Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Labor complaint filed against Fulton Homes


In a rare move, the agency that oversees and licenses contractors filed a complaint against Tempe-based Fulton Homes related to unlicensed labor on its property.

The complaint, filed Oct. 25, potentially signals a shift in state regulators’ efforts to enforce unlicensed labor laws by targeting a prominent company at the top of the construction food chain.

Read more...Labor complaint filed against Fulton Homes

Phoenix holds sway over future growth in Surprise


The old-timers still call it “the Bullet.”

The name refers to the shape of a developed portion of a 640-acre parcel of Surprise desert, the rest of which is empty except for occasional grazing cattle.

The land was once owned by Luke Air Force Base, and long-neglected landing strips are still visible from the air.

Read more...Phoenix holds sway over future growth in Surprise

Owners clear hurdles to revitalizing Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley


The owners of the shuttered Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley have hit two milestones that could lead to a revitalized property.

MTS Land LLC and MTS Golf LLC have entered into a settlement with their lender, U.S. Bank National Association, in Bankruptcy Court.

Rick Carpinelli, senior vice president of development for Crown Realty and Development, said the agreement contemplates that the debtor will receive the benefit of a discounted payoff if the loan is paid off within a specific time frame.

Read more...Owners clear hurdles to revitalizing Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley

Blue Sky construction lags apartment projects in Scottsdale


Apartment living is about to jump in Scottsdale as a growing number of new complexes near completion, while others begin construction.

The first units of various new complexes are available for leasing in the southern, central and northern parts of the city.

One high-profile apartment project, Gray Development Group’s Blue Sky, however, has yet to come out of the ground since it was approved by the City Council in April 2011. The site is on the eastern side of Scottsdale Road, just north of Camelback Road and across from Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Read more...Blue Sky construction lags apartment projects in Scottsdale

California company acquires Scottsdale-based Maracay Homes in $2.7 billion deal


The parent of Scottsdale-based Maracay Homes is being acquired by TRI Pointe Homes in a $2.7 billion deal.

Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser is selling five of its homebuilding brands — Maracay, Pardee Homes, Trendmaker, Winchester Homes and Quadrant Homes — to Irvine, Calif.-based TRI Pointe.

Read more...California company acquires Scottsdale-based Maracay Homes in $2.7 billion deal

More Phoenix-area homes sport million-dollar price tags as housing prices recover


Like the economy, the supply of million-dollar homes in metro Phoenix is bouncing back.

There are 7,400 such houses in the Valley, according to the latest data from the Maricopa County assessor. Most are in Paradise Valley and north Scottsdale, but mini-mansions and sprawling estates also are popping up again in Peoria and Glendale. In the southeast Valley, almost 200 houses are worth $1 million or more.

Condominiums worth seven figures are located in Scottsdale, Tempe and central Phoenix.

Read more...More Phoenix-area homes sport million-dollar price tags as housing prices recover

Gilbert council OKs developing St. Xavier University


The Gilbert Town Council on Nov. 7 approved a development agreement that officially will bring Chicago-based St. Xavier University to the downtown Heritage District with a four-story building directly west of the Heritage Marketplace site.

Gilbert will pay to design and construct the university building on town-owned land near Gilbert Road and Vaughn Avenue, next to the site of a public parking garage where construction will begin next month.

St. Xavier will make lease payments to Gilbert that cover the cost of the building as well as fair market value for the land, Town Manager Patrick Banger said. The building cost has not yet been determined.

Read more...Gilbert council OKs developing St. Xavier University

New Scottsdale condo-commercial complex slated for downtown parcel


A mixed-use complex with high-end condominiums and retail-office space is slated to be built on vacant land near downtown Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho.

A rezoning request for El Dorado on First was submitted to the city last week by North American Development Group. It would be built on the southeastern corner of First Street and El Dorado Lane, west of Goldwater Boulevard.

The current zoning allows multifamily residential and light office, and the rezoning would expand that to include retail, said Dan Symer, senior city planner.

