Mortgage And Real Estate News

Friday, December 28, 2012

Ryland buying Trend Homes

Gilbert-based Trend Homes, one of metro Phoenix’s largest homebuilders, is being purchased by Ryland Group Inc. The deal is another sign the region’s homebuilding market is recovering.

Phoenix-based investment firm Najafi Cos. is selling Trend Homes after buying the builder in 2008 for $85million. Trend Homes then was operating under bankruptcy protection. The terms of the sale to Ryland haven’t yet been disclosed.

The purchase of Trend Homes marks Ryland’s re-entry into the Valley’s housing market. The Westlake Village, Calif.-based homebuilder sold all its assets and closed its offices in the state a few years ago amid the housing crash.

Read more: Ryland buying Trend Homes

Chandler sees need for new housing

Chandler’s economic-development savvy has made headlines in recent years, as the city’s growing employment hubs prompted big-name companies like Intel, eBay and Ports America to take over or construct sprawling Chandler facilities.

But when it comes to the young, mobile professionals who work at those companies — and who may not want to be saddled with mortgages — the city hasn’t had many new residential options to offer.

Read more: Chandler sees need for new housing

Shrinking inventory for big investors

As foreclosures continue to fall in metro Phoenix, the dominant buyers and sellers in the region are changing.

Fewer sales of lender-owned inexpensive foreclosure homes means a rapidly shrinking pool of houses for investors to purchase.

As a result, more homeowners will be able to sell to buyers for higher prices because they aren’t competing with lenders.

Read more: Shrinking inventory for big investors

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Russians, Brazilians, Canadians among foreigners active in buying area real estate » Naples Daily News Mobile

NAPLES — International homebuyers aren't so foreign any more in Southwest Florida.

They're coming from more countries these days, including Russia, Brazil and even China.

"We are seeing new countries represented," said Craig Jones, vice president of marketing for Premier Sotheby's International Realty in Naples. "We are seeing a real uptick in the Russian buyer. That's at the top end. That's a true luxury, high-net-worth buyer and we are seeing the same thing from Brazil."

Read more:

Home Prices Hit a Milestone - Yahoo! Finance

Home prices are on track to notch their first yearly gain since 2006, the strongest performance since the housing bust and a development that could accelerate the real-estate rebound even as the broader economy stutters.

The housing market's revival has had several false dawns in recent years, but a recovery that began in the spring has strengthened throughout the summer and fall. The latest confirmation came on Wednesday, when the Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city index showed that prices rose by 4.3% from a year ago in October. Since January, prices are up 6.9% so far this year, the largest year-to-date gain since 2005. A separate index released Wednesday by Lender Processing Services Inc. showed that national home prices were up by 5.2% this year through October.

Read more: Home Prices Hit a Milestone - Yahoo! Finance

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2013: How Rising Prices Could Boost Housing Demand - Developments - WSJ

Potential buyers now have something they haven't had in a long time: urgency (save for a few months when the government was paying people to buy homes with a first-time home-buyer tax credit). This next year will be the first time since 2006 where prices ended the previous year in positive territory. Surveys already show that buyers' expectations of future home prices have improved throughout the past year.  Read more:

What real estate trends suggest for 2013 | HousingWire

As 2012 comes to an end, most real estate professionals sit on the edge of their seats, anticipating the outcome of the fiscal cliff and how it will affect the housing market going into 2013.  Read more:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Experts’ Prescription for Arizona Economy in 2013: Patience and a Positive Attitude

At the 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon, co-sponsored by the W. P. Carey School of Business Department of Economics and JPMorgan Chase, two experts offered their insights into Arizona’s economy in 2013. The message, from Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business and Elliott D. Pollack, CEO of the economic and real estate consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Company was: Arizona’s economy is getting better. Slowly.

Read more: Experts’ Prescription for Arizona Economy in 2013: Patience and a Positive Attitude

Ryland buying Trend Homes

Gilbert-based Trend Homes, one of metro Phoenix's largest homebuilders, is being purchased by Ryland Group Inc. The deal is another sign the region's homebuilding market is recovering.

Phoenix-based investment firm Najafi Cos. is selling Trend Homes after buying the builder in 2008 for $85 million. Trend Homes then was operating under bankruptcy protection. The terms of the sale to Ryland haven't yet been disclosed.

The purchase of Trend Homes marks Ryland's re-entry into the Valley's housing market. The Westlake Village, Calif.-based homebuilder sold all its assets and closed its offices in the state a few years ago amid the housing crash.

Read more: Ryland buying Trend Homes

Scottsdale infill-incentive projects slow to get off drawing board

Scottsdale’s downtown infill-incentive district and plan, adopted in summer 2010, has netted only one actual construction project.

A divided City Council adopted the district and plan, which established a building-height maximum of 150 feet north of the Arizona Canal and surrounding Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center.

The district and plan allow property owners downtown to request amended development standards, such as increased height and density, in exchange for public benefits, such as investment in public art and amenities.

Read more: Scottsdale infill-incentive projects slow to get off drawing board

Monday, December 10, 2012

New owner puts Phoenix Metrocenter Mall on a mission

Metrocenter, once one of Arizona's most successful malls, hope mixed-use projects can breathe new life into the struggling shopping center.

The New York-based Carlyle Development Group plans to submit a rezoning application to the city in early 2013 to turn the mall into a mixed-use project, which would stretch the offerings beyond only retail.  Read more:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Lot owners upset over Sereno Canyon plan for resort, homes

A group of lot owners in Sereno Canyon, an undeveloped subdivision just outside the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, say they bought a vision, not just a piece of land.

“We looked at it when it was in the raw, and my wife is an animal lover, and we saw horses and everything, so to us that’s where we wanted to live,” said Jim Canning, who lives in Fountain Hills.

“They sold us a beautiful place, a tranquil spot away from all the hustle and bustle, so we could build a really nice home,” Scottsdale resident Rick Popper said.

Read more: Lot owners upset over Sereno Canyon plan for resort, homes

Reagor: Colony behind big buy

The winning bidder for Fannie Mae's bulk sale of more than 300 sought-after foreclosure houses in metro Phoenix has been revealed: Santa Monica, Calif.-based Colony Capital.

But the true cost of the houses is still a mystery because of the complex financing deal approved by Fannie Mae's regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The more than 300 houses in Arizona are lumped in with a total of 970 foreclosure homes Colony is buying. The other properties are in California and Nevada.

Read more: Reagor: Colony behind big buy

Friday, December 7, 2012

Home Values Up in Q3 Per Fed Report

Fueled by a $370 billion jump in the value of household real estate, household net worth grew $1.7 trillion in the third quarter to $64.8 trillion, the Federal Reserve reported Thursday in its quarterly Flow of Funds report.

And, while the value of owner-occupied household real estate increased, total residential mortgage debt fell $85.8 billion. As a result, owners' equity increased almost $390 billion. Homeowners' equity as a percentage of the value of the real estate rose to 44.8 percent, the highest level since 2007, according to the report.  Read more:

RealtyTrac: Short Sales, Pre-Foreclosure Sales Increase in Q3

Although short sales continue to be utilized more and more as an alternative, RealtyTrac suggested the trend may change if the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 does extended.

