STILL STELLAR FOR SELLERS! As we wrap up the year, and analyze this past 4th quarter, it is an interesting view to see that the market has pulled back just a bit, maybe even given back a few percentage points of the appreciation, while more sellers convince themselves that it is the time to get their home on the market. Tucsonans thinking of selling can feel good about themselves, this past year of 2013 enjoyed an appreciation rise of about 10% versus the average selling price for a home at the end of 2012. This marks 2 years in a row for our rising market, and a total of about 20% higher selling prices than the low point of the market. More to come? Sure, you would think so. Yes, buyers have taken a step back to take a breather, so it is unpredictable. But with the interest rates still relatively low (4.5+/-), and home prices still no where near the top levels of 2005/06, there's no doubt that 2014 should be lining up to be another rising year! Give me a call or email if you are looking for a fresh evaluation of your home in today's market. And, all the best to you in 2014! ~ Alan
NOVEMBER 2013 THANKFUL FOR A PERFECT MARKET! For all of these past several months being a patently seller's market, we finally are noticing the arrival of more sellers into the marketplace and, in turn, lightening up the pressure on our low inventory situation. This is giving buyers a larger pool of homes to choose from, and, better odds of what they might be visualizing, as opposed to just settling for what they could find. Economics are improving with stock market levels reaching new highs. Sellers and owners are enjoying the continuation of rising prices. Foreclosures are still dipping, the fewest AZ filings since 2006. Interest rates continue to be in the 4.25 - 4.50 % range and haven't climbed to the 5's and 6's like we all have been persistently warned of. Both buyers and sellers seem to be happy and content, overall, with our unusually near-balanced market. And, oh yeah, almost forgot - it is a most perfect day here in Tucson this Thanksgiving, thanks Tucson! Wishing you all a wonderful and safe HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!
SEPTEMBER 2013 BOOMERANGERS ARE BACK! The least-likely-to-succeed market-segment is currently making up approximately 10% of the sales out there today. That is, about 10% of deals now are involving "Boomerangers", or those buyers who had previously lost their homes to short-sales or foreclosures back in the down market of the late 2000's. Nationwide, there are about 4.7 million of these folks, and about 70% of them are expected to return to home-ownership within the next 8 years. A portion of these are already solidly in the market now. Most have had to wait the required amount of years before proceeding, usually 2 or 3 years if they went through a short-sale, or up to 7+ years if they have gone through foreclosure, as well as, repair their credit and manage their finances appropriately. "Their time out of the market may be shorter than many Americans might expect" reported USA Today, recently.
AUGUST 2013 SUNNY SIDE UP! Congratulations to the first Arizona team to win the Little League Softball World Series, Tucson's Sunnyside Little League clobbered McLean, Virgina 9-0, to take the World Championship! Be looking for some of these very accomplished, fearless competitors to be part of our coveted U of A Softball program in the coming years! Meanwhile, back at the ranch, home prices are continuing their protracted rebound. July '13 figures show an increase of home appreciation of 12% month over month a year ago. And, the second quarter alone was 5.1% higher than the first quarter this year! Some Central Tucson neighborhoods are out-pacing this, and some of the numbers are outright scary, if not, great to hear. Home prices are now about where they were in the beginning of 2004. No slow-down in sight, be sure there are more increases to come! JULY 2013 APPRECIATING THE APPRECIATION! In fact, real estate values have climbed steadily for the past 18 months straight, with no change in sight. While we are marveling at all of this as property owners, buyers are scrambling to make deals now, as opposed to waiting for the market to escalate even further. Home prices are moving up steadily, to the tune of about 10% per year. Tucson home values have risen about 15% since the beginning of 2012 to present. Some pocket neighborhoods, particularly some of those in Central Tucson, have experienced even greater acceleration. Please let me know if I may provide you with an in-depth, no-cost property analysis for you, anytime!
UP THEY GO! Yes, interest rates are rising fast. Even in our over-heated housing market,
folks can't help but notice there has been a big increase of late. Blame the economy,
blame Bernanke, blame bonds, but whatever is truly driving the spike, the facts are this:
Our benchmark 10-year Treasury bond has risen from 1.62% to 2.62% since May, making
this the sharpest rise in 50 years, according to one global chief economist.
Where do they go from here? Anybody's guess, of course! Today's mortgage interest
rates are 4.5-4.75%, still below the 5% +/- prevailing rate of 2010. But if you are planning
a purchase with the help of a mortgage, align yourself with an excellent loan officer,
ask questions and watch your rate-lock like a hawk!
The month of May normally does give us a little pause, and, although this May is no different, it is still going great. Sure, snow-birds have flown the coop, UA has disassembled for the Summer, but buyers and sellers are still getting together making deals as if there were no real slow-down. Rates have inched up a little, but you have to laugh when we're talking about 'up, to 3.625%' ! Employment opportunites are up 10%, while unemployment continues its descent and consumer confidence is stronger than any other period since 2007! Check out this article just in from the San Francisco Cronicle, link below: - kudos to Tucson, that 'Hip Little Town' - http://www.sfchronicle.com/travel/article/Hip-little-Tucson-heats-up-4484163.php?t=69177aa32f
FEBRUARY 2013 Stats are off the hook - everything is up except inventory which is low and getting lower. Buyers are battling it out on mulitiple offers, and values continue in a positive direction. Another positive to this market: Not nearly as many short sales hitting the market, as values recuperate and equity is returning to owners who had none left! Too busy to write this blog! It's getting nutty out there! : )
As we say goodbye to 2012, our average closed sales prices compared to one year
ago are in the + 10 % range for Central Tucson, and about + 8 % for the Catalina Foothills.
So, right on, it has been a long, long time since we have seen an annual appreciation jump
like this! According to one study, Arizona out appreciated every other state in the US this
year. I am imagining more of the same for 2013, bring it on! Looking forward to helping
you in the New Year, and all the best to you and yours this holiday season ~ Alan
Let us all be thankful for the turnaround year we've all been experiencing in real estate. It is
about time, and things are truly looking up, and have been, all year long, across the board.
We are wrapping up 2012 in quite positive fashion! Happy Thanksgiving!