The three-story building will include seven condominium units and 4,500 square feet of street-front commercial space. The design team includes North American Development and Will Bruder Architects.

Read more...New Scottsdale condo-commercial complex slated for downtown parcel

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Feds rip Arizona for mortgage relief failures


A new audit by the federal bailout watchdog confirmed Arizona has one of the worst records in handing out federal housing aid to struggling homeowners.

The quarterly audit of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, released late Monday found that Arizona distributed the second-lowest percentage of federal Hardest Hit mortgage aid directly to homeowners despite being one of the states hardest hit by the housing bust. The audit covered a period of roughly three years.

The Arizona Department of Housing disputed the audit’s findings, calling them “flawed and misleading.”

Read more...Feds rip Arizona for mortgage relief failures

Construction set for next Scottsdale Quarter phase


The Scottsdale Quarter plans to start construction next month on a third phase that will include more retail space and 275 apartments.

A six-story building is planned at 73rd Street and Greenway-Hayden Loop, just east of Scottsdale Road.

The project, including 22,400 square feet of retail, is targeted for completion in 2015. It will include four levels of parking, two of them underground.

There has been rumblings for at least two years that Bloomingdale’s is planning a store at Scottsdale Quarter, but it is just speculation at this point.

Read more...Construction set for next Scottsdale Quarter phase

Developer Ellman regroups after lost decade


Developer Steve Ellman took a financial thrashing in the past decade.

He lost ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006 and turned over management of Jobing.com Arena in Glendale. A lender took over Westgate City Center in a 2011 foreclosure.

Ellman, 61, said he lost more than $1.5 billion worth of real estate in the aftermath of the recession and was forced to lay off about half of the 200 Ellman Cos. employees.

Others might have wilted under those losses. Ellman managed to hold on to some valuable real-estate holdings. And he turned his focus to a new-media venture, with supersize digital billboards in New York’s Times Square, Hollywood and Las Vegas.

Read more...Developer Ellman regroups after lost decade

Paddock Pools corporate offices in Scottsdale to be replaced by condo complex


The south Scottsdale corporate offices and sales facility of Paddock Pools, Patios & Spas will be moving to make way for a new 20-building condominium complex.

The Scottsdale-based Meritage Homes has submitted to the city a rezoning request, and a Development Review Board proposal. It includes a site plan, landscape plan and building elevations for Paddock Village, to be located at 6525 E. Thomas Road, on Thomas one block east of 64th Street.

Read more...Paddock Pools corporate offices in Scottsdale to be replaced by condo complex

Mesa land auctioned off for $30.2 million, new homes planned - Phoenix Business Journal


The Arizona State Land Department auctioned off a large block of state land in east Mesa this morning to the highest bid of $30.2 million, only $200,000 more than the minimum bid allowed.

The auction itself was swift and rather anticlimactic as only two of the roughly 45 people in attendance actually participated in the bidding, which took place at the Land Department’s office in Phoenix.

Read more...Mesa land auctioned off for $30.2 million, new homes planned - Phoenix Business Journal

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Paradise Valley HOA reaches agreement with Mountain Shadows owners


The shuttered Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley has moved slightly closer to redevelopment.

The adjacent Mountain Shadows East homeowners association has come to a private agreement with the owners of the resort property, MTS Land LLC and MTS Golf LLC.

Tom Irvine, a lawyer representing the HOA, said issues not addressed in the agreements with the town from the HOA’s perspective have been resolved.

Read more...Paradise Valley HOA reaches agreement with Mountain Shadows owners

IRS Releases the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2013



Since there are just a few days left in the year 2013 and many of you are thinking of your tax planning before the end of the year, this is worth another read...

IR-2013-33, March 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud.

The Dirty Dozen listing, compiled by the IRS each year, lists a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns.