According to RealtyTrac's Q3 foreclosure and short sales report, short sales increased quarterly and yearly by 15 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Out of all residential sales, short sales represented about 22 percent of the total in Q3.  Read more:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

No vote on Phoenix Wright house before Jan. 16

The Phoenix City Council will not vote on the historical status of a famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in east Phoenix until at least Jan.16.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio said Wednesday that the extension will allow for more time to accomplish two goals for the David and Gladys Wright House in Arcadia: to continue searching for a sole buyer who will preserve the home and to challenge preservationists and supporters of the house to begin raising funds to save the house for good.  Read more:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Citigroup Job Cuts: Bank Plans To Slash 11,000 Jobs In Aim To Save As Much As $1.1 Billion Per Year - The Huffington Post

* Cuts include technology and support jobs around the world

* Consumer banking due for 35 pct of restructuring charges

* Company expects annual expense savings of $1 billion

* Stock rises 4 percent on news

Read more:

Increase in Asking Prices Exceeds Rent in Certain Markets

National gains for rentals still grew faster than asking prices for homes in November, but in certain metros, the trend was reversed, Trulia reported Tuesday.

According to data from Trulia, rent prices in November increased by 5.6 percent year-over-year, while
prices for homes were up 3.8 percent, representing the biggest increase so far this year.

Even though rents stayed improvements, asking prices in 14 of the 25 largest rental markets managed to post greater increases compared to rents, the data provider revealed. Read more:

Radar Logic Questions Recovery's Sustainability

Despite reports of improvements in home prices and sales, Radar Logic argued that upon closer examination, the housing market is not doing as well as assumed.

As of September 25, 2012, Radar Logic's RPX composite price increased 5.2 percent year-over-year across 25 metro areas, according to the company's monthly housing report. In addition, sales activity has gone up by 12.3 percent over a one-year period.  Read more:

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Historic landmark vote for Wright house delayed

PHOENIX — A city councilman says he wants to delay a decision on whether to designate as historic a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house here.

Councilman Sal DiCiccio, who represents the Arcadia district in this city where the David and Gladys Wright House is located, said the delay would allow time to start fundraising to purchase and preserve the iconic house with views of Camelback Mountain.  Read more:

Phoenix-area home prices rise again

Metro Phoenix's median home price climbed 5 percent in October after four months of remaining flat.

The region's median price of an existing house reached $157,000 in October, up from $150,000 during the previous few months, according to Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business.  Read more:

CoreLogic Reports 25 Percent Monthly Drop in Foreclosures in October | Mortgage News | Daily National and State Headlines

CoreLogic has released its National Foreclosure Report for October that provides data on completed U.S. foreclosures and the overall foreclosure inventory. According to CoreLogic, there were 58,000 completed foreclosures in the U.S. in October 2012, down from 70,000 in October 2011 representing a year-over-year decrease of 17 percent. On a month-over-month basis, completed foreclosures fell from 77,000 in September 2012 to the current 58,000, representing a decrease of 25 percent. As a basis of comparison, prior to the decline in the housing market in 2007, completed foreclosures averaged 21,000 per month between 2000 and 2006. Completed foreclosures are an indication of the total number of homes actually lost to foreclosure. Since the financial crisis began in September 2008, there have been approximately 3.9 million completed foreclosures across the country.  Read more:

Jumbo Lending in Today’s Environment | Mortgage News | Daily National and State Headlines

Historically, the "hard to finance" borrower was one with a risk-filled profile, usually consisting of late payments, low or sporadic income, and credit indicators that suggested an unwillingness or inability to manage one's debts. In the 1970s and 1980s, these borrowers were led to private money investors. Typically, these investors were high net worth individuals building portfolios of first and second trust deeds arranged at very low loan-to-values (LTVs) with substantially higher interest rates. The brokers who arranged these loans were later dubbed "hard money" lenders. As time evolved and credit markets became aware of the huge opportunity that existed in this segment, the "hard money" lenders were replaced with Wall Street firms creating mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and the business was renamed the far more innocuous "sub-prime" or "non-prime."  Read more:

REO Sales Diminish to Under 20% of Overall Home Sales: Clear Capital

Clear Capital released a new market report Tuesday, tracking home prices through the end of November. Nationally, quarterly price gains were cut by more than half compared to readings from the month before. For November, home prices edged up just 1 percent.  Read more:

Lenders, Homeowner Advocates Unite Behind Mortgage Debt Relief Act

The Center for Responsible Lending, a nonprofit group dedicated to protecting homeownership, and the Financial Services Roundtable, a group of representatives from the nation's largest financial institutions, have come together to ask Congress to extend the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act, which will otherwise expire at the end of this year.  Read more:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Revised plans for 572-unit apartment complex advance

The developer of an apartment complex at 74th Street and McDowell Road is moving ahead with a plan for the 572-unit project east of SkySong.

Mark-Taylor Development has revised its plan for the 31-acre site to include a one-block section of Culver Street and a 1.59-acre parcel southeast of 74th and McDowell.

The reconfigured site plan will give Mark-Taylor a significant presence along McDowell, with its main entrance near the middle of the block between 74th and Miller Road, zoning attorney Lynn Lagarde said.

“It makes the project so much better,” she said.

Read more: Revised plans for 572-unit apartment complex advance

Eastmark to get more homes

More developers are signing up for pieces of the former General Motors Desert Proving Ground in southeast Mesa.

Scottsdale-based AV Homes Inc. and JEN Partners LLC of New York City announced Tuesday they have combined to buy 527 acres in the Eastmark property being developed by DMB Associates of Scottsdale.

A new entity called TerraWest Management Co. LLC will coordinate the two developments aimed at very different demographics:

Read more: Eastmark to get more homes

City adds 6,400 acres to preserve

Scottsdale completed a two-decade goal on Wednesday in buying 6,400 acres of state trust land in the far north of the city that will connect the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to the Tonto National Forest.

The city was the lone bidder at $88.2 millionfor three parcels east of the Legend Trail golf community that were auctioned by the Arizona State Land Department.

The link of the preserve's McDowell Mountains and desert terrain to the national forest provides a wildlife corridor and supports the natural cycle of plants propagating across the public lands.

Read more: City adds 6,400 acres to preserve

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Paradise Valley resort plan to cut debt is filed

The owner of the troubled Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley has submitted a reorganization plan in Bankruptcy Court that it says will help it come out of bankruptcy and develop the long-shuttered property.  Read more:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reagor: $883 mil in aid for Arizonans

More than $880 million so far has been committed to helping Arizona consumers through the National Mortgage Settlement, according to the nation's top five lenders.

The latest report on the settlement, issued this week, is based on information from Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, CitiBank and GMAC/Ally. The data shows most of the aid so far, about $762 million, is coming from short sales approved by the lenders.

Another $61 million has been set aside or spent to help underwater borrowers refinance. About $60 million has gone toward modifying Arizona borrowers' primary mortgages. The lenders collectively report helping more than 13,000 of the state's consumers.

Read more: Reagor: $883 mil in aid for Arizonans

Economist: Local recovery ‘mediocre,’ another 2 years away

Arizona can expect a tepid economic recovery next year with an improving housing market but don’t expect a robust economy until 2015.