Powered by a drop in the unemployment rate, 7.8% - the lowest it's been in nearly 4 years,
and jobless claims less than any time in the previous 5 years, the DOW ramped up to
its highest level in 5 years, to 13610. Things are slowly getting better and better. For the
US, existing single family home sales increased in average value by 4.6%, August 2011
v. August 2012, this being the largest year-over-year monthly gain in 6 years. Unit sales
of existing single family homes were up during the same period by 9%, while the supply
of homes for sale down by 18%. For the most part, these national figures are mirroring
Tucson, and most individual metropolitan areas of the country are experiencing similar
growth. And, although today's values are still down 30% from their peaks in 2005, the
housing market is showing great momentum this year!
Low interest rates prevailing! No real news on this, as we have been seeing these low rates for
several months now. But the news is still good, and it looks like nothing happening out on the
horizon to raise the rates. A great time to shop for a home! 30 year fixed is around 3.5%, and the
15 year variety, 2.75%! These rates apply to owner-occupied deals. If you are buying for
investment, figure your rates to be more in the 4% category for the 30 year fixed. But, hey, it
wasn't too long ago that owner occupied loans were at that rate!
Investors are out there in great numbers, purchasing homes, and why not! Historically low
rates and prices, and of course the great write-offs. But word of caution for you investors,
Tucson is loading up with "for-rent" signs. The amount of rentals being offered is unusual
right now, precipitated by all the properties being snapped up by the investors, and subsequently
being put on the rental market. Downward pressure is definitely being felt across the board in the
Tucson rental market. If you are trying to rent out yours, be sure it is easy to see, priced right, clean
and looking good!
Speaking of less foreclosures in Tucson, a prominent local real estate agent who deals almost
exclusively with foreclosed properties says his foreclosure business is down some 60% from the
past years business. This is adding to the sparsity of the Tucson inventory for sale, but wonderful
news, nonetheless. And, after talking with a Long Realty agent about where she works, Sahuarita,
(between Tucson and Green Valley - this is an outlying area, and was hit harder than Tucson) says
that builders have upped their prices for the new homes over there, 4 times now this year for the
same product, to keep up with the demand.
Your opportunity to purchase a home with a loan is getting sweeter! Interest rates are really down right now, a 30-year fixed is now around 3.5% and the 15 year fixed is around 2.75%. This is as low
as I have seen in over 25 years in the business! The time is right to pick up the phone, give me a
call and let's get started!
By the way, taking a peak at our foreclosure rate here in Tucson: May was 2.27% compared with 2.65% for all Arizona and 3.41% nationwide. We continue have less foreclosures than our neighbors and a healthier real estate environment to operate in, with less distressed properties on the market.
We are the Champions! Yes, U of A Men's Baseball takes home the big prize this month,
winning the College Baseball Tournament, congrats to the Bat-Cats!!!
But, there is more to celebrate than baseball this month, as the national building industy is
taking off and Arizona is no exception. Arizona is celebrating its best single-family building
starts month in 3 years, and up 63% from just a year ago. Home starts are ramping up so fast
now that builders are finding themselves short-handed. "This is the biggest shortage of skilled
labor that I have ever seen (in 25 years doing this)" says one project manager. Roofers, framers,
and masons hit the road during the bad market and builders are doing anything to get them back
on board, NOW.
This sounds all too familiar - I am hearing the same scenario from lenders as they scramble
to hire and train loan officers and underwriters on the fly. If you are planning to obtain financing
to purchase a home, be aware that timing to close is not like it used to be. Counting on a home to
close in 30 days is quickly being replaced by 45-60 days timing, depending on the loan program
involved. The good news is that loan companies are offering 30-year mortgages for 3.75 - 3.875!
Indeed, the time is right to buy a home and do a little celebrating for yourself!
May brings more of the same! Usually we have a pause and slow down in later May and
June - just guess - it ain't happening this year! No slow down, in fact, it almost feels as
though the market is getting stronger than the 1st quarter this year. We are seeing the
multiple offers on almost anything that is fairly priced. Inventory continues to be low
and buyers seem to be multiplying. The Tucson prices have moved up for the 4th
straight month in a row. This month versus this month a year ago is showing a price
increase of approximately 6%.
We would probably be rising even faster than this, but appraisers are doing their best
to control the big increases. They are failing many deals on appraisal and there is
starting to be a gap between "appraised price" and "market price". This discord in
the market is becoming all too apparent. Let's say the home you offered on went
over asking price due to multiple parties offering. The buyer and seller make their
deal, and all is well, except when it comes to the appraisal piece of your contract. The
careful, conservative appraiser sees that there are no comparables to support this
new rise in value and subsequently appraises the property lower than the deal price.
Everyone is disappointed, and something has to then be worked out between buyer
and seller, or the transaction will not be successful.
Thanks to the ever-present cash deals out there, which require no appraisal,
we will continue into a healthy market with slight appreciation along the way.
But, if you are buying with the help of a lender, be aware that you may run into
problems on your appraisal. Keep the faith, try not to go"madly" into a deal,
and all should go well!
Deja-Vu? 2005 all over again?
Our hot market continues! We are calling this a seller's market now. Central Tucson is
experiencing even lower inventory, but all of Tucson is reporting 4 months inventory of
homes for sale! And, for that, you have to go all the way back to April of 2005 to see that
small amount of inventory. That time was just about at the height of our explosive market
of the mid- 2000's. It really feels like 2005 again, just ask anyone who's tried to put together
a deal on a well-priced property lately. Odds are pretty good that there were multiple offers
and a few all-cash and over-asking offers to contend with.
Some differences between today's deals v. 2005? The fact that lenders and appraisers are
being incredibly conservative, which, they were anything but, 7 years ago. Deals are taking
longer, and they are more contentious. Buyers buying "flipped property" will discover a new
set of rules that lenders will throw at them, if the property flipper is making in excess of 15%
profit and it was bought by the flipper in the last 90 days. However, interest rates in 2005
were between 5.50 - 6.00 % , and now we consistently see them in the 4% range, fantastic!
And, oh yeah, the prices for homes are about 40% less expensive than they were in 2005!
Our market is reaching a fever pitch at this point! All too often a buyer will get excited about
a home only to find it already has a deal on it. Buyers are not shying away from short sales
anymore, and with our crazy low inventory out there now, buyers are seemingly ready to go
after anything, regardless if the property is an REO, short sale, straight sale, distressed, AS-IS,
or otherwise. Please keep an open mind if you are seriously looking at homes these days!