"This tax season, the IRS has stepped up its efforts to protect taxpayers from a wide range of schemes, including moving aggressively to combat identity theft and refund fraud," said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. "The Dirty Dozen list shows that scams come in many forms during filing season. Don't let a scam artist steal from you or talk you into doing something you will regret later."

Read more...IRS Releases the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2013

Greenspan mulls roots of crisis he didn't foresee


WASHINGTON (AP) — For 18½ years as Federal Reserve chairman, he was celebrated for helping drive a robust U.S. economy. Yet in the years after he stepped down in 2006, he was engulfed by accusations that he helped cause the 2008 financial crisis — the worst since the 1930's.

Now, Alan Greenspan has struck back at any notion that he — or anyone — could have known how or when to defuse the threats that triggered the crisis. He argues in a new book, "The Map and the Territory," that traditional economic forecasting is no match for the irrational risk-taking that can inflate catastrophic price bubbles in assets like homes or tech stocks.

In an interview Sunday with The Associated Press, Greenspan reflected on his book, his Fed tenure and the risks that still endanger the financial system. Relaxed and looking fit at 87, he spoke for an hour in the sunroom of his house overlooking a wooded hillside of Northwest Washington. It's a home he shares with his wife, Andrea Mitchell, the NBC News anchor and chief foreign affairs correspondent.

Read more...Greenspan mulls roots of crisis he didn't foresee

In more homes, the roof overhead is rented


In the aftermath of a historic housing bust, rented single-family homes are on the rise in communities from coast to coast.

At least a fifth of all occupied single-family homes were rentals last year in 32 of the nation's top metropolitan regions, according to a USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. That's up from seven metros in 2006.

Read more...In more homes, the roof overhead is rented

Blackstone Funding Largest U.S. Single-Family Rentals - Bloomberg


Steve Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group LP (BX) has spent $7.5 billion acquiring 40,000 houses in the past two years to create the largest single-family rental business in the U.S. The private-equity firm is now planning to sell bonds backed by lease payments, the latest step in turning a small business into a mature industry.

Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) may start marketing almost $500 million of the securities as soon as this week, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction. The debt will include a portion with the highest investment grade from at least one ratings company, according to another person. Both asked not to be identified because the deal isn’t public.

Read more...Blackstone Funding Largest U.S. Single-Family Rentals - Bloomberg

Fewer investors, more houses kill bidding wars


In April 2012, a Glendale house listed for $119,000 sparked a bidding war that drew 95 written offers. The house sold for $140,000.

Many who were able to buy metro Phoenix homes in 2012 and early 2013 are familiar with being outbid before purchasing. But recent homebuyers can attest that aggressive price wars aren’t the norm anymore.

A 30 percent increase in the number of homes for sale and fewer investors has made the housing market less competitive. Over the past two months, several people who had been trying to buy since late last year were able to close deals for Valley homes.

Read more...Fewer investors, more houses kill bidding wars

Foreclosures slow to a trickle


The number of foreclosures has dropped dramatically in metro Phoenix since peaking in 2011. But during the housing crash, they dominated the market. Lenders have taken back more than 250,000 homes since 2008.

As the economy has improved, the number of foreclosures returned to precrash levels. In September, there were fewer than 700, compared with about 4,000 a month throughout 2011. The peak month for foreclosures in the Phoenix area was March 2010, when there were more than 5,000.

Read more...Foreclosures slow to a trickle

Retiree enclave set for Verrado


Scottsdale-based DMB Associates launched its first retirement community, Victory, on Tuesday. The development will go up on 1,200 acres within Buckeye’s 8,800-acre Verrado.

The first phase of Victory’s 3,500 homes will be offered for sale in January 2015. Prices aren’t yet available.

“We’ve created a neighborhood in our thriving small-town community of Verrado, where people can explore the life they have waited to live for at least 55 years,” Charley Freericks, president of DMB, said from a bluff in the White Tank Mountains overlooking Verrado.

