Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ahwatukee awash in luxury-home deals

by Cathryn Creno The Arizona Republic Apr. 17, 2010 12:00 AM

What does $1 million buy in an Ahwatukee Foothills neighborhood these days?

A lot more than it did five years ago.

In 2005, buyers anxious about being left in the dust during the housing boom signed seven-figure loans to buy semi-custom tract homes: Houses in gated subdivisions with small yards, play pools and three-car garages. Now, as housing experts think prices are close to, if not at, the lowest part of the cycle, a $1 million dollar home in Ahwatukee looks a lot more like a mansion than just a big house in a nice neighborhood.

Longtime Foothills real-estate saleswoman Pam Eagan, for instance, has clients who are scrutinizing three $1 million cash offers for a custom five-bedroom, 4,700-square-foot home that backs to the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. The house, priced at $1.2 million, has a remodeled kitchen, a lap and diving pool with a spa and balcony views of lights from Phoenix and Tempe.

Five years ago, the house would have listed for $1.8 million - and perhaps sold for even more if buyers got into one of the notorious bidding wars of 2005, Eagan said.

"It's a house that has been completely remodeled, and it's at the top of the hill in Ahwatukee Custom Estates," she said. "It backs to the preserve. There are not that many of those that go on the market."

Right now 31 houses for sale in Ahwatukee are priced at $1 million or more. Four are being marketed as "short sales," meaning the lender has agreed to allow the property to be sold for less than the current mortgage to prevent a foreclosure, said John Lincoln, an Ahwatukee real-estate salesman.

"The prices have just come tumbling down," longtime Ahwatukee real-estate broker Mike Mendoza said. "It makes you ask the question, 'Were the prices right to start with?' "

Clearly, the bidding wars that drove Foothills prices up 40 percent in the mid-2000s have ended.

"You can get an absolutely fantastic deal out there right now," said Lincoln, who works with Mendoza and other real-estate sales representatives to close complex mortgage deals.

Geno Ross, who has several million-dollar-plus listings in Ahwatukee, said he shows the homes to three or four potential buyers a week. But many potential buyers play a waiting game with sellers who are near the point of foreclosure or a short sale.

The most expensive house for sale in the Foothills is a 10,000-square-foot house on 4 acres of mountain preserve land. The owner spent more than $4 million to build it in 2007. Now, it is for sale for $3.5 million.

Mark Ketring, the real-estate salesman who listed the $3.5 million property, said buyers can sometimes get more for their dollar in Ahwatukee than in areas that are better known for ultra-high-end homes.

The area also has a good inventory of homes that were built in the past five years, he said.

Ahwatukee awash in luxury-home deals

Real Estate News

HootSuite - Social Media Dashboard