Although it appears we're experiencing a pent-up demand, a backlog of buyers these days,
it is not being matched in kind by a pent-up supply of sellers. Sellers are continuing to hold,
and even the "flood of REO's" that is always supposed to be there in the shadow inventory,
continues to be a much smaller flood than folks would have you believe. At least, thus far,
It's all good! Real estate values are finally holding and are now actually on the rise. You will,
for the most part, continue to hear and read positive articles touting how great the market is,
and how we haven't seen this or that for X amount of years, etc, etc, etc!
Here is yet another huge endorsement for Tucson... Just this last week in March, Realtor.com's
latest "Top-10 Investment Markets" Report puts Tucson ahead of everyone else as THE top
place in the U.S. to invest! This is going to add some extra fuel to our already burning fire!
From the article:
"Built from Realtor.com data updated through February 2012, the report put Tucson, Ariz.; Austin,
Texas; and Kansas City, Mo., as the top current real estate markets to invest in. The top 10 list was
built by analyzing the housing inventories, price trends and unemployment rates from the Bureau
of Labor Statistics for 146 markets Realtor.com tracks.
Thanks to the jobs boom surrounding the University of Arizona and the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base,
and an 8.19 percent drop in real estate owned (REO) properties along with a 3.03 percent median house
list-price increase from a year ago February, Tucson, Ariz., tops the list. A median price of $170,000
anchors the market."
Here's the year you have been waiting for! Sales figures are really ramping up now. The only
little negative we've heard is that we are up 3% over last month with foreclosures coming on
the market. BUT, if you compare the foreclosures from January 2011, we are down by 44%!
So, bottom line is, yes, there are still foreclosures coming our way, but nothing like last
year at this time.
Homes here in Tucson experienced a drop in value of about 5% for the year 2011.
This is not too bad, because what I have been hearing in most other areas of the
country, homes lost more. In Tucson, home sales increased by about 25%
in the number of houses sold over 2010.
And, home sales are even hotter for this year. And current inventory is down and getting
lower. 2011 may go into the history books as another year to forget, but it was a building
year, too, with a decided increase of the market wanting to buy homes. 2012 really does
look promising. Perhaps values are finally going to hold, possibly even rise, during this
new year. And, just reported at the end of this month, Arizona actually climbed in value,
up 4.1 % in the 4th quarter of last year. Income and employment are growing at increasingly
faster rates. Unemployment figures are at the lowest levels since 2008, and, just the other day,
the DOW hit 13,000 for the first time since 2008, as well. Sure, pace yourself for long and
gradual recovery, but it is on!
Tucson has another accolade to hang their hat on - being voted the "happiest" place
to visit in the winter:
"Disneyland may call itself the “happiest place on earth” but it’s got nothing on Tucson — at least in the winter.In a survey by Hilton Worldwide and the American Happiness Association — no kidding — the Old Pueblo was named tops among “the happiest U.S. cities to travel to during the winter months. Anaheim? Not on the list. Ranked behind Tucson were, in order: St. Petersburg, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; Napa-Sonoma, Calif.; Seattle; Los Angeles; Palm Springs, Calif.; Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas and Houston.
The destinations, selected by Sperling’s BestPlaces, were judged by their ranking in a number of categories, including relaxation, nature, culture, climate, uniqueness, accessibility and urban appeal. Of course, Hilton happens to have hotel properties in each happy city (the Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort an the Hampton Inn North here).
Each of the cities was rated on its annual number of sunny days; average winter temperatures; number of restaurants; number of cultural institutions; number of bars, lounges and nightclubs; and number of ice cream shops.
“With 286 annual sunny days, 39 golf courses and above average temperatures, Tucson stands out as the top U.S. winter destination,” the happy study said. "
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I think 2012 is going to be a break out year! I will keep you posted on we are doing from time to time during this new chapter to be. For now, we are
experiencing low inventory levels in the central areas. Low interest rates continue to
abound, right now hovering over the 4% line, and good deals continue to not be ignored by
our market. At mid-month, both myself, and my office, are running ahead of last year,
production and units sold, so we are off and running!
Tucson's market appears to be gaining some ground, along with the overall economy.
Besides more units being sold compared to the last couple of years past, retail sales
are up 14% this December from last years December, jobless rates are down, housing
building starts are up and foreclosure notices are down. Almost worth celebrating!
Have a very happy holiday season and all the best for a wonderful 2012!
Exciting news from NAR:
The National Association of Realtors recently released their 2011 3rd Quarter Housing Report.
In the report, they showed that combined sales of single family homes, condos and co-ops
increased in EVERY state as compared to the 3rd quarter of last year.
Here are the state-by-state numbers...you will notice Arizona's is a positive 22.5%!
This news combined with the very positive retail figures of late, we may just
be experiencing the start of recovery!
Update: Regarding my snippet in September about HOA documents... HOA's will be
able to charge for their packaging and dissemination of information in an escrow.
However, they can only receive these fees upon close of escrow, and are no
longer able to charge this upfront. Further, they will not be able to collect
these costs if escrow ultimately does not close.
A buyer's market? Hmmmm....possibly not so much here in Tucson. Lately I have
shown several well priced homes that buyers get interested in, only to find out that
there is either already a deal on it, or an offer pending an answer from the seller.
What do we have going in the buyers' favor? Basically prices that have not been
seen for a decade or so. Today's prices are more-less matching up with
the year 2000 or 2001. If you bought earlier than 2000, odds are you still have a
tiny bit of extra value on top of what you paid then. Prices are refreshing, to say
the least, and interest rates are still great, 4 - 4.25%. So, yes, one could argue
that this is a real opportunity for buyers buying homes in Tucson. Buyers, just
prepare yourself that you have company. Brace yourself for the chance that
someone else has discovered the same property that you have and may complicate
things. And, realize that our low-and-getting-lower inventory is not helping.
Keep the faith, and you'll land the home of your dreams, just get yourself in
a more patient mood than you would normally!
As we roll full-steam into the "Snowbird" season, things are as they have been much of
these past several months - - 4% interest rates, number of units sold versus last year way
up, for-sale inventory decidedly down, and values of real estate either holding, but most cases
slightly down from several months ago. I did an analysis on a home in La Madera area
(Campbell/Country Club/Grant/Ft. Lowell) and was amazed to find just 9 homes for sale
and 9 other properties currently in escrow, all in this same square mile. Amazing, because
I don't believe I have seen the amount of escrows match the for-sale inventory in years. I
dare say that we are experiencing what could be the start of a prolonged recuperation.
