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Commentary and Perspective from one of America's most unique small town areas, edited by Preston Westmoreland of Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty.

     Carefree times name            Preston photo
Volume 4, Winter,  2012 Edition
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This month's quiz- Carefree is the second-hottest real estate zip code in the Phoenix area. Where's the hottest? Scroll down for the answer!
 carefree sign



Foreign Buyers like Arizona! Top Ten Cities Include Phoenix
Realtor Magazine-Dec.2011

 

From Chinese investors flocking to California to Canadian snowbirds heading to Arizona, international home buyers are offering a growing niche for more real estate professionals.

But which places are international investors targeting in their home search? Point2Homes.com evaluated where buyers from overseas are looking online to gauge possible current and future home-purchasing patterns.

Canadian investors have a growing appetite for U.S. real estate, Point2 finds. Canadian investors made up 91.89 percent of the overall international traffic to Arizona listings, 75.90 percent to Hawaii, 73.92 percent to Michigan, 70.55 percent to Nevada, and 65.05 percent to California.

Las Vegas had the highest overall international traffic online among U.S. cities, with Canadians serving as the leading source of traffic there at 70.47 percent, followed by 5.28 percent of the traffic coming from UK residents and 2.19 percent from France.

The top 10 cities for international traffic online by international buyers in the third quarter are:

1. Las Vegas, Nev.

2. Orlando, Fla.

3. Kissimmee, Fla.

4. Detroit, Mich.

5. Pompano-Beach, Fla.

6. Miami, Fla.

7. Mesa, Ariz.

8. Davenport, Fla.

9. Phoenix

10. Indio, Calif.

Overall, Florida emerged as the top state attracting international traffic online for the third-quarter, according to Point2.




Maricopa County Active Listings-    18,949
County Listings in June, 2011-           22,300
Carefree Active Homes Listed-                92
Carefree Active listed in  June 2011         73
Carefree Bank-owned homes-                    5
Carefree Homes Under Contract-              9
Carefree Homes sold last 30 days-             4
Cave Creek Active Homes Listed-         196
Cave Creek Homes Under Contract-    124
Cave Creek Bank-owned Homes-           45
Cave Creek homes sold last 30 days-      73
Scottsdale Active Homes-                     1730
Scottsdale Homes Under Contract-      783
Scottsdale Bank-Owned Homes-          239
Scottsdale Homes sold last 30 days-     467
Paradise Valley Active Listings-            272
PV Homes Under Contract-                    52
Paradise Valley Bank-owned Homes-  18
PV Homes sold last 30 days-                   39
Top Home Sale in the Valley
last 6 months-10814 E. Heritage Ct, 1610 Silverleaf, Scottsdale       $6.2  million

 

 

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Real estate hot tips
Insider Commentary by Preston Westmoreland
C
arefree (PW)- The Arizona Republic recently reported a story that we had been expecting...The Carefree area is one of the hottest zipcodes in the entire Phoenix area, only exceeded by Scottsdale zip code 85262, which surrounds the area.  We have been telling naysayers looking for homes that they missed the bottom up North but could still lock in on the rising prices.  One couple reportedly spent a week in the area but found they "couldn't steal" anything like before.  And indeed, look at the shrinking inventory.  Just after Christmas, when this piece was being written, the number of condos and homes on the Active market, in Maricopa County, was now down to 18,940, having been to 60,000 several years before.  The red-hot rental market has snatched up many of the deals while investors began renting to former homeowners who had to give the house back to the lenders.  With no ability to buy for years, they now must rent.  And going into the busy rental season, if you can find any more good  in-season rental deals, you may end up paying $5,000 a month for a simple home in a planned community like Terravita.  Carefree has one of the highest rental prices on a 12,500 sq. ft. luxury home, on the market on Languid Lane,  for $9,000 a month lease!
     And some experts predict lot sales will begin to increase in 2012, with frustrated homebuyers unable to find exactly what they are looking for anymore, and deciding to build their perfect dream home.  Land is now the big value waiting to be plucked.  There was a time when you could purchase a home cheaper than you could buy the lot and build the home.  In some areas, with rising home prices, that could change.  Fantastic building sites can be had, with lots of privacy, in gated Carefree communities like Entrada, for around $295,000. 



