The federal government’s 15-month-old home-loan modification program has not been the foreclosure rescue plan many Phoenix-area homeowners expected.
Slow lender response, piles of paperwork and drawn-out trial periods have frustrated many struggling homeowners. more…
If you ask Liz Dawn Donahue, she will say that the failed Reflections on the Canal project does not reflect well on her downtown neighborhood.
She is angry that the townhouse and condominium project has disrupted the area southwest of the Arizona Canal and Chaparral Road for close to five years. Donahue is still looking at construction fencing and vacant lots. more…
Jerry Colangelo was on his way to dinner at the Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa in March when a group of golfers watching an NBA game at a lobby bar recognized him.
The former owner of the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks asked the guests where they were going for dinner. more…
Financial-reform legislation being debated in Congress aims to rein in the wild use of derivatives on Wall Street. Yet if certain proposals become law, everyday companies, including many in Arizona, also could get hog-tied.
Provisions involving derivatives are among the most contested parts of the legislation. They could open up the nebulous derivatives market to more scrutiny, force banks to spin off a lot of their business and push more trading onto exchanges. more…
The Ellman Cos.has defaulted on $177.1 million in loans it received from the Cayman Islands branch of Credit Suisse AG in 2006 and 2007 to purchase about 2,500 acres of land east of Fountain Hills.
WASHINGTON - Taking aim at deceptive lending, the Senate on Wednesday voted to ban mortgage brokers and loan officers from getting greater pay for offering higher interest rates on loans and to require that borrowers prove they can repay their loans. more…
Several pieces of important Arizona legislation that would have slowed foreclosures and potentially aided in the recovery of the housing market died in the recent session.
But some key bills did survive, and the new laws will help. more…
by Justin Doom Arizona Republic May. 10, 2010 12:00 AM
The short sale
has gone upscale.
For years, renters and homebuyers were told they couldn’t afford a home if it cost more than 30 percent of their income.
Now, an influential research center has come up with another yardstick that it says more accurately measures whether your choice of housing is beyond your means: The combined cost of housing and transportation shouldn’t exceed 45 percent of your income. more…
The number of Phoenix-area homeowners losing houses to foreclosure fell 20 percent in April, a drop that could signal more successful, or at least temporary, loan modifications.
There still are many people facing foreclosure, even though pre-foreclosures dropped as well. Last month, lenders started foreclosure proceedings on 7,064 Valley homes, down 12 percent from March. Foreclosures for April hit 4,446. more…
A bill seeking to regulate a powerful group of intermediaries in the home-appraisal process received approval in the waning hours of the legislative session Thursday and now awaits Gov. Jan Brewer’s signature.
A group of Arizona real-estate appraisers helped draft Senate Bill 1351, which they said would force a group of real-estate firms known as appraisal-management companies to meet higher standards of conduct and to disclose their fees to consumers. more…
People looking for family-size houses to rent in Phoenix-area neighborhoods have far fewer choices.
Since September, the number of available rental homes in metropolitan Phoenix has dropped by 40 percent, and probably even more than that when it comes to three- to four-bedroom homes in desirable neighborhoods.
The sharp drop is another ripple effect of the foreclosure crisis. more…
Freddie Mac released its financial reports for the first quarter of 2010 showing a net loss of 6.7 billion and announced that its Conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), will be asking the Department of the Treasury for a draw of $10.6 billion under the Senior Preferred Stock Purchase Agreement. more…
Nationwide reaction to Arizona’s new immigration law has been fast and furious in its first week, and fallout from the controversy ultimately could hit a broad range of the state’s businesses.
The Arizona Hotel and Lodging Association said Friday that 19 meetings representing 15,000 room nights have been canceled because of the immigration law. more…
With unemployment high and people desperate for money, work-at-home, credit-repair and business-opportunity scams are proliferating, with Arizona home base for many of them.
Regulators say Arizona is a hotbed of boiler rooms where skilled telemarketers sell vulnerable people business opportunities that can drain their bank accounts and max out their credit cards. Smooth-talking salespeople offer victims a chance to get out of debt, stop foreclosures and live on easy street for up-front fees that can start small and grow exponentially. more…
by Jan Buchholz Phoenix Business Journal April 30, 2010
Paradise Valley luxury homes are trading at a rapid clip, and one agent who specializes in the affluent neighborhood says she has more buyers than properties.
“I need more inventory,” said Lauren Ellington, agent for Realty Executives Premier Marketing Group.
Since the first of the year, high-end homes have been selling “like hotcakes,” she said.
Chris Karas, an agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, has been involved in a number of high-end Paradise Valley sales since the beginning of the year — including the most expensive one to date.
The property, located near the northeast slopes of Camelback Mountain, was a 12,000-square-foot spec house constructed on 2 acres and completed in 2009. It sold for $6.6 million in February.