Because of the fact that sellers are holding off selling unless they must, it is dramatically
reducing our inventory levels and putting a damper on the rampant devaluation we
would otherwise be experiencing. Deeply discounted deals from the ever-present
foreclosure property continue to hurt value, yes. Although, because of the lower
inventory and fair demand, multiple offers are getting to be commonplace on well
A couple of changes to look for during our next quarter:
1. FHA loans are going to be a less expensive to make happen.
2. HOA demanding fees of title/escrow for the ordering of HOA documents are going
to be a thing of the past. Like they did in the old days, the HOA's are going to have
to get this information in escrow's hands, without demanding any fees.
Very interestingly enough, solds are still well up from last year, same period, 7 months
ending in July, year total units sold, 2011 v. 2010. This is pretty incredible to see, because
of the fact that last year, you may recall, we had that great $6500.00 stimulus plan in effect!
When June 30, 2010 ended this stimulus last year, we all went quiet for several weeks. Prior
to that date, we were really selling lots of homes, because of that stimulus plan. This
year, same period, sans any stimulus program, we are substantially beating last year
in homes sold! Incredible, indeed!
For Central Tucson, the summer has been good. There are twice as many units sold so
far this summer than last year at this same time. Also, the inventory is down, almost half
of what it was last year at this time. Despite the constant negatives you hear and see in
the news media, Central Tucson seems to be coming out of the doldrums!
In other news, USA Today boasts Tucson is in the Top 10 for best cities to bicycle in!
(isn't that old news!? : ) Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Sorry, I have not written for a while! I have been so busy with the business and not just
transactions and new listings, but deals now seem to be extra tough to get through escrow,
and more work is required to see them through these days! Anyway, lots happening since
a few months ago.
First off, the inventory levels are continuing to stay lower than average. Another positive,
more units are being sold than last year. You wouldn't know it from all that you hear or
read about the fact that values still seem to be sinking lower than the last time you looked.
House prices in Tucson are now about 40% off of their median price from the market's high,
which was at the end of 2005 / beginning of 2006. But, at the same token, we are still up
about 20% median price from the year 2000.
Welcome back to an old buyer that has come back to the table - the investor / flipper. Yes,
the market has seen many of these folks coming in with cash, usually looking for the steal,
foreclosure, short sale, AS-IS situation. They put a modicum of money into it, clean up the
property and quickly re-sell it for fun and profit. You may have noticed the article on 5/11/11
in the Arizona Daily Star front page headline "37% of area housing sales are now cash"!
A personal observation - - appraisers are being unusually tough on deals. Even when they
make sense to everyone else involved.... a typical scenario: buyer loves the home, buyer
feels good about the accepted offer price. Seller is happy with the deal. Buyer and seller's
agents both feel good about the price being fair and reasonable. Transaction going as
smoothly as ever - only to subsequently be torpedoed by a low appraisal, destroying
an otherwise "good" deal created by the market. Yes, appraisers are under the microscope,
and are rightly nervous and overly careful. So, they often do not utilize the top comparable
comps, and instead use average, and even below-average comparables, even with the
subject property having above-average upgrades and amenity. If we are ever going to
stabilize, let alone, rise in value, we are going to have to get a lot more support from the
appraisers out there, certainly more than we have been experiencing of late.
Where's the beef?! For those of you who remember this funny commercial, I am relating to it
right about now. It is a little puzzling to not see the beefing up of new listings hitting the market, as
would be normal, this first 6 weeks of the new year. It is quite customary to see many new listings hitting the market in January and February. This year this has not really been the case. Inventory is off, lower in numbers than we're used to, and would-be sellers seem to be pulling back and thinking "I am not selling at this time". Sellers are understanding that values today are about one-third lower, versus the peak. This pullback, coupled with (thankfully) a modest slowing of foreclosures and short sales have our inventory curiously low. This, however, can be a component to recovery. If we're able to see this trend continue, if we are able to continue with a downtrend of foreclosures and short sales, it will play upon supply and demand and help to get us out of the woods. By the way, the tax bills you may have just received from the county may show the devaluation we've experienced, and hopefully you are paying less on your upcoming property taxes!
In other news, Money Magazine recently forecast Tucson to be on the road to recovery, soon,
check out the article below...
Tucson, Ariz.Median home price: $165,000
Drop since market peak: 37.3%
Forecast gain by 9/2012: 3.4%
Tucson home prices had a run up during the boom years but never with the trajectory of Phoenix, its neighbor 110 miles to the north. "The key word in Tucson is stability," said Tanya Marchiol, whose company Team Investments, buys residential real estate in Arizona.
There are fewer vacant homes, about half the foreclosure rate and most homes for sale are in better condition than in Phoenix, according to Marchiol. That has caused it draw more retirees who might otherwise have wound up in Phoenix. Fiserv forecasts continue turndown through the first three quarters of 2011 with prices falling another 2.8%. Then the market will come back strong over the
next 12 months, with prices rising 6.2%.
Happy New Year!!!
Good for us to get through another trying year. Hang in there, it is seemingly getting better and
better each year we get away from the low point of the market in second-half 2008. People are
getting used to our market conditions and the normalcy is ever so slightly settling in. We had
a very similar number of houses sold in '10 as in '09, though we did experience a devaluation in
Central Tucson of about 5 %. With the record number of short sales and foreclosures, I would
have guessed worse. Central may have not been hit as hard as other areas of Tucson, and
we'll wait to hear what the news has to say, in due time, about that.
Interest rates have spiked up from 4.5% to around 5%, but at least they are low compared to
any other part of the past decade! If this is your year to make something happen, give me a
call or drop me a line!
Not as much action this October, but they say now that the storms are in motion in the Midwest,
look out! Evidently, the snowbirds may be on their way to get us jump-started again. After brisk
activity in August and September, Tucson saw an October that was unusually quieter.
