Sunday, October 9, 2011

Scottsdale-area home prices edge up in 3 areas

Scottsdale-area housing prices have continued to slide lower this year, but the far-northern region of the city and Carefree showed some healthy gains from a year ago.

It is the first time in four years that any of the Northeast Valley ZIP codes have shown any year-over-year price increases.

Median-home prices in Carefree through Aug. 31 were up 9.4 percent over 2010 and jumped 12.7 percent in the 85262 ZIP code northeast of Pima and Jomax roads. Rio Verde's prices edged up 1.6 percent.

Those three areas were among five ZIP codes out of 120 in Maricopa County that had an increase in median prices.

Twelve other ZIP codes in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Cave Creek and Fountain Hills all had declines in median prices ranging from 1 to 16 percent.

"People are picking up some pretty good deals," said Fletcher Wilcox, a Grand Canyon Title Agency vice president who tracks the Valley housing market.

The Republic, using data from the Information Market, analyzed housing prices and foreclosures for the first eight months of 2011 compared with last year.

There were 4,829 existing homes sold in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Carefree, Cave Creek, Fountain Hills and Rio Verde. About 21 percent of those sales were foreclosures.

Foreclosures accounted for 12 percent of 50 sales in Rio Verde and 36 percent of 314 sales in the 85257 ZIP code in Scottsdale south of Thomas Road.

The overall Valley median price of existing homes was $116,500.

Northeast Valley median prices for existing homes ranged from $136,006 in far southern Scottsdale to $500,000 in the 85255 ZIP code that includes McDowell Mountain Ranch and DC Ranch and $1.06 million for Paradise Valley.

Wilcox said the luxury market has been hurt by an excess of inventory that is putting downward pressure on prices.

There is a three- to five-year supply of homes priced over $3 million. By contrast, there is only a three-month supply of homes priced from $400,000 to $499,000, he said.

"I see some fantastic deals in Scottsdale Ranch and the East Shea (Boulevard) corridor," Wilcox said. "That is a really hot price range."

People who lost their homes to foreclosures or short sales are turning around and renting homes to be able to stay in their neighborhood, he said.

Bob Bullock, a longtime agent with Realty Executives, said single-family homes in Scottsdale leasing for $1,300 to $2,000 are in heavy demand.

Scottsdale-area median prices have been flat, but sales have been brisk, fewer bank-owned properties are on the market and short sales are closing a lot quicker, he said.

"What we need is for all of these people who needed to short-sale their homes, we need for them to be able to get back in the market," he said.

Bullock said he recently closed a short sale on a townhouse on Granite Reef Road south of McDowell Road for $78,000.

An investor bought the newly remodeled 1,145-square-foot home and quickly rented it for $900.

In another deal earlier this year, Bullock said he handled the sale of a three-bedroom, 1,852-square-foot home in the 85260 ZIP code that went for $245,000, or about $132 per square foot.

He and others warn that buyers cannot be assured that prices will continue to decline.

"The market will turn, and when it does, the general public will realize about six months later," Bullock said.

Fletcher of Grand Canyon Title said prices could still go down but any savings that could come from waiting to buy could be wiped out by an increase in interest rates.

"If I were to wait, I could lose if interest rates go up 2 points," he said.

by Peter Corbett The Arizona Republic Oct. 8, 2011 06:15 AM

Scottsdale-area home prices edge up in 3 areas

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