That’s the view of local economist Elliott Pollack, who spoke last week at an economic-forecast event presented by the Arizona School of Real Estate and Business in downtown Scottsdale.

“It’s a mediocre recovery,” Pollack said. “It’s been bad for so long that it will seem better than it is.”

Pollack, one of the featured speakers, was upbeat about declines in distressed-housing inventory and foreclosure notices as the market stabilizes. But he warned that the recovery could be derailed by some local and national issues that are already creating uncertainty.

Nationally, the so-called fiscal cliff is poised to push the country back into recession by the second quarter of 2013 if Congress doesn’t act, Pollack said.

Major tax cuts are scheduled to end at the start of next year along with deep cuts in federal spending for defense and other programs.

Pollack, who admitted he was a cranky after returning from an overseas trip, is skeptical of what will happen in Washington because he said there is “no leadership in the White House or Congress.”

“If anyone tells you we don’t need spending cuts and tax hikes they’re a (expletive) moron,” said Pollack, apologizing for his profanity. “We have to have tax increases.”

Demand high for home lots

Locally, home builders are ramping up to meet demand for new homes but there is a scarcity of developed lots and available land for new communities.

“We will run out of lots in 2014 and then you’re done building,” he said.

That shortage has been good for him. Pollack said he bought land in greater Phoenix in 2008-09 when prices plummeted and is selling it back now.

Earlier, land broker Nate Nathan said land sales have been brisk. By the end of the year, land transactions will be completed on 110,000 residential lots in Maricopa and Pinal counties, Nathan said.

Longer term, Pollack said the Phoenix area will add 1 million people and 200,000 homes within the next eight-to-10 years.

Baby Boomers have delayed their retirement but many of them eventually will retire in the Valley, he said.

Pollack said much of the growth will be in outlying areas because there is not enough infill land to meet the demand for housing.

He also dismissed speculation that the Valley will run out of water.

“There is not now, nor will there ever be, a water shortage,” said Pollack, adding that increasing water rates would reduce use and extend the supply.

Investors bullish on market

Pollack told the group of real estate professionals that investor groups from Wall Street are continuing to buy up big blocks of single-family houses in the Valley.

That has created fear that local prices will fall if real estate investment trusts sell thousands of homes at the same time.

But adding 2,000 homes to the available listing would not have a huge impact in a housing market with about 1.2 million homes, Pollack said.

“I still think it’s a good time to buy single-family houses,” he said.

It is encouraging that more than half the monthly home sales are traditional deals, not short sales, foreclosures or investor flips, Pollack said.

During the recession, traditional sales dipped as low as 24 percent, he said.

“Essentially we’re working our way through the problem,” Pollack said. “The lights are getting brighter.

The economic forecast included moderators Bill Gray and Fletcher Wilcox, and panelists Sal DiCicio, Scott Golba, Tom Noble, Bill Rodgers, Gerrick Taylor, Keith Watkins and Nate Nathan. Wayne Stutzer of RBC Wealth Management was the other featured speaker.

By Peter Corbett The Republic | Tue Nov 20, 2012

Economist: Local recovery ‘mediocre,’ another 2 years away

Beach-club area construction creates some waves

Nearly an entire block in downtown Scottsdale’s entertainment district is teeming with construction as developer Shawn Yari’s beach club-anchored entertainment complex quickly takes shape.

However, revelers will have to wait several months until the first bars open, and the beach club itself won’t be opening until next summer.

As of now, the complex, being developed by Triyar Entertainment, owned by Yari, will include the indoor-outdoor beach club in the center and three restaurant-bars along the eastern side.

The complex will encompass most of the block that housed Myst nightclub on Shoeman Lane, and Suede restaurant and bar on Indian Plaza, just south of Axis/Radius. The area is in the city’s entertainment district south of Camelback Road and east of Scottsdale Road.

Read more: Beach-club area construction creates some waves

U.S. banks cut mortgages by $6.3B in homeowner settlement | The Tennessean |

Less than a year after a landmark foreclosure abuse settlement, five of the nation’s biggest banks have cut struggling homeowner’s mortgages by $6.3 billion, part of a total $26.1 billion in home loan relief the banks agreed to provide.

In Tennessee, roughly $85 million worth of relief has been provided for 2,134 borrowers between March 1 and Sept. 30, according to a report issued Monday by Joseph Smith, monitor of the settlement. Additionally, $51 million in loan modification trials are in progress.

More than $37 million in local relief came in the form of short sales, in which lenders agree to accept less than what the seller owes on the mortgage. About $18 million was provided through refinancing loans.

Read more: U.S. banks cut mortgages by $6.3B in homeowner settlement | The Tennessean |

Harassing calls can be reported

Question: I’ve been registered on the Do Not Call list for years but still get repeated telemarketing calls every month — many from the same companies. When I try to have my number deleted by pressing a suggested button, I only get more calls. Where can I report this harassment?

—Nancy Halvorson,


Answer: I get this question often, and my answer always disappoints readers.

The Do Not Call Registry is managed by the Federal Trade Commission. If you’re receiving harassing calls from telemarketers, you can file a complaint with the FTC at The FTC says it will investigate these complaints and punish offenders. Until they’re caught, some disreputable companies will continue to ring your phone off the hook. But the truth is: They may never be caught.

Don’t bother filing complaints against charities, political groups, pollsters and companies conducting surveys. These groups are exempt from the registry and can call you as much as they choose.

By Dave Cherry 12 News Mon Nov 19, 2012

Harassing calls can be reported

$150,000 grant from bank to help first-time homebuyers in Chandler

The partnership between Chandler and the Newtown Community Development Corp., in working to put first-time homebuyers into empty houses, got a boost recently.

Newtown, the Tempe-based non-profit organization that administers much of Chandler’s neighborhood stabilization efforts, received a $150,000 Priority Markets Grant Friday from Wells Fargo bank. The money will be used to bolster the down-payment assistance program for first-time buyers and help set up a rotating loan fund for repairs to existing homes in the program.

Newtown Executive Director Allen Carlson said $100,000 of the money would be combined with $200,000 in existing funds for down-payment assistance. The remaining $50,000 from the grant would start the loan fund.

Read more: $150,000 grant from bank to help first-time homebuyers in Chandler

Habitat for Humanity working on 8 Peoria homes

In a few months, Michel’le Dinkins will move into her first home — one she has helped construct, nail by nail.

The 22-year-old single mom, a part-time student and full-time St. Mary’s Food Bank employee, will get the key in February to one of eight Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona projects under way in Peoria.

The faith-based non-profit builds and renovates homes and sells them to low-income families at affordable prices with no-interest mortgages. The organization owns three vacant lots in Peoria not yet under construction and has built a new home and renovated seven others this year.

Read more: Habitat for Humanity working on 8 Peoria homes

Sale of Frank Lloyd Wright -designed Arizona home falls through

PHOENIX - A sale of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home that had been slated for demolition has fallen through and the home once again will go on the market, a real estate broker marketing the property said Monday.

The buyer, who has not been identified, decided during an inspection period to not proceed with the purchase because of unspecified personal and business reasons, said Robert Joffe. "I don't think I'm ever going to know the truth."

