Sunday, October 3, 2010

Paradise Valley falls on priciest ZIP codes list

There goes the neighborhood.

Exclusive Paradise Valley, once among the nation's priciest enclaves, continues to fall on Forbes magazine's list of America's most expensive ZIP codes. Two years ago, 85253 was No. 34. Last year, it was No. 60. Today, it's No. 78, with the median home price down 19 percent to $1.68 million.

Paradise Valley's spot is way down the list from top-ranked 91008 in Duarte, Calif., a northeast Los Angeles suburb where homes go for $4.28 million. Better-known 90210 in Beverly Hills checks in at No. 6 with midpoint sales at $3.68 million.

But Paradise Valley Mayor Scott LeMarr isn't panicking about the town's continued decline on the pricey-property list.

"I shed tears about a lot of other things but not that one," he said.

However, the struggling real-estate market is hurting the town's budget. Paradise Valley is considering implementing a fire-service fee for its 14,000 residents to offset an expected $2.5 million shortfall.

With a glut of luxury properties on the market, few homes are being built and construction sales-tax revenue is way down.

In 2007, the town issued 118 residential-building permits. That dropped to 25 last year and 11 this year through September, LeMarr said.

Paradise Valley has 283 homes listed for sale at more than $1 million, and 34 of them are distressed properties such as pre-foreclosures and short sales, according to Valley real-estate agent Tom Tischer.

There also is an undetermined amount of "phantom inventory," homes in which banks are choosing not to foreclose on residents who have not paid their mortgages for a year or more, he said.

It could take another four years for the Paradise Valley market to recover, Tischer said.

85253 is one of three Arizona ZIP codes on the Forbes list.

The other two are both in northern Scottsdale: 85262 is No. 203, and 85266 is No. 438.

by Peter Corbett The Arizona Republic Oct. 2, 2010 12:00 AM

Paradise Valley falls on priciest ZIP codes list

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