Some have said that the relatively pleasant weather the Midwest had been experiencing this month
contributed to snowbirds taking longer to get back over here. We'll be monitoring November with
breath held! Rates remain low, how about 4.25% zero points/zero origination fee for 30 year loans,
and lower for the 15's...If you are looking to buy a home with a loan, or even just want to refinance
your current mortgage, there hasn't been a better time!
The National Association of Realtors have just announced that August's existing home sales
were up nearly 8% from July. I can certainly relate, August was quite busy for me personally!
And even more kudos for Tucson, it seems like they never stop! First, Business Weekly placed
Tucson 4th of 52 cities for their 2010's "Best Place to Raise Your Kids", read below:
..."Tucson, surrounded by mountains and the beauty of the Sonora desert, is an affordable city
that is home to the University of Arizona and University Medical Center, which are among its
largest employers. It's also a relatively affordable place to live, with more than 100 parks,
a good public transportation system, and many public and private golf courses..."
And, MSN has Tucson ranked 9th in the country for their 2010's "Most Livable Bargain Markets"!
Here's what they say:
"...If you like the desert, but Phoenix and Las Vegas are too big and hot, Tucson might be the place for
you. Although it's just an hour's drive from the Mexican border, its higher elevation makes for slightly
cooler temperatures — only one month with an average temperature over 100 degrees — and much
less air pollution than its big neighbor to the north. And although the city topped 1 million residents in
2008, it has the feeling of a smaller, slower-paced town, locals say, and many of its residents walk or
bike to work..."
Tucson has received more kudos! First, the August issue of "Outside Magazine" has labeled
Tucson as being the best town for road biking in 2010. They reference Sam Hughes' 3rd St. path
to UA, Mt. Lemmon climbing routes, and some 800 miles of designated bike paths.
Secondly, Tucson was hailed as the solar energy leader recently in "Business Facilities Magazine".
Its article states:
..."The folks in Tucson, AZ have a better idea—they’re covering outdoor parking facilities with
solar panels. Futuristic solar arrays are transforming the Arizona landscape and giving Tucson
bragging rights as “The Solar City"...”A review of the article states: "The magazine dubbed
Arizona the “established solar energy king,” saying the state secured the top spot thanks in
part to the manufacturing activity done in Tucson. (Some of the world’s largest solar companies
have in recent years opened shop there.) In fact, Tucson earned one of the magazine’s clean
energy excellence awards beyond the one awarded to Arizona as a whole: it was deemed the
best metro area in the country for alternative energy. While Tucson is hailed as a solar energy
leader, Phoenix, Arizona was not even in the top ten"...
Hope you enjoyed your extra long 4th of July weekend! July has continued where
May and June have left off - still pretty slow out there, compared to Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr
of this year. The activity levels of those previous months would have made one think that
we must out of the woods. But, sans stimulus, normal May and June slowing, and no monsoons
yet to wake anyone up, things are at a more leisurely pace at the moment. The stimulus days
have gone away, and housing is has been left to heal by itself. Thankfully, interest rates are
ever-cooperating. This month we are seeing 4.75% fixed rates, 30-year mortgage, and only
3.875% for the 15-year loan. This sub 4% rate is the lowest I have witnessed in 24 years of
The national picture is showing us a mixed bag. Jobless rates continue to be less, and that
is surprising and good. The bad news is that we are still hearing reports that record-level,
near-future foreclosures continue looming on the horizon. What does that mean for us?
Who knows, but I can tell you that buyers are still showing up and buying homes. Why not,
with rates like the ones I quote above. With a 15-year loan, you would pay it off twice as fast,
and save hundreds of thousands of dollars. Time flies, go for the 15! Before you know it,
you'll be owning your home free and clear! Then you can throw a mortgage burning party!
And, you'll only be paying for taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance from that point on.
This principle works in ANY market!
Tucson recently received another top-of-the-list accolade in AARP magazine.
Their article "5 Best Places To Live The Simple Life", is an interesting and fun
read. We come in numero uno! Here's their quote...
"It's hard to pin down residents on what exactly is so mesmerizing about this desert town, just an hour north of the Mexican border. Maybe it's the beautiful wilderness that rings the city, including about 1.8 million acres of the Coronado National Forest, with its 12 different mountain ranges. Or maybe it's the sweet smell of pan dulce that drifts from the Mexican bakeries. Or maybe it's the unique way the city's Mexican, Native American, and frontier roots have mingled to create a mosaic all its own. "This atmosphere just doesn't exist anywhere else—the people, the natural beauty, the cultural mix," says Elizabeth Rodriguez Miller, 55, who retired last year from her job as assistant city manager. "I feel lucky to live in a place where people can move so graciously from one culture to another." She and her husband, Marc, 57, also like the buzz of downtown with its plentiful restaurants, funky Fourth Avenue arts district, and world-renowned annual Mariachi Conference. And for simple pleasures, there's incomparable hiking and camping."
Wading through a hotter, dryer, slower period during these past few weeks, but we
haven't died by any means. Economic indicators are getting stronger and stronger.
Recently, unemployment figures showed a nice reduction, from 9.9% to 9.7% over
the past month. Granted, the figures include the census workers, but in another report,
layoffs were down month v. same month previous year, and that has happened for
12 straight months now!
A new Fannie Mae lending requirement has surfaced as of June 1st. They will require
that a borrower's credit must be re-verified at point of funding to ascertain nothing has
changed during the escrow period. Just a heads up - keep everything the same after you
have made your deal - don't buy something big, like a car, for example, as it could cause
your loan to have to be re-underwritten, which could foul things up at the last minute of
The big test is on! Hot weather just around the corner, snow birds long gone, no more tax credit, SB1070 looming upon us, UA people doing anything but looking at homes because of finals and graduation, one would surmise that Central Tucson must be deader than a doornail. Not really! Although it is always a little slower paced in May and June, Central is still percolating. Open house attendance is still brisk, deals are still being made. Foreclosure and short sale property is still abundant, even growing (you may have seen the AZ Star article a few days ago on this) and that never helps matters. It is hard to keep hearing these sad stories after all these years. Devaluation is still occurring in parts of Tucson. You may have noticed this article too, (this week's AZ Star), but you would have also noticed that zip codes 85716 and 85719 were least hit by it. This coincides with my blog entry 1/14/10 saying that Central's value was down about 10% from the past 12 months. What is inspiring is that our office's average sale is up about 5% since the beginning of the year. Dare I say that some property is actually increasing in value? No, I better not. Still, this is somewhat exciting news!