The home will again be listed for sale for $2,379,000, the price on which the now-canceled agreement was based, Joffe said.

However, he said the window to sell the home runs only until Dec. 4 because the Phoenix city council plans on Dec. 5 to consider approving an historic designation for the property.

Read more: Sale of Frank Lloyd Wright -designed Arizona home falls through

Construction begins on $17 mil senior complex in Mesa

The first major private investment in downtown Mesa in Councilman Chris Glover’s lifetime is off and running.

Glover, 25, who represents downtown Mesa, helped break ground this week on a $17 million, 81-unit senior-housing complex southwest of the Mesa Arts Center.

For the past quarter-century, all the big-money projects in downtown Mesa, most notably the nearly $100 million Mesa Arts Center, have been government-funded.

Encore on First Avenue is one of three subsidized housing projects approved in Mesa this year; the others are the redevelopment of the Escobedo Apartments and a major overhaul of the La Mesita Family Shelter.

Read more: Construction begins on $17 mil senior complex in Mesa

Tanger to bring 85 new stores to Westgate in Glendale

Something always seemed to be missing at Westgate City Center, Glendale’s signature entertainment and shopping district: critical mass.

The crowds from nearby sports venues and a movie theater were sporadic, not reliable enough to fill Westgate’s restaurants, bars and concert events on a regular basis.

That could all change Thursday, when Tanger Outlets Westgate opens nearly 85 stores. The mall will be a critical third anchor, along with Arena and University of Phoenix Stadium, for the Westgate complex. Up to 5 million shoppers will go to Tanger each year, according to the mall owner’s projections.

Tanger is the tipping point, say executives with a stake in the 6-year-old Westgate. A company called iStar Financial Inc. took over a year ago.

Read more: Tanger to bring 85 new stores to Westgate in Glendale

A reverse mortgage can add up

Question: My wife and I are in our 60s, our house is paid off and we have no plans to move. What do you think about a reverse mortgage?

—Dave Cole,


Answer: Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners age 62 and older. The mortgage relationship is reversed; the mortgage company pays you every month and then gets its principal plus interest back when your heirs sell the house. You are essentially drawing on your home’s equity while still living in it.

Typically, the loan doesn’t need to be repaid until after your death. If the house sells for more than the loan balance, your heirs keep the difference.

Reverse mortgages are expensive. You pay a loan origination fee, closing costs and insurance. If you fail to maintain your property and pay homeowner’s insurance and taxes, you risk foreclosure.

Consumer Reports estimates that 54,000 reverse mortgages are in default, mostly due to homeowners’ inability to pay taxes and insurance. Before you call any lender, talk with a counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It’s free, and counseling is required by law to get these loans.

The counselor can help you figure out if you qualify and if a reverse mortgage is right for you.

By Dave Cherry Calll 12 for Action Mon Nov 12, 2012 A reverse mortgage can add up

Group will build houses in Valley for injured vets

For Mike and Cheryl Leonard, Peoria represents a new chapter -- a fresh start after a roadside-bomb explosion in Afghanistan turned their lives upside down.

Mike Leonard, a first sergeant in the U.S. Army, was riding in a medical vehicle two years ago when an explosion knocked him unconscious.

"I just remember telling my senior medic, 'Just get everybody out. Get everybody out,' " the 41-year-old said.

Read more: Group will build houses in Valley for injured vets

Real estate exec sees commercial looking up

Housing gets most of the attention in metro Phoenix because of the past year’s rise in home prices, but the commercial real-estate market may be on the upswing as well.

Commercial market veteran Pete Bolton, executive vice president and managing director at Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in Phoenix, offers current views on the office, industrial and retail market.

Question: Summarize how the Phoenix commercial real-estate market is faring and how Wall Street and other investors are affecting it.

Answer: The Phoenix-area commercial market is moving along — finally — at a modest pace. The good news is that activity levels, as far as tenants are concerned, have definitely increased over the past 18 months. Expansions are starting to occur, again at a very modest pace. Corporate America is not confident enough overall to start making the moves it needs to make to improve our market substantially. As far as Wall Street is concerned, the effect of their perception is that stocks for companies in the commercial real-estate sector have remained well below where they were in 2007-08. There are hundreds of billions of dollars sitting on the sidelines waiting to invest in commercial real estate. I would put Phoenix in the middle of the country as far as recovery — we certainly aren’t at the bottom; we are halfway through the recovery process.

Q. What’s going on in the office market? What kind of tenants are looking for space now?

A. Most of the new space/expansion space is coming from a very patient corporate America that is taking a flier on the fact that, after five years in a commercial real-estate hole, it’s got to get better. They have to make a commitment to office space somewhere, sometime. We actually have submarkets in the Valley that have 5 percent vacancies, but then on the other hand, we have a few that are between 20 to 25 percent vacant.

Q. Phoenix’s calling card to many companies is its warehouse market. There’s some speculative building under way. What does that mean for the industrial market?

A. Warehouse/distribution space has been filling quite nicely during 2012. The big-box distribution space of 150,000 feet or more is not available today. There are a few speculative buildings under way in this category, but it has taken well over a year to get financing, permits, etc., to build these big distribution centers. They will fill as soon as they are near completion. As far as the building you see around town, most of it is build-to-suit activity for tenants either coming into town or needing to expand to larger facilities. Industrial space overall has a 12 percent vacancy — we like to see it around 10 percent for it to be a healthy market.

Q. Rooftops are selling, and new-home building is up last year. What’s happening with retail?

A. Retail is definitely responding to an anticipation of a better world/U.S./Phoenix market. At the peak, we saw a 13 percent vacancy, but it has decreased to 11.8 percent. Retail strip centers are doing the best at this time — pad sales are picking up and activity has definitely increased. These are all good signs of a recovering market. I believe the home-building excitement plays a part in this. Alternative uses for larger spaces continue to be an interesting part of retail absorption. As the small spaces absorb, tenants will start to gravitate towards these larger centers. Then everyone, landlords and tenants, will be feeling better.

Q. What is the forecast for the commercial market for next year?

A. If you were to take a poll of the commercial brokerage community, it would certainly tell you that on the whole, things are getting a lot better than they have been over the past four years. This has been a tough go for commercial real estate in all sectors, with a possible exception of multifamily investment sales during the second half of 2011 and to date in 2012. Our forecast is that we see an increase in activity continuing throughout office, industrial and retail sectors in 2013 and beyond. So 2013, 2014 and 2015 will be good years for commercial real estate. And it’s about time.

By Catherine Reagor The Republic Fri Nov 9, 2012 Real estate exec sees commercial looking up

Capital-improvement projects on the rise

For the first time in at least three years, Paradise Valley is seeing a substantial increase in capital-improvement projects, returning activity to pre-recession numbers.

At least five projects are included in the 2012-13 budget.

Town Manager Jim Bacon says this will bring more construction to the town streets, which in the long run, fares well for everybody.

Because a very difficult economy is getting better, capital budgets are returning, he said.

“We’re trying to re-establish capital projects as a part of what we do,” Bacon said. “Street systems, sidewalks, drainage — these are things people don’t really think about a whole lot, but they’re just-as-important services that government provides as public safety.”

The town has invested in capital improvements this year at a level comparable to before the economic downturn.