What's in a Rock?And why does it matter?
Cave Creek (PW) There's been a fortune made selling rocks to homeowners and businesses in the Greater Phoenix area, to replicate or restore the fantastic desert that surrounds us.  And  except for dramatic cactus plantings, nothing makes a statement like massive boulders strewn artistically around a yard,  or entrance to a mall or housing development.  But few people have seen where many of these rocks are harvested, Northwest of Wickenburg, near the old mining camp of Congress.  On a recent flight over the area, we took a photo (below) of the spider web-like labyrinth of roads, as workers gather boulders off the surface of the Earth.
rock field
There's a big difference in the quality of a rock placed in a yard.  The most sought-after boulders are gathered on top of the ground, where they display centuries of weathering, deep fractures, dark manganese stains and patches of lichen, such as the one below:
boulderfrom the surfaceLess expensive quarry rocks are used for shopping center entrances or landscaping where the look is not as critical. They are known as "shot rock" and can be heavily fractured by explosives as they are sheared off. these rocks, while cheaper to buy, lack the character that a good aridscape (desert) yard should have. Surface-gathered decomposed granite boulders, such as the one above, can cost $500 or more and require a crane to set into place. Note the difference in the cheaper quarry rock pictured below:
 quarry rock



  indian window


House with ruins is a big hit! Sellers request TV reporters not to feature their North Scottsdale home!Carefree (PW) Veteran realtors who had seen thousands of homes in their career, never saw one like this.  Sure, there are a lot of nice homes out there with great remodel potential, some of some spectacular views, but not many border the National Forest and almost none have ruins of an ancient Hohokam village with 30 rooms or more, dating back to 1100 AD!  And all this in a residential area.  While the home is under contract at press time, the seller's have requested we not use the home's address as they don't want any unescorted visitors on this remarkable property.  The residence, which sites on a picturesque bluff, contains almost 6 acres of land and with the help of the Pueblo Grande Museum, and countless volunteers, the walls and ruins have been stabilized and the site registered as one of the most important local Native American sites around Phoenix.   
    And it is true.  TV stations in Phoenix made numerous requests to do a story on the property, listed for sale for $449,000 by Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty.  The requests  were politely turned down to maintain the integrity of this rare historical land. 
    Scientists have found that the dwellers on the property made small dams on the wash to irrigate corn, beans and squash. They may have been smaller bands of Indians, moving Northward out of the valley for cooler weather.  Artifacts have also been recovered indicating they had made clothes on the site as well
scattered ruins

(photo above)  Some of the 30-rooms of this ancient site on a residential parcel in North Scottsdale. The Pueblo Grande Museum is categorizing some of the many recovered items by archeologists.


Answer to this month's quiz- The hottest zipcode in Phoenix real estate is Scottsdale's 85262
The hottest zip code has seen prices increase 12.7%, while Carefree's prices went up 9.3%.  This 85262 zipcode, by the way, is in North Scottsdale and surrounds Carefree, and includes part of the stunning Boulders Resort (photo below)  Only 5 zip codes in Phoenix went up last year.  The Arizona Republic reports Phoenix went down 18% and Paradise Valley dropped 9.3%
boulders resort



Buyers need to know: Phoenix is a "pocket" real estate market
Phoenix) PW  National homebuyers coming into the Phoenix market are always perplexed that the sales numbers and market intensities don't match up with what is reported back in the hometown papers in Detroit or Atlanta.  It's because of the astoundingly diverse real estate market.  While the Southeast areas like Queen Creek or Northwest parts like Surprise can languish  with depressed housing, and  tons of bank-owned properties, areas like Carefree and North Scottsdale can take off like a rocket!  There are niches, some of them extreme, in the desirability of housing.  Something to discuss with your Realtor before the search begins.