Happy Tax Day to everyone! It seems that our economy is warming up. The Dow has been hitting the 11,000 mark again, retail is up 1.5% from March, unemployment rates have been slightly lower and number of homes sold have been up all year. Inventory has gained. Sales absorption rates have been steady and more has come up on the market than usual these past several weeks which is giving today's buyers more to choose from! 2 weeks to go for the big tax credit, go for it!
No April Fooling, it is time to roll if you are going to take advantage of the tax credit stimulus ($8000 first time buyer, $6500 trade up buyer). A deal has to be made by the end of April, and close by June 30th. Please call if you have questions. Activity has picked up greatly, showings, deals, new listings, all are up. Inventory is finally going upwards for the first time in quite a while. More homes to choose from, should you be in a position to purchase!
Just some observations of our new year thus far... As would be normal, many new listings have hit the market since the new year. The pace of new listings has normalized this week. Newly contracted deals are brisk, since about the middle of January. Interest rates continue low, and are around 5% or so. Open house attendance is heavy, buyers are serious, and multiple offer situations are not rare. It feels like our market is finally coming into a fairly normal feel. Not a bad time to sell, and a great time to buy!
Happy New Year! Results have been tallied - 2009 was a year of both positives and negatives. Central Tucson experienced a huge gain, a 25% higher number of single family homes were sold, versus 2008. Unfortunately, property value has lessened approximately 10% during 2009. Inventory (homes on the market) shrank about 22% v. 2008. 2009 foreclosures hit Pima county to the tune of 29% growth compared to 2008. Rental properties have experienced lower rental income, and vacancy factor is higher. Not to worry, UA student housing is currently experiencing a shortage situation, Tucson's job market is holding steady, and the happening of a new contract made with Singapore and Davis Monthan Air Force Base, with DM lined up to train Singapore's jet fighters, should keep demand going. Allow me to lay another positive note on you...today's Dow Jones closed at 10,710 - the first time it has crossed the 10,700 mark in 15 months. Enjoy your 2010, and don't hesitate to flag me down if you would like more details on the statistics and what lies ahead.
Yes, good news, indeed. The congress did pass the bill last month. It extends to April 30th of 2010 and includes an upgrade not previously offered - a chance to use a tax credit of up to $6500, even if one is not a first timer. If one has lived in the home as a principal residence for 5 of the last 8 years, you may qualify for this credit. (previous bill was only for 1st time buyers or those not owning any principal residence for the past 3 years). Very well, the 1st timers get up to $8000 (no change), and those selling a property they've called home for 5 years, and are buying another home, may get up to $6500. Please give me a call if you have more questions.
Hey, need a little motivation this season?! Here's a quote from this week's Business Week:
"Maybe you already have a house and you don't want to move. Or maybe you're a Trappist monk and have forsworn all earthly possessions. Or whatever. But if you want to buy a house, now is the time, and if you don't act soon, you will regret it. Here's why: historically low interest rates..."
Interest rates are 5% +/-. Bad markets do have a life-cycle. The present one won't last forever. Interest rates do go up. They are overdue to go up. Foreclosures continue to hound the market. But, just the same, consistent shrinkage of inventory continues to stabilize the downward pressure on price. The result is a relatively steady property value, slightly down in pockets, over the past few months.
Number of sales (units) have been way up all year. Price is down from a year back, but a definite increase in units sold. People are really starting to hold onto their places if they don't really need to sell, and buyers are feeling it (the relatively scant amount of homes to view). Therefore, if something grabs you, don't hesitate, go for it!
Have a wonderful holiday and I look forward to helping you, this year or next! ~ Alan
Good news! It looks like congress has either passed or will pass an extension of the $8,000 tax credit! I am pleasantly surprised to hear this, and it should be official soon. I will have the all the details later, but the credit is extending to April '10, evidently. Great!!
Orange alert to all of you buyers wanting to ride that $8,000 tax credit with a purchase of a first time home...you have about a week left to get yourself into a deal so that you can close by December 1. Anyone's guess if the government will extend this credit, but odds are, it is going away. If you want to be certain, go for it quick! Interest rates are low (5%) and, although inventory is always being beefed up by the ever-present foreclosures out there, inventory is still low and getting lower. So, although you don't have the huge choices of homes you once enjoyed, this fact will continue to stabilize the values of real estate, overall. Don't trick yourself out of a treat and act now!
We are rolling along and keeping it going... Inventory continues to drop and lots of deals are being made. Value has not risen, so it is a ripe time to buy. Interest rates are around 5.25%, still nice and low. Depending on your individual credit scores, some rates are even below the 5% level!
As far as the $8,000 credit everyone is talking about, red alert! The time clock is ticking... The fact that the last day to get that credit is the last day of November, you really only have about 4 or 5 weeks to get a deal going, allowing 6 weeks for closing time. The deal must be closed by November 30th in order to qualify for it. So, if you want to search on the fly, give me a call!
You sellers out there, although values have not risen, there is less inventory out there to compete with, so it is a fine time to get yourself on the market, if you are so inclined. Some of the extra marketing we have been doing, along with the traditional Long Realty web ads, virtual tours, Arizona Daily Star, magazines, postcard mailers, open houses and the like, we are now additionally getting your home exposed to websites like you-tube, craigslist, facebook, trulia, zillow, and pushing you way up the google list. We also have added m.longrealty.com, a website that works great with smart phones. You will like my complete marketing package,
give me a call!
Way to go, Tucson! Yet another Tucson accolade this month!
This time from USA Today front page 7/27/09 quoting AARP Magazine,
voted #1 best place in the nation for simpler living:
By Jillian Berman, USA TODAY
Looking to live the simpler life? Look no further than Tucson.
AARP The Magazine's Best Places to Live a Simple Life list, out today, bestows top honors on the city of 541,000 in the Arizona desert. Demographers used statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources to evaluate towns and cities on a variety of criteria, says Gabrielle deGroot Redford, AARP's manager of magazine editorial projects.
Once they came up with a list of about 25 cities, editors at the magazine picked the top cities in different areas of the country to make sure that every region was represented. With the economy struggling and readers looking to spend less money, Redford says, the editors wanted to compile a list of places with a low cost of living that offered a wide range of activities."We decided we wanted to focus on places you could live simply," she says.