Read more...Retiree enclave set for Verrado

Sunday, October 27, 2013

U.S. economists' insights on markets win Nobel


Three American economists were awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday for theoretical work that demonstrated the importance — and the limitations — of the idea that markets for assets such as stocks and housing are too efficient for most investors and policymakers to outsmart.

Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen of the University of Chicago, along with Yale's Robert Shiller, received the award from the Stockholm-based Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Monday.

Read more...U.S. economists' insights on markets win Nobel

American Realty buys Phoenix-based Cole Real Estate Investments for $7B


The board of Phoenix-based Cole Real Estate Investments has worked out its differences with American Realty Capital Properties and agreed to be purchased for more than $7 billion.

Shareholders of both companies still need to approve the deal.

The combined company will become one of the nation’s biggest landlords, with 3,732 commercial properties totaling 100 million square feet of space. Combined, the two real estate investment trusts have 600 tenants that include Walgreen Co., CVS Caremark, Citizens Bank, Home Depot and FedEx.

Read more...American Realty buys Phoenix-based Cole Real Estate Investments for $7B

Metro Phoenix housing: Homebuyer revival transforms market


In a good sign of the times, real-estate agents are predicting a proliferation of for-sale signs on front lawns.

The metro Phoenix housing market is shifting away from investors for the first time since the market crash, leaving more properties available for traditional buyers. And the market appears neither overstressed nor overheated, heading instead toward a more natural balance.

Thousands of prospective sellers, once worried about losing money on their houses, have listed their properties after seeing prices skyrocket over the past two years.

Read more...Metro Phoenix housing: Homebuyer revival transforms market

Property tax bills indicate signs of easing


Most Maricopa County homeowners saw slight relief on their property taxes this year. But the overall decline wasn’t as steep as the drop in the value of their houses, continuing a pattern that has held true for six years, according to an Arizona Republic analysis.

The lower tax bills generally were the result of moderate cuts in school tax rates and special-district taxing rates, along with a final year of lower property values on which the taxes were based. But exceptions abound because of the county’s confusing array of taxing districts.

Read more...Property tax bills indicate signs of easing

Wickenburg annexation plan could double size of town


The quiet, cowboy town of Wickenburg could one day double its population if it annexes 2,186 acres slated for development.

The town of 6,500 has been working with property owner M3 Companies for about two years on an annexation plan that would add a master-planned community with up to 3,129 new housing units. The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors already has approved the development, which is on county land.

Read more...Wickenburg annexation plan could double size of town

Council considers strategies to perk up McDowell area


Scottsdale collected more tax revenue from McDowell Road businesses in 2012 compared to 2010.

But don’t expect revenue to bounce back to the glory days.

The City Council, in a study session Oct. 8, delved into strategies to reawaken the 3-mile McDowell corridor, which has struggled after the closing of Los Arcos Mall and the loss of long-standing car dealerships.

The tax revenue collected from McDowell Road businesses increased to $4.7 million in 2012, up from $3.7 million in 2010.

Read more...Council considers strategies to perk up McDowell area

Stock brokers coax a tough crowd: Millennials


Online brokerages are trying to convince a generation of young investors, scared off by their parents' harrowing experiences with stocks, that's it's safe for them to play.

Several leading online brokerages, including TD Ameritrade and Fidelity Investments, are testing new technologies and tools designed in part to appeal to members of the Millennial generation. Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are people born from 1981 on up until 2000.

Read more...Stock brokers coax a tough crowd: Millennials

Metro Phoenix bankruptcies dip at weakest pace in two years


Consumers have steadily improved their finances over the past couple of years, but two new reports this week indicate that the trend might be ending.

Valley bankruptcies decreased in September but at the weakest pace in more than two years, and the proportion of consumer loans that were delinquent nationally rose slightly in the second quarter.

“A leveling off in delinquency rates was inevitable after a four-year downward trend that saw consumers reduce debt and dramatically improve their personal balance sheets,” said James Chessen, chief economist for the American Bankers Association, which released the delinquency figures.