Read more: Capital-improvement projects on the rise

Developer’s plans may clash with Borgata shopkeepers’

A homebuilder has plans to redevelop the Borgata of Scottsdale, but merchants at the faux-Italian village say they are open for business and aren’t closing their doors anytime soon.

Femme de Paris owner Cindy Carias said she and a few other tenants have leases through December 2014 and plan to stay until then.

“The new owners have a long way to go to get permits to bulldoze this place down,” Carias said. “I want people to know we’re still here.”

The shopping center northwest of Scottsdale Road and McDonald Drive has been in flux since AV Homes Inc. bought the 90,000-square-foot property in September for $12.8 million.

The Scottsdale builder submitted preliminary plans to Scottsdale this week to build 250 condos in buildings of up to four stories, said Ken Plonski, AV Homes vice president of communications.

Read more: Developer’s plans may clash with Borgata shopkeepers’

New Chandler high-end townhouses called key for downtown growth

After wrapping the residential phase of a roughly $50 million project designed to bring vibrancy and customers downtown, developers and Chandler are moving on to the plan’s commercial elements.

Desert Viking Properties broke ground on Villas & Shops at San Marcos Commons before the recession hit, ultimately riding out the economic downturn to build 79 high-end townhouses at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard. All but seven have been sold.

Chandler believes the complex, along with a nearby townhouse community built by Tempe-based Benton-Robb Development Associates, marks a significant step in the city’s effort to create a consistently active downtown. The city's South Arizona Avenue Entry Corridor Study calls for 1,800 residential units between Boston Street and Pecos Road.

Read more: New Chandler high-end townhouses called key for downtown growth

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Realty Times - 2012 Homebuyer Survey Contains Valuable Information

One of the most useful research projects of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is the annual survey of homebuyers and sellers. The most recent version (Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers 2012) became available in November of this year. The information is based on answers to a 120-question survey mailed to a random sample of 93,502 consumers who purchased a home between July 2011 and June 2012. (Names and addresses were provided by Experian, a company that maintains an extensive database of recent homebuyers that is derived from county records.) After accounting for undeliverable surveys, there was a 9.1 percent response rate.

Read more: Realty Times - 2012 Homebuyer Survey Contains Valuable Information

Monday, November 19, 2012

BiPS rise up | HousingWire

On Aug. 31, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, steward of the largest mortgage financiers in the U.S., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said it would raise the guarantee fees each entity charges lenders by 10 basis points to securitize loans and insure the timely interest and principal payments for investors. The plan to do so was announced earlier in the year in order to encourage private capital back into the market.  Read more:

GSE Announces Winter Bonus for Agents Who Sell HomeSteps Homes

Agents who sell HomeSteps homes, or Freddie Mac-owned residences, are eligible for winter bonuses.  Read more:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Chandler’s Price Corridor a mecca for new offices

There’s an adage in real estate that the three most important factors are location, location and location.

When it comes to new office space in the Valley, it seems Chandler’s Price Road Corridor is the hot location.

In August, San Diego-based developer Douglas Allred Company broke ground on a 68,867-square-foot, two-story office building, the fifth on the campus on the northeastern corner of Price and Willis roads. It is only the second speculative office building, built before a tenant has been secured, in the Valley this year.

The other is a 92,000-square-foot Allred building next door that is also part of Allred Park Place.

They are the first built in the Valley in four years.

Read more: Chandler’s Price Corridor a mecca for new offices

Scottsdale and Phoenix Luxury Condo Sales – 2012 Performance - AZ Voices Real Estate

Here is an overview of luxury condo sales in Scottsdale and Phoenix through the third quarter of 2012. I define luxury condos as those units with asking prices above $1 million.

Read more: Scottsdale and Phoenix Luxury Condo Sales – 2012 Performance - AZ Voices Real Estate

Are we better off now? Depends

It was one of Ronald Reagan's defining moments in the 1980 presidential-election campaign, when he looked into the camera during a debate with then-President Jimmy Carter and prodded voters to ask themselves, "Are you better off now than you were four years ago?"

Ever since then, the question has surfaced regularly during presidential campaigns, with the answers representing one succinct way to measure each incumbent's track record in office.

The question remains relevant as Americans again flock to polling booths. But it's not a perfect catchall. A number of economists noted that in the fall of 2008, the economy was just beginning to plunge because of a worldwide financial crisis. Four years later, it's slowly recovering.

Read more: Are we better off now? Depends

Peoria City Council approves spring training clubhouse work

The Peoria City Council this week approved a $26.4 million construction contract for upgrades to the city’s spring-training complex and outlined more specifics on other improvements in the 83rd Avenue area.

Mortenson Construction will handle the improvements and expansion of clubhouses for the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres. Work should begin shortly after spring training ends in March and be completed by the start of the season in 2014.

The new clubhouses come as part of the city’s recent 20-year agreement to keep the teams training in Peoria. The Peoria Sports Complex, near 83rd Avenue and Paradise Lane, was the first spring-training stadium nationwide to host dual teams, which has become standard in the Cactus League.

The council also approved basic details of its partnership with a private developer to create a high-endretail and entertainment district near the facility.

Read more: Peoria City Council approves spring training clubhouse work

Low-income lofts open in downtown

A new property designed to accommodate low-income adults who are either disabled or older than 54 opened in downtown Phoenix’s Roosevelt neighborhood Wednesday.

The Lofts at McKinley, on the northeastern corner of Fifth Avenue and McKinley Street, requires that its residents’ income is between $18,680 and $28,020 per year.

Phoenix officials say the developers built the 60-unit complex on the site of a vacant two-story office building that had become obsolete.

Read more: Low-income lofts open in downtown

Answers to market questions

Metro Phoenix housing analyst Mike Orr participated in a live chat on this week about the state of the residential market.

Orr, publisher of the Cromford Report and director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, shared his views on prices, sales, appraisers and mortgages.

Here are some excerpts from his online conversation with readers:

Read more: Answers to market questions

New floor plans, lower prices help revive stalled community

Standard Pacific Homes has revived a stalled community north of Reata Pass and is selling single-level homes ranging in price from $525,000 to $610,000.

Quisana at Troon North includes 21 lots east of 110th Place and Alma School Parkway. Three floor plans are available of 2,521 to 3,292 square feet.

Read more: New floor plans, lower prices help revive stalled community

Thursday, November 8, 2012

LifeLock posts first earnings as public company

Tempe-based identity-theft monitoring firm LifeLock Inc. on Wednesday reported its first quarterly financial results as a public company following the firm's initial public offering in October.

LifeLock reported quarterly revenue of $72.1 million for the third quarter, a 44 percent increase from revenue of $50 million for the third quarter of 2011.

The company's net income for the quarter was $7.9 million, compared with a net loss of $500,000 for the third quarter of 2011, the company reported.

Read more: LifeLock posts first earnings as public company

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Paradise Valley may realign 56th Street for resort revamp

Paradise Valley officials say realigning 56th Street may allow for Crown Realty & Development to revitalize the Mountain Shadows Golf Resort in a way that will calm height and density concerns voiced by neighbors and elected leaders.  Read more:

Wright house fix-up cost may top $300,000

Now that a buyer has come forward with intentions to preserve a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in east Phoenix, it appears the landmark has escaped demolition and will be saved. 