Redford says demographers and editors looked for places that are affordable and still have relatively low rates of unemployment. She added that factors such as the ability to walk and bike to work and the availability of "outdoor amenities" such as farmers markets and hiking trails also gave cities extra points.
And to make sure life is really simple, the team looked at the stress index of the cities, a measure used by demographers, which combines "rates of suicide and crime and divorce and depression and other factors that play into how stressed people feel living there," she says. Another plus: if the city is close to a college or university. "We looked for places with great education, in particular, colleges because colleges tend to offer classes for adults and a lot of amenities," such as lectures and sporting events, Redford says. That Tucson is home to the University of Arizona helped boost it to the top. "It's quite an affordable city in part, but it also has a lot going on about it," she says. "There are a lot of ways to enjoy living there."
She adds that residents rave about the city's multicultural feel. "They just feel like it's one of those great melting pots." Mayor Bob Walkup, the self-proclaimed "mayor of paradise," says he wasn't surprised to hear his city topped the list. "I believe that Tucson has the highest quality of life of any city in the country," he says. Tucson's temperate climate and low crime rate make it an ideal place to live, he says. "It — no kidding — has an abundance of sunshine year round."
Vibe: Latin culture embraces Native American spirit, cowboy grit, and Sunbelt growth
Median housing price: $155,500
Average commute: 24 minutes
Average number of sunny days: 286 per year
Most relaxing way to spend an afternoon: Enjoying the cool breezes and plentiful
hiking in the Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of town
Simple fun for less than $10: Drinking a beer at the Hotel Congress, where famous
criminal John Dillinger was nabbed back in 1934
Who knew?: The saguaro cacti that grow all over Tucson have an average life
span of 150 years.
Hey Tucson fans, we just got a great accolade in Business Week.
Of all the cities they studied across the nation, we came in at #1
for "America's Best Affordable Place to Retire". Here's the quote:
No. 1 - Tucson
Cost of living index: 109.44
Sunny days: 284
2010 housing forecast: 0%
Tucson, home of the University of Arizona, is a scenic, affordable place to retire. It is surrounded by mountains and the dry beauty of the Sonoran desert. It has its own airport, just six miles from downtown Tucson, more than 100 parks, a good public transportation system, and plenty of public and private golf courses. The university and University Medical Center are among of the state's largest employers.
OK, real estate fans, June was a big test (no snow birds, UA out of town, hot weather, etc) to see if we could keep the momentum going. And, we did just fine. Sales continue to be going strong, even in the slow month of June!
In other news, interestingly enough, loan officers now need to be licensed (as of May 1st) and it has really weeded out a lot of runnin' and gunnin' types. It is about time! Another point of change on loans, the time to close a deal is lengthening. The usual 30 days is rapidly being replaced by 40 - 45 days. This is largely due to more scrutiny with appraisals, a longer time to appraise than before, and possible re-appraisals if the lender is not satisfied. Loan officers have been asking for more time to fully approve buyers as well, and underwriters are taking more time to review the file before funding.
Please have a safe and sane 4th and enjoy your 4th of July weekend!
Hello to June! Normally a month that is slower in any market, we are all in for a little test here.
If things continue the way they have been going in April and May, we are probably headed for a sustained positive market. So far this first week, I am still hearing about multiple offers on properties that are well priced.
There has been an upward movement in rates, 5% and above instead of 5% and below. The pace of the foreclosures and short sales has not really slowed down, and continue to apply downward pressure on value. But, this is being mitigated by the fact that more than one offer comes in on a lot of these deals. Also stabilizing prices are the fact that several central neighborhoods are experiencing an inventory level of only 2 - 3 months! That hasn't happened in years!
Yes, it is truly happening. It isn't just me! Things have heated up in the market quite nicely! April pendings are up 33% versus April 2008. University of Arizona economist Marshall Vest: "The Tucson market did not get overheated. The prices did not get nearly as far out of line. We don't appear to have nearly the overhang of foreclosed houses here." (as Phoenix) Phoenix and all of Arizona have been experiencing the same, if not greater, up-tick in recent deals made.
Fellow agents around me are complaining that their buyers have "lost out on a home", or, "there were multiple offers", or, the most surprising, "we lost, even though we had an acceleration clause" (a clause in the offer saying the buyer will go higher if need be - nearly an extinct clause so many of us had forgotten). This is all so telling ... we have more/less passed the bottom of the market at this juncture. People are out in great numbers looking and buying homes. Sellers are offering some great deals and deep discounts. But we are not experiencing a lot of downward pressure on values any longer. Inventory continues its dive. Buyers continue to enjoy interest rates with "lifetime lows" now in the 4.75 fixed interest rate range. Please get a hold of me if I may be of any assistance! ~ Alan 918-5258
The market is really gaining momentum out there. I don't even have time to write this blog! Suffice it to say, do it now before the lid blows completely off, it is happening! It may be just me going through a personal large amount of new business; I haven't felt this busy in a couple of years. But the new pending stats seem to be backing me up. Go for it!
There is an up-tick in unit sales. Just as the heat is starting to turn up weather-wise here in Tucson, it seems as if the market is heating up, too. Of course, baby stages of progress give us lots to go on; it has been a long, lonely market. So, anything positive is certainly welcomed!
People are getting that interest rates may not be this low forever. People are getting that choice of homes may not be this great next year. People are getting that it is nice when there's still time to rationally decide which home is right, without the multitudes of competitive buyers breathing down their neck. People are getting that their one, two or three top choices of homes may still there for them, compared to the hot market, where, if they made their decisions leisurely, would undoubtedly be forced to deal with only their 4th, 5th and 6th choices, if that.
Buyers are getting off the sidelines and taking full advantage of this buyers market! This is good news for sellers, obviously. The downside is that values are not going up, and sellers still need to be priced extremely competitively. Although inventory is lower by 25% from 18 months back, they still need to stand out clearly from the crowd. And, a little luck of the Irish won't hurt, either!