Read more...Metro Phoenix bankruptcies dip at weakest pace in two years

Saturday, October 26, 2013

5 Shea Homes projects approaching completion


Shea Homes is in the final stages of completing five West Valley communities, the builder said.

Five communities in Buckeye, Litchfield Park and Peoria have more than 30 homes and vacant lots available for purchase at “outstanding prices,” Shea homes said.

Shea is selling vacant lots and homes that are available for a quick move-in, company officials said.

Read more...5 Shea Homes projects approaching completion

GoDaddy founder buys Centerpoint on Mill


GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons is the new owner of Centerpoint on Mill mixed-use development.

Parson’s Mill Avenue Retail group paid Scottsdale-based DMB $38.5 million for the 22-acre project, considered an anchor for downtown Tempe.

Parsons has been on a real estate buying spree since making more than $900 million off the sale of Scottsdale-based GoDaddy in 2011. He also owns shopping centers in Scottsdale’s Grayhawk and McDowell Mountain Ranch communities and in Glendale’s Arrowhead development.

Read more...GoDaddy founder buys Centerpoint on Mill

Scottsdale Galleria sells for nearly $69 million


The Scottsdale Galleria, once an iconic shopping center, has sold for almost $69 million.

Los Angeles-based investors Stockdale Capital Partners and Oaktree Capital Management bought the 537,110-square-foot property now known as the Galleria Corporate Centre.

The Arizona Republic reported in June Stockdale’s Managing Partner Steven Yari was acquiring the Galleria.

Read more...Scottsdale Galleria sells for nearly $69 million

Irgens Acquires 31-Acre Site at Chandler Airport Center | AZRE Magazine


Irgens has acquired 31 acres of improved development-ready land located at the NWC of Cooper and Germann roads, just south of the San Tan 202 Loop freeway. The site, in the heart of the Chandler Airport Center named Ascend at Chandler Airport Center calls for nearly 400,000 SF of Class-A office and flex space when fully built-out. The ownership entity, Chandler Development Partners, LLC, (sponsored by Irgens) closed on the transaction on October 15 — its second in the Chandler market in 2013.

“With its premier location in one of the Valley’s most active business corridors, connectivity to the region, and progressive design concepts, Ascend at Chandler Airport Center is a lead competitor for the region’s next corporate headquarters and presents a high-profile opportunity for build-to-suit corporate users in the Southeast Valley.” said Jason Meszaros, Vice President and Arizona Market Manager for Irgens.

Read more...Irgens Acquires 31-Acre Site at Chandler Airport Center | AZRE Magazine

NFL threatens to move Super Bowl events from Glendale


National Football League executives are disturbed by Glendale’s perceived lack of support for the 2015 Super Bowl and warn that without a serious attitude adjustment, they’ll move all non-game events to other Valley cities.

In that scenario, Super Bowl XLIX would still be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, but that would be the only signature event associated with the game staged in the city.

League executives already have assigned the popular fan-oriented NFL Experience to Phoenix.

Read more...NFL threatens to move Super Bowl events from Glendale

Phoenix builder offers homebuyers way to earn down payment


A new residential neighborhood in south Phoenix is offering an unusual way to help first-time homebuyers purchase a home.

Tierra Vista, a Bellago Homes subdivision near Roeser Road and Montezuma Street, offers a sweat-equity program in which homeowners can paint the interior of their house in exchange for money toward their down payment.

Rebecca Hidalgo, Integrity All Star Realty designated broker, said this program is a Federal Housing Administration loan that allows homeowners to paint the inside and outside of the house and landscape.

Read more...Phoenix builder offers homebuyers way to earn down payment

Developers Jump on Colorado's Senior Housing Surge - Senior Housing News


Colorado is known for attracting people with active lifestyles and retirees are no exception, prompting developers to gear up for a growing senior population by adding thousands of units of 55+ and senior housing to the state’s existing inventory—far above national construction levels.