“It was to be priced about $12 million when the builder broke ground,” Karas said.
In this case, the buyers were local residents looking to upgrade. But the vast majority of recent sales in Paradise Valley have involved out-of-state and out-of-country buyers, according to Ellington, Karas and veteran broker Walt Danley, founder of the Walt Danley Group.
“The PV buyers are from the Midwest, in their late 40s and early 50s, and they’re planning for retirement,” Danley said. “They can afford to buy these homes for the (enjoyment of their) grandchildren.”
Although Midwest buyers predominate with Danley, Karas has worked with buyers from all over the world: London, Germany, South Africa, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. They are a combination of old and new money, he said. Many are retirement age, but several have been in their late 20s and early 30s.
They aren’t shopping remotely, either.
“They are very savvy buyers. They do their research. They come into town. They are looking for quality,” Karas said.
“These aren’t bottom-feeders or lowballers,” she said.
Even though the Leads section of the Phoenix Business Journal has recorded nearly 50 notices of trustee sale on Paradise Valley homes since the beginning of the year, Danley said foreclosures are not driving the market as much as they were a year ago.
“Most of the foreclosures have come and gone,” Danley said. “They were mostly builders’ spec homes.”
Short sales — deals that a seller works out with a buyer for less than what is owed on the mortgage — are the dominant model, Danley said. However, Ellington said short sales and lender-owned properties are not necessarily the best deals.
“With those properties, there’s a bidding war,” she said.
Prices can escalate quickly and may ultimately exceed the cost of a comparable traditional sale. In fact, they can quickly become lousy deals.
Short sales come with additional challenges, including timing.
“Buyers are afraid of them. They can take two, three, four months,” Danley said. “I had one that was in escrow for six months.”
Moreover, Ellington said short sales can be tainted by loan managers who are afraid to pull the trigger.
“Sometimes you have to get a hold of the head honcho and tell them, ‘Here’s the deal your people rejected,’” she said.
Banks dragging their feet have nothing to do with the quality of buyers, she added.
“They’re people who can put half down. They have credit scores of 800 and great job income,” Ellington said.
Cash is king for now, with cash deals closing within days with no appraisal required.
Ironically, although many of the Paradise Valley foreclosures involved spec homes that builders couldn’t sell once the market tanked, there is a new opportunity for buyers to build custom homes at great prices because land prices and construction costs have dropped.
“Builders are picking up lots for build-to-suits. There are still great pieces of dirt in PV,” Karas said.
Danley said he expects the dealing to continue through June, even though other high-end neighborhoods, such as North Scottsdale, have reached the end of their selling cycle for this year with the snowbirds headed home.
“It’s like the last one out, turn off the lights,” Danley said.
In Paradise Valley, transactions should continue because the best prices may be the current ones.
“If buyers wait until next season, it might be too late,” he said.
Realty Executives: www.realtyexecutives.com
Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International: www.russlyon.com
Walt Danley Group: www.waltdanley.com
Paradise Valley Sales
Paradise Valley ZIP code 85253 has some of the Valley’s most exclusive homes for sale. Here are some details on those sales:
219 Active listings priced at more than $2 million
22 Active listings that are lender-owned
23 Homes sold for more than $2 million, Jan. 1 to April 27
10 Homes sold for more than $2 million and paid for with cash, Jan. 1 to April 27
$6.6 M Highest-priced home sold so far this year in Paradise Valley, 5335 N. Wilkinson Road
Valley homebuilders, hoping to cash in on pent-up demand for new houses, are offering new design and green features to entice buyers. Fence-sitting consumers will find stone-veneer exterior finishes, wood floors, large walk-in showers, push-button kitchen faucets, energy-efficient windows and appliances, and more emphasis on outdoor living space in smaller houses. more…
On Tuesday the House Financial Services Committee approved a request by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to raise the ceiling on annual FHA mortgage insurance premiums from its current level of 0.55 percent.
FHA had requested the increase as one part of a plan aimed at shoring up its capital reserves which have dropped below the 2 percent required by law. The agency already raised the up-front premium charged to borrowers closing effective April 9. If the full Congress approves the annual increase, FHA will then shift some of the upfront premium to an annual premium to reduce the burden on borrowers at closing. more…
If you want to know what’s happening with Phoenix home prices now and in the near future, think “pancake,” according to Arizona State University professor Karl Guntermann.
“Median prices are really pretty flat,” said Guntermann, a real-estate professor at ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business, adding that he doesn’t expect anything different for the rest of this year. more…
Hairdresser Robin Corey had to wait nearly five decades, but the Chandler woman this month finally became a homeowner.
Corey, 49, is a single mother who has worked as a hairdresser for 31 years. She’s been fortunate enough to keep a job and provide for her son, but she never thought she’d make enough money to own a house. more…