A first-time home buyer $8000 tax credit has been created for those who are purchasing a home during the time of (going back to) January 1, 2009 to December 1, 2009. It is a relatively narrow window, but a nice tax credit, nonetheless. The nice part about the deal is that you are actually refunded the difference in cash if you owe less than $8000 on your 2009 taxes. Now note, if the home is sold in within 3 years, the full $8000 is recaptured upon the sale. So, stay in it for longer than 3 years! Yes, it does have to be owner-occupied as a principal residence. And, it is only available to those with an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, or $150,000 or less on a joint return. Any questions, just holler! ~ Alan Aronoff - (520) 918-5258
Not to bore you with the constant stats about this and that, here are just some casual observations of the central Tucson market during the first six weeks of our new year...
1. Open house traffic has increased significantly
2. More buyers have called from signs, ads and online viewing
3. Listings are getting shown more often
4. More deals are being made
5. Very well priced homes are moving quickly
6. Inventory is still on the decrease
7. Interest rates are holding (5% +/-)
8. People are still walking away from their homes if they are
"upside down" and unable right the ship...short sales and
foreclosures are still rampant, but the pace is slowing
9. Short sales and foreclosures continue to keep our values down,
but values are not plummeting, they seem to be stabilizing a bit
Good game, Cards, you made it to the big time and made it VERY interesting...
Those Steelers didn't cover and this could have gone either way ~
You're still the champions in our hearts!
'till next season!
Market has done well this month and unit sales over last year are actually up. 1st time in a while! It is good to see that the usual January uptick is happening, even in the down market.
It could be a signaling of better times ahead. There is a lot of folks out there looking at homes and some of them are serious. Interest rates are staying nicely low. Loans and appraisals are going through smoothly. So, overall this new year, good news thus far. More good news: the Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl - take it to the Steelers this Sunday!
We are rooting for you!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Good Morning Viet Nam! Wow, what a year we have been through! Reflecting on this first morning of this New Year, it is a wonder we made it through. After all the "bombing campaigns"
we endured in 2008, I hope we never have to go there again. Admittedly, I am a bit shell-shocked. It is good to be past 2008. There's nothing like the bottom, and perhaps 2009 shall be that great, flat platform from which we can all rise out of the ashes. Together, I know we can do it!
Have a wonderful year. Go into it with the knowledge that we have incredible offerings out there,
sellers are in ultra-low mindsets, buyers are seeking and finding their dream deals, inventory is continuing to fall, and interest rates have never looked better. I look forward to assisting you in 2009. Better times are ahead, to be sure!
Well, it is that time of year again! People are out shopping, getting together with family and making plans to get out of town. Normal slowdown is being felt in this already quiet market we are in. Folks have more on their mind than real estate, and many would-be sellers are waiting to come on the market in January so they can have their homes undisturbed and open for their family gatherings today.
Not that it is completely dead, but things are slooowwww. Most of the home sales going on in central Tucson today are of the sub-200K variety. A lot of them are inclusive of those short-sales and bank-owned foreclosures which you are always hearing about. They have contributed heavily to home values going down. The value of "central-central" homes, that is, homes between Swan & Main/Oracle, Prince & 22nd, are ending the year down 12%. Number of units closed is down 23%. But, with new listings scarce this month, at least our inventory is not in a chronic over-supply situation. This will help us maintain our new "bottom" values as we head into 2009.
More good news is that interest rates continue to be lower and lower, with this week's rates around 5%, unbelievable! There has been talk that rates may go down to 4.5% with the feds getting involved again, another incentive-stimulus deal. But this plan is only on the table. 4.5% could happen naturally, as well. Lenders are telling us that these ultra-low rates are for borrowers purchasing a home for themselves, not necessarily for re-financing, and definitely not for investment purchases.
Have a Happy Christmas, a Merry Hanukkah, a Good Ramadan and an Awesome Kwanzaa! All the best for a better year ahead. With any luck at all, we'll experience just that!
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Values are continuing to show a downward trend in the recent past months, but stabilizing in areas. As one said, "Tucson is a local market", and there are markets within general markets. Many areas have stabilized. There are great deals out there which are being watched for, and snapped up by, studious buyers. Rates have gotten lower, yet again, this time around the 5.5 % category, and that is always great news!
In the midst of this down market, it is nice to see that more homes actually sold in September '08 than August '08. I know that may be not much to go on...what, with evaporating real estate values, consistent stock market crashes, the shrinking dollar, the closing of doors, layoffs, meltdowns, mergers, bankruptcies, bailouts, foreclosures and short sales, it's a wonder we even get up and function anymore! But, September did beat August in home sales. Our inventory is still nicely down from a year ago. Another great thing is that there is still money to be had if you are purchasing a home.
It is still easy to obtain a loan, provided that you show a good income stream and your credit is in tact. And, we are still running with fairly low interest rates, this week dipping below the 6% mark, again. The bottom line is, if you are a buyer, this is as good a time to buy as any. Out of the many homes for sale out there, you will come across some excellent deals. If you are a seller, however, you may want to hold off until a better market exists. Sellers can still sell their homes in this market of ours, it just takes a tough minded-mentality. You cannot get down when showings are slow. You need to reduce your price, and continue to, until the market wakes up on your property. You must be resilient when the offer you are working with is ultimately much lower than you ever visualized. Good luck, Happy Halloween, hope you get many treats, less tricky stuff!
Interest rates have dipped down very nicely this week as
the implementation of the Fannie-Mae/Freddie-Mac bailout package has commenced. We are seeing rates below 6% for the first time in quite a long while! Do keep this in mind if you feel like you are approaching the "serious" stage of making an offer.
The long awaited housing bill was finally fully approved and passed earlier this month. Fannie-Mae and Freddie Mac can now breathe a little easier. $300 billion is slated to provide mortgages to troubled homeowners. There is a window of opportunity for some first time home buyers. One of these is a creation of a new program, allowing, with certain rules, a first time buyer a $7500 credit to go towards a purchase of a home that the buyer plans to live in themself. This $7500 is a repayable loan, over 15 years, interest free, at $500 per year. Any residual is due and payable upon the sale of the home.
Other new rules... the FHA downpayment minimum has increased from 3% to 3.5%. The window of opportunity is running on past first-time home buyer programs such as Nehemiah and AmeriDream. There's also a new qualifying rule with newly originating loans where lenders will first look to see that an individual does not already have four other loans outstanding. The new loan would not be approvable if one does.
Please call me if I can expand on these new rules, (520) 918-5258, and, as always, it is very advisable to bring your tax adviser in on these discussions! Enjoy the rest of summer!