builder Trends