Read more:

Friday, November 2, 2012

Special Series: Industry Weighs in on the Shadow Inventory Debate

After raising the question of how the election might impact the housing market's shadow inventory, it was obvious to see we had touched on a key issue near and dear to many voters' hearts, minds, and wallets. Responses to the initial installment of our special election series poured in, and while we can only share some of the reactions here, we'd like to thank all of you who took the time to put your perspectives into words and join in the conversation.  Read more:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Forget BofA. Check out the online bank BofI

Bank of Internet's CEO Gregory Garrabrants told an audience at an investing conference in San Diego last week that his bank, with roughly $2.4 billion in assets, can compete with its larger rivals because it's not weighed down.....Read more:

CFPB Takes on Debt Collectors With New Oversight

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said it would begin regulating debt collection companies starting at the beginning of 2013. "We now find that debt collection is a central issue of our times," director Richard Cordray said.  Read more:

Banks to waive fees for customers in storm-hit areas | Fox News

Banks have temporarily waived a variety of fees and late charges for residents of states hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. It's an effort to ease pressure on customers to make bill payments when many remain without power.  Read more:

Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home sold

An anonymous buyer has purchased a Phoenix home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright with the aim of preserving an architectural gem that, until last week, was threatened with demolition.  Read more:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Home prices continue steady rise | Inman News

The 10- and 20-city S&P/Case-Shiller home price indices posted monthly increases for the fifth month in a row in August, according to a report released today.

Seventeen of the 20 metros tracked by the index posted annual gains in August, with home prices up by an average of 2.0 percent from a year ago.

All but one of the markets tracked in the 20-city composite index posted gains from July to August. The 20-city composite was up 0.9 percent from July on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

Read more: Home prices continue steady rise | Inman News

Monday, October 29, 2012

Experts see home prices increasing

Metro Phoenix home prices are expected to continue climbing during the next few years.

Housing analysts agree that demand for homes in the region is strong, and many don't appear to be concerned about prices rising too fast and shutting the door on regular homebuyers or investors.

Several experts are looking for metro Phoenix home prices to climb more than 10 percent annually during the next three years.

Read more: Experts see home prices increasing

Housing improving, but news has been oversold | Inman News

Markets seem at last to have noticed the possible range of consequences from the election 10 days hence, and the result is a wide-eyed, jaw-dropped, don't-do-anything.

Absent constant paddling, stocks tend to sink, and that's what they've done between frozen days.

Read more: Housing improving, but news has been oversold | Inman News

Valley Home Values: Median home prices by city

The following is a sampling of median home prices for Maricopa County municipalities with at least 50 sales of single-family detached houses during the past two years. (Some municipalities overlap into Pinal County.) See how your community's median home price for 2012 compared to last year's price and which municipality had the biggest overall increase:

Read more: Valley Home Values: Median home prices by city

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Phoenix-area homeowners see market on the rebound

For the past five years, tens of thousands of homeowners have been frozen in place, unable to sell their homes for a profit.  Read more:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Behind the data: Housing

Many metro Phoenix homeowners will be happy to see the latest Valley Home Values special report in Sunday’s Arizona Republic. It’s more solid proof the area’s housing market is recovering. The information also might spur more buyers to purchase a house before prices climb higher.

The twice-a-year report, which I helped launch in 1997, has evolved with the sophistication of Phoenix’s housing market. This region has some of the best real-estate data in the country. Home sales and foreclosures are all public record, so it’s possible to find out quickly what’s happening.

Arizona’s housing market is one of its biggest, most important economic drivers. Providing the best coverage for our readers requires the best data.

Many real-estate-data research groups, locally and nationally, offer insight and numbers into metro Phoenix’s housing market. The Information Market, which was recently purchased by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, has been the data source for Valley Home Values since the report’s inception.

Several other entities, including Arizona State University, the Phoenix Housing Market Letter, the Cromford Report,, Belfiore Consulting, ARMLS and the National Association of Realtors, are also great sources for our reporting.

In addition, many individuals in the Valley’s real-estate industry track their own numbers.

We rely less on S&P Case Shiller’s national home price because it lags a few months. But the index serves as an important national indicator and reliable home-sales information for states that don’t require real-estate transactions to be made public.

In Arizona, foreclosures are a tricky real-estate transaction to track. They involve both notices of trustee sales and trustee sales. Both can be canceled and refiled, often making it difficult to get accurate overall counts.

In preparing this special report, I enjoyed researching and writing about the upbeat trends for the market and for homesellers, especially after the tough times the market has seen since 2007.

Read more: Behind the data: Housing

Owners scrap plan to raze Wright house

The owners of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in east Phoenix that has been the focus of a controversial city-preservation effort have allowed a city-issued demolition permit to expire and will instead focus on finding a buyer.

However, the threat of a lawsuit against the city by the owners of the David and Gladys Wright House remains as the city presses forward with an effort to designate the structure a historic property to stave off redevelopment on the site.

The Phoenix City Council will vote on the historic designation Nov. 7. Both the Phoenix Historic Preservation Commission and the city Planning Commission have recommended approval.

Read more: Owners scrap plan to raze Wright house

Paper Mate Clear Point Mechanical Pencil Starter Set, 0.7mm 2/pk, (Google Affiliate Ad)

US suit alleges mortgage fraud

NEW YORK - The latest federal lawsuit over alleged mortgage fraud paints an unflattering picture of a doomed lender: Executives at Countrywide Financial urged workers to churn out loans, accepted fudged applications and tried to hide ballooning defaults.

The suit, filed Wednesday by the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, also underscored how Bank of America's purchase of Countrywide in July 2008, just before the financial crisis, backfired severely.

The prosecutor, Preet Bharara, said he was seeking more than $1 billion, but the suit could ultimately recover much more in damages.

Read more: US suit alleges mortgage fraud

CityNorth developer suing law firm

A prominent Phoenix law firm is the target of a lawsuit claiming its actions put the developer of CityNorth out of business.

The developer, a subsidiary of the Klutznick Co. called Northeast Phoenix Partners, also controlled development rights throughout the 5,700-acre Desert Ridge development in northeast Phoenix.

But Northeast Phoenix Partners, or NPP, lost both CityNorth and Desert Ridge in a lawsuit with another developer, Gray Development Group, resolved earlier this year.

The new lawsuit, filed last week, claims Gammage & Burnham was NPP’s attorney when it advised Gray on how to proceed with an effort to increase residential density on a Desert Ridge parcel north of Desert Ridge Marketplace. The suit says Gammage gave NPP conflicting advice, urging them to oppose Gray’s effort.