The second quarter of 2013 logged 8,840 units of various types of senior housing and care planned and under development in Colorado ranging from age-restricted, for-sale homes to skilled nursing, according to market research firm The Highland Group. Nationally, construction vs. inventory stood at 2.8% as of the second quarter of 2013, according to data from the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry.

Read more...Developers Jump on Colorado's Senior Housing Surge - Senior Housing News

SkySong’s ownership structure changes as 1 partner opts out


SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, has a new ownership structure after one partner wanted out of the project.

Holualoa Cos., a Tucson-based real-estate investment firm, has replaced USAA Real Estate Co., which sold its share in the partnership. The ownership structure now includes the ASU Foundation, Plaza Cos. and Holualoa.

Sharon Ballenger, USAA Real Estate spokeswoman, couldn’t be reached for comment. The firm’s website does list SkySong’s two office buildings, SkySong I and II, as sold. SkySong is on the southeastern corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads.

Read more...SkySong’s ownership structure changes as 1 partner opts out

Economic forecast rosy, analysts tell businesses


In Arizona, it’s starting to feel like 2005 in some ways, at least according to some economists.

The state’s economy, along with the nation and the world, appear to have settled some of the thorniest problems that have pulled down the economy in years past, a trio of economists told nearly 1,000 business leaders gathered Friday for the annual outlook breakfast held by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.

Read more...Economic forecast rosy, analysts tell businesses

Monday, October 14, 2013

Net-zero energy home prototypes emerging in Valley


One of Austin Trautman’s heroes is Joseph Eichler, a midcentury California developer who brought beautiful architecture to the masses.

Eichler, however, didn’t bear the burden of knowing how energy inefficient all those expansive glass walls, skylights and atriums could be.

Trautman, an environmentalist with a degree in kinesiology from Arizona State University, does.

Read more...Net-zero energy home prototypes emerging in Valley

Group expands BofA lawsuit


Bank of America Corp. keeps foreclosed houses in Tucson’s minority neighborhoods in poorer condition than foreclosures in predominantly White areas, a national advocacy group said Wednesday.

The Washington, D.C.-based National Fair Housing Alliance made that claim in expanding a complaint it filed last year with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Read more...Group expands BofA lawsuit

13 Phoenix historical homes on endangered list


A downtown duplex that was the site of an unsolved double murder in 1931. A crumbling, rare Queen Anne Victorian that predates Arizona statehood. An isolated farmstead on the edge of Phoenix.

What do these properties have in common? They all appear on the 2013 “enDangered Dozen Historic Places List,” released by the Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition. Prone to vandalism, the elements or the wrecking ball — sometimes all three — these neglected homes are at the highest risk of disappearing in the near future, the group’s president, Will Novak, said.

Read more...13 Phoenix historical homes on endangered list

SkySong’s ownership structure changes as 1 partner opts out


SkySong, the Arizona State University Scottsdale Innovation Center, has a new ownership structure after one partner wanted out of the project.

Holualoa Cos., a Tucson-based real-estate investment firm, has replaced USAA Real Estate Co., which sold its share in the partnership. The ownership structure now includes the ASU Foundation, Plaza Cos. and Holualoa.

Sharon Ballenger, USAA Real Estate spokeswoman, couldn’t be reached for comment. The firm’s website does list SkySong’s two office buildings, SkySong I and II, as sold. SkySong is on the southeastern corner of Scottsdale and McDowell roads.

Read more...SkySong’s ownership structure changes as 1 partner opts out

Northeast Valley communities attracting senior-living facilities


Marilyn and Ray Stuckwisch are within weeks of starting a new chapter in their lives.

Marilyn, 76, and Ray, 86, are looking forward to moving into the Phoenix Arcadia area’s MorningStar senior-living community.