Read more: CityNorth developer suing law firm

Friday, October 26, 2012

Shrinking Supply of Distressed Homes Makes Room for Homebuilding

A steady drop in distressed home sales may spell a better future for builders, Capital Economics analyst and property economist Paul Diggle says. Read more:

Once-Invisible Inventory Can Be Seen on Zillow

Instead of finding clever ways to chase shadow inventory, Zillow has decided to make things easy for thrill-seeking homebuyers and investors who are trying to track down unlisted, invisible inventory. Read more:

Mortgage Rates Jump Back To Recent Highs

Mortgage rates are sharply higher today, as global markets abandoned bond market holdings at the quickest pace of the week. When investors favor selling bonds vs buying, prices fall and yields--or interest rates--move higher. Even before the domestic trading session was underway, bond yields were much higher after Asian and European trading. This led to the secondary mortgage market starting the day off at the worst levels in over month. Read more:

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Home Builders Need Mortgage Bankers to Keep Recovery Alive

A jump in signed contracts to buy newly built homes in September brought volumes to the highest level since April of 2010, when the home buyer tax credit temporarily infused the housing market. Read more:

Monday, October 22, 2012

Phoenix metro becomes virtual investor's housing market

Buying sprees by billion-dollar hedge funds and real-estate investment firms have investors owning nearly 20 percent, or one out of every five, of the region's single-family houses and condominiums, according to an Arizona Republic analysis of recent sales data.

That's double the number of rentals considered normal in metro Phoenix in 2000, according to housing-market analysts.

Although it is too soon to gauge the impact of such a large increase in rental properties, the jump in investor-owned properties has the potential to change the character of neighborhoods, influence the options available to other homebuyers and ultimately alter the trajectory of the region's housing recovery.

Read more: Phoenix metro becomes virtual investor's housing market

Your Money: Cleaning up your credit report

I heard from a mother the other day who wanted to know if there was any way her daughter could get rid of some bad blemishes on her credit report.

Could you ask creditors if they'd remove such items, she wondered?

Read more: Your Money: Cleaning up your credit report

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Details on Fannie Mae's bulk REO sale in Phoenix remain elusive

Who bought Fannie Mae’s bulk portfolio of foreclosure homes in metro Phoenix has been a controversial secret since summer.
In late July, almost 300 foreclosure houses across metro Phoenix were purchased in a very quiet $34million cash deal. The buyer was a limited partnership called SFR 2012-1 US West based in Pasadena, Calif. Further investigation found the partnership was created by the seller, Fannie Mae. No public information was provided by Fannie Mae about the mystery deal.

Read more: Details on Fannie Mae's bulk REO sale in Phoenix remain elusive

Wrights' heirs are heartsick over home

In lower Arcadia, within walking distance of her grandparents' historic home, Anne Wright-Levi is trying to take life one day at a time and hope for the best.
In June, she found out that the David and Gladys Wright House -- a home her great-grandfather Frank Lloyd Wright built for his son -- was in jeopardy.
In the wrangling that has ensued, Wright-Levi has become a sympathetic figure to some as well as a lightning rod, blamed for not having the home designated a historic landmark when she and her two sisters inherited the property in 2008.
Read more: Wrights' heirs are heartsick over home

Hub On Campus, Tempe’s Newest Student Living High-Rise, Tops Off This Week -

Tempe, AZ, September 13, 2012 --( Hub On Campus, Tempe, Arizona’s newest high-rise apartment complex opening August 2013, tops off construction at 19-stories this week.
Hub On Campus will be home to over 630 residents in its 17-stories of residential space. There will be 25,000 square feet of retail space as well as 6,550 square feet of restaurant space on its first and second floors to total 19-stories in all.
“Construction is progressing smoothly and on schedule,” says Hub On Campus project manager Eric Grimm. “We are looking forward to the August 2013 opening.”
Read more: Hub On Campus, Tempe’s Newest Student Living High-Rise, Tops Off This Week -

Profits soar at 2 largest mortgage lenders - Yahoo! Finance

NEW YORK (AP) — Is the mortgage market really back?

The country's two biggest mortgage lenders, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, reported Friday that a surge in home lending pushed them to record profits.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon declared that the housing market "has turned the corner." Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf said that "every quarter, we have more confidence."

Wells said it issued $139 billion in mortgages from July through September, compared with $89 billion in the same period last year. JPMorgan wrote $47 billion in mortgages, compared with $37 billion last year.

Read more: Profits soar at 2 largest mortgage lenders - Yahoo! Finance

Apartment developer looks to close on Rural/Metro property

Rural/Metro Corp. will relocate the last remaining portions of its Scottsdale billing and call center to make way for a 261-unit apartment complex, at the northeastern corner of Indian School and Granite Reef roads.

Wood Partners, a developer of multifamily residences, is in escrow to purchase the 5.65-acre parcel from Rural/Metro, said John Berry, a zoning attorney working for the developer. The property originally was occupied by a grocery store and later was renovated to house Rural/Metro's operations in 1996.

Read more: Apartment developer looks to close on Rural/Metro property

Home prices up in northeast Valley

Home prices in August showed continued gains in the Northeast Valley over last year with a slight increase in Scottsdale and a 61 percent spike in Paradise Valley.

Scottsdale's median home price of $366,000 was up 1.67 percent from last August, according to the monthly report from the Arizona State University Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice.

Read more: Home prices up in northeast Valley

Resort redo outlook is still cloudy

The Paradise Valley Town Council this month will move forward with reviewing plans submitted by the owners of Mountain Shadows to redevelop the long-shuttered property.

But the future of the resort, which closed in 2004, remains cloudy.

On Sept. 24, the Planning Commission recommended the special-use permit to the council, with more than 100 stipulations attached.

Read more: Resort redo outlook is still cloudy

370-unit apartments proposed at major Arcadia intersection

Developers are hoping to add a luxury apartment complex with as many as 370 units to the southwestern corner of Camelback Road and 44th Street.
Kevin Ransil, Arizona regional partner for JLB Partners, says the Residences at Camelback will complement the Arcadia area offering a needed high-quality housing alternative that is close to amenities at a "dynamic and vibrant" intersection.
Read more: 370-unit apartments proposed at major Arcadia intersection

City debt refinancing will lower some property-tax bills

Residents in three Scottsdale communities will see a significant drop on their property-tax bills after the city successfully refinanced more than $28 million of debt.

Homeowners in the DC Ranch, McDowell Mountain Ranch and Via Linda Road communities-facilities districts will save an estimated $97 to $159 a year.

Read more: City debt refinancing will lower some property-tax bills

Existing home sales slowed in September - Oct. 19, 2012

The pace of previously owned home sales slowed slightly in September, even as the long-battered housing market showed signs of a broader recovery. Read more:

Thursday, October 18, 2012

FNT- Title Talk: Get Excited!! Crystal Ball 2013 Real Estate Rebound

Unsure where our market is headed for 2013? Have questions related to lending? Interested in non-traditional markets? Arizona's elite title partners, Fidelity National Title Agency and Lawyers Title, present the Crystal Ball 2013 Real Estate Rebound. Read more:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Housing lifts growth in most U.S. regions

WASHINGTON - Stronger housing markets helped boost economic growth at the end of the summer in nearly every region of the United States, according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.  Read more:

US foreclosure filings hit 5-year low in September

U.S. foreclosure filings dropped to a five-year low in September as fewer homes were on track to be seized by lenders.  Read more:

Financial crisis haunts banks

NEW YORK - The hot trend in banking now: Betting which one will be next to get sued.  Read more:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Metro Phoenix bankruptcies continue dip

Metro Phoenix bankruptcies continued their prolonged downtrend in September, with filings hitting a seven-month low. Read more:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fed open to linking rate hike to economic gauge - Businessweek

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve wants to find a clearer way to signal to the public when it might start raising interest rates.