It is one of at least six assisted-living centers being built in Greater Phoenix, according to the National Investment Center for the Seniors Housing & Care Industry,or NIC, which tracks licensed senior-living properties of at least 25 units in the nation’s 31 largest metro markets.

Read more...Northeast Valley communities attracting senior-living facilities

Sunday, October 6, 2013

For a Yellen Fed, Smooth Transition Will Be Tall Order - WSJ.com


The handoff at the Federal Reserve from Ben Bernanke to Janet Yellen, the president's presumptive pick for the post, will be the trickiest since Paul Volcker took over amid the double-digit inflation of 1979.

Sure, Alan Greenspan was hit by a stock-market crash two months after he was sworn in. Yet he inherited an economy in which unemployment was low and inflation was falling.

Read more...For a Yellen Fed, Smooth Transition Will Be Tall Order - WSJ.com

Property-tax bills may dip for many


The total property-tax levy for all taxing districts in Maricopa County is down by $29 million this year, though some county taxpayers’ 2013 bills will not be any less than last year’s when they land in the mailbox this month.

The county Board of Supervisors cut the county’s projected property-tax revenue by $33 million. However, that revenue decline is offset slightly by tax increases in other districts imposing levies for things like K-12 schools, community colleges and public amenities, Treasurer Charles “Hos” Hoskins said.

Read more...Property-tax bills may dip for many

Metro Phoenix housing market's turnaround creates new issues


More than 100,000 houses stood vacant across metro Phoenix barely three years ago — roughly one of every 10. Today, it’s more like one out of every 100.

Where have all the empty houses gone? Abandoned properties pockmarked virtually every neighborhood in the region in 2010, when the housing crisis peaked.

Many communities had dozens. These were the foreclosure houses, with the stark notices in the windows. Some were boarded up, with brown lawns or green pools. On the fringes of the metro area, brand-new houses sat empty — the result of a massive building boom gone bust. Rattled buyers had backed out of contracts, and hundreds of other new houses built on spec didn’t sell.

Read more...Metro Phoenix housing market's turnaround creates new issues

Paradise Valley divided on planned senior living center


Paradise Valley prides itself as a residential community marked by low-density, high-priced homes and resort amenities.

Now, the town is entertaining the possibility of adding a new land-use designation that would allow senior-living centers. The possibility is proving highly divisive, as many longtime residents argue the move as a threat to the town’s character.

With a population of 12,820 and a median age of 51, the backlash is coming from the very demographic these new facilities would eventually serve.

Read more...Paradise Valley divided on planned senior living center

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tempe approves $12.4 million contract for Town Lake gate


The Tempe City Council on a unanimous vote Thursday approved expenditure of $12.4 million for manufacturing a steel-gate dam for the western end of Town Lake.

“This decision shows that our actions speak to our commitment to create an environment for attracting jobs in Tempe,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said.

The council approved the $12.4 million design-and-manufacturing contract with SteelFab Inc. Gannett Fleming Inc., the engineering contractor for the project, will work with the manufacturer to finalize specifics of the design.

Read more...Tempe approves $12.4 million contract for Town Lake gate

City-owned apartments’ price raises concerns


Scottsdale plans to spend $800,000 to rebuild two aging apartment buildings, raising concerns among some elected officials about the price tag paid by taxpayers.

Mayor Jim Lane and two City Council members said they think the city should cut its losses and sell the buildings along Belleview Street in south Scottsdale, which are run down after years of neglect.

“I’m a believer that, when it comes to the city trying to own public-housing projects, it’s a loser for us,” Lane said.

Read more...City-owned apartments’ price raises concerns

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Builders, buyers head for affordable suburbs


Homebuilders and buyers face a shortage of lots in metro Phoenix’s most popular developments. The lack of available homesites is one reason the region’s new-home market is recovering more slowly than expected.

Mesa and Gilbert in the southeast Valley are now drawing the most buyers. But the southwest Valley is growing in popularity, particularly because new houses are less expensive there.

Read more...Builders, buyers head for affordable suburbs

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