The Fed has told investors that it plans to keep short-term rates low for at least another three years. But it appears to be leaning toward setting a more specific target, according to minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting.

Read more: Fed open to linking rate hike to economic gauge - Businessweek

Mountain Shadows makeover plan still faces uncertainties

The Paradise Valley Town Council this month will move forward with reviewing plans submitted by the owners of Mountain Shadows to redevelop the long-shuttered property.
But the future of the resort, which closed in 2004, remains cloudy.
Last week, the Planning Commission recommended the special-use permit to the council, with more than 100 stipulations attached.
Read more: Mountain Shadows makeover plan still faces uncertainties

Annexation near Loop 303 on radar for Glendale

Glendale and landowners' vision for annexing land near Loop 303, which was a hot topic in the boom but fell off the radar in the recession, is bubbling up again.

A plan should soon go before the City Council for review.

A group of landowners and city staff are working on a proposal to bring water and sewer infrastructure to the area, which the city strip-annexed decades ago, without financially burdening current residents.

Read more: Annexation near Loop 303 on radar for Glendale

Zillow CEO Talks QE3, Housing TRLA, Z - TheStreet TV

Zillow CEO Talks QE3, Housing TRLA, Z - TheStreet TV

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Construction jobs in Ariz. on upswing

Construction jobs are on the rise again in metro Phoenix, thanks to the start of a recovery in homebuilding.New data show 6,300 new jobs in the building industry have been created during the past year, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. Read more:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Survey Shows Americans Prefer Homeownership

Fannie Mae's latest National Housing Survey shows that more people than previously thought would prefer to own their own home than rent despite the changing landscape of the U.S. housing market. U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that 65% of Americans own their own homes, which hasn't changed much over the past year, and Fannie May's survey suggests that a majority of people who don't own their own homes are still interested in pursuing the American Dream. Read more:

Historic Wright home owners shock at meeting with lawsuit threat

Owners of an iconic east Phoenix house designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright are threatening to sue the city, claiming its effort to designate the property as historic is illegal. Read more:

Income inequality: Why it matters

The issue:  The income gap between the rich and everyone else is large and getting larger, while middle-class incomes stagnate. That's raised concerns that the nation's middle class isn't sharing in economic growth as it has in the past. And it sparked the Wall Street protests that spread to other cities in the country. Read more:

Metro Phoenix home prices inch up in August

Home prices and sales both were up slightly across metro Phoenix in August. The median price of an existing home inched up to $150,000 in August from $149,000 in July, according to the latest report from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which was released Wednesday. Read more:

Measure of US home prices rises by most in 6 years

WASHINGTON - -- A measure of U.S. home prices jumped 4.6 percent in August compared to a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase in more than six years. Read more:

CMBS Delinquency Rate Slips Below 10%: Trepp

Commercial delinquencies have posted substantial declines over the past two months, falling 21 decreased another 14 basis points in September, bringing the delinquency rate below 10 percent, just barely. Read more:

Foreclosures Decline but Remain High, Prepayments Surge: LPS

Foreclosure inventory continues to decline but remains more than eight times what it was in the decade prior to the housing crisis, according to the latest report from Lender Processing Services (LPS). Read more:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Auto Sales, Home Prices Help Buoy Weak US Economy - ABC News

The U.S. economy is looking more resilient, thanks in part to encouraging signs for the two most expensive purchases most Americans make: cars and homes. Read more:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Last days of the Borgata

The Borgata of Scottsdale, an upscale shopping landmark on the border of Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, has been sold to a local homebuilder with plans to redevelop the site into a luxury condominium community.  Read more:

LifeLock reveals finances pre-IPO

LifeLock Inc., a Tempe firm that helps consumers combat identity theft, has aired some of its own financial laundry in anticipation of a planned stock sale.  Read more:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Home prices rose in July in 20 major US cities

WASHINGTON - -- Home prices kept rising in July across the United States, buoyed by greater sales and fewer foreclosures.

The Standard & Poor's/Case Shiller index reports that national home prices increased 1.2 percent in July compared with the same month last year. That's the second straight year-over-year gain after two years without one.

Read more:

Radar Logic: Home Prices Hit Peak in July, Distressed Sales Plunge

Home prices have hit their peak for the year, and the price increases seen earlier this year are slowing down, according to the latest data from Radar Logic.

34,000 in Ariz. get mortgage aid

The latest data on the federal housing aid program known as Making Home Affordable shows nearly 34,000 Arizona borrowers have received permanent loan modifications to help them avoid foreclosure through the Home Affordable Modification Program.
Read more:

Phoenix-based Vestar buys Calif. retail center for $84.8M

Phoenix-based retail property developer and management firm Vestar has acquired a nearly half-million-square-foot retail center in Riverside, Calif., for $84.8 million, the company said Wednesday.

The acquisition of Riverside Plaza, a 475,211-square-foot retail center on 35 acres, was a joint venture with a fund advised by Swiss mutual-fund manager UBS Global Asset Management, the company said.

Read more: Phoenix-based Vestar buys Calif. retail center for $84.8M

Phoenix-area rental homes a red-hot commodity

Crowds of people swarming open houses. Multiple bids on properties from desperate home seekers. Palpable fear over losing the "right" place to a ravenous market.
Read more:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Home-related sales through the roof

As the housing market climbs out of the cellar, home improvement sales are through the roof.

Online purchases of home-related goods took priority over back-to-school-spending for families this summer, according to a study released Tuesday from IBM Smarter Commerce.

It's a trend that's also driving sales in brick-and-mortar home improvement stores from mom-and-pop hardware shops to Home Depot, which hammered out its highest quarterly earnings report last month in five years at $1.5 billion. The home improvement market was big enough in Uniontown, Ohio, for Wayne and Howard Miller to open what they call the largest independently owned hardware store, Hartville Hardware, in July, with a seven-acre retail space.

Read more:

New US home sales edged down 0.3% in August

WASHINGTON - -- Sales of new homes in the United States dipped slightly in August from July but the median price of homes sold during the month rose by a record amount.

New-home sales edged down to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 373,000 in August, a dip of 0.3 percent from July's revised rate of 374,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That had been the fastest pace since April 2010 when government tax credits were boosting sales.

Read more:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Attorney General sets 3-year foreclosure plan for lender-case funds

The Arizona Attorney General's Office will spend most of the state's undesignated funds from the national $25 billion lender settlement on efforts to prevent foreclosures. However, it could be months before any money will be available to distressed homeowners.

On Monday, Attorney General Tom Horne released details of a three-year program to spend $57 million. Of that amount, $47 million comes from the $98 million Bank of America, Citibank, Chase, Wells Fargo and Ally Financial agreed to pay Arizona when the settlement was finalized in February.

About $10 million of the total comes from a separate settlement of an Arizona lawsuit with BofA over allegations of mortgage fraud.

Read more: Attorney General sets 3-year foreclosure plan for lender-case funds

Top 10 things to know about Social Security

Do you know your Social Security benefits basics?
Read more: Top 10 things to know about Social Security

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