Sunday, July 8, 2012

Why it's time to break up the 'too big to fail' banks - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet

FORTUNE -- America is downsizing. Whether it's the food we eat, the cars we drive, or the houses we live in, Americans are concluding that smaller is better. Even U.S. corporations are starting to see the benefit of more Lilliputian institutions; the impending -- and widely hailed -- breakups of McGraw-Hill (MHP) and Kraft (KFT) are two examples.

So what about banks? It would surely be in the government's interest to downsize megabanks. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) continues to push his bill to split apart the largest institutions. Regulators have new authority to order divestitures under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. From a shareholder standpoint, government breakups have a pretty good outcome. It worked out well for John D. Rockefeller, whose shares in Standard Oil doubled after it was ordered to break up. Ditto for those who owned stock in AT&T (T).

Yet with gridlock in Washington, don't count on politicians for a solution.

Shareholders, however, have an interest in demanding that big banks split apart.

Comparing the valuation for the supersize banks (Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), and J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM)) with their simpler, leaner competitors isn't pretty. Price/earnings per share for the supersizers averages 5.8, compared with 8.1 for smaller, more focused Wells Fargo (WFC) and 8.1 for the bigger regional banks like U.S. Bancorp (USB) and PNC (PNC). More telling is the ratio of share price to tangible book value. For the supersizers, the average is 72% of book, compared with 165% for Wells and 142% for the big regionals. Chase's strong performance holds up the average for the supersizers, but even its price to book is only 110%. Wells' superior performance suggests that complexity is a bigger drag on returns than size is. Even though Wells' assets exceed $1 trillion, it has pretty much stuck to its basic business of taking deposits and making loans, and in the process has consistently delivered solid returns.

10 best stocks for 2012

Before the financial crisis, the supersizers benefited from high levels of leverage and cheap debt funding costs from their "too big to fail" status. All that has changed. Capital requirements are going up significantly for mega-institutions. The cost of borrowing will rise, too, as bondholders come to realize that Dodd-Frank means what it says: no more bailouts. New rules on liquidity, proprietary trading, and derivatives will also eat into earnings. So it is hard to see how the megabanks' numbers can improve.

Supersizers argue that their scale is necessary to meet the financial needs of multinational corporations. But it's not clear that multinationals find it advantageous to do business with a handful of financial titans. Dealing with smaller, more focused institutions provides specialized expertise and less risk of conflicts. If there were really that much value in supersizer services, presumably it would show up in shareholder returns. But it doesn't.

Supersizers also argue that their economies of scale can lower costs for customers. Studies show that some economies of scale do exist, but they are limited by management difficulties in overseeing many different business lines. So while average overhead costs go down, average revenues go down even more. This effect can be mitigated by strong management, as Chase's exceptional performance demonstrates. But how many Jamie Dimons are out there?

At the beginning of the year, Citi's share price was trading at 58% of tangible book value, while BofA was trading at 48%. If Citi and BofA were broken up into smaller institutions that traded at price to tangible book ratios on par with the average of the big regionals, their shareholders would see $270 billion in appreciation. JPM shareholders would see $52 billion in appreciation.

So, shareholders, get ye to the boards that represent you and ask them loudly about whether your company would be worth more in easier-to-understand pieces. The public-policy benefits of smaller, simpler banks are clear. It may be in the enlightened self-interest of shareholders as well.

by Sheila Bair CNNMoney.com Jan 18, 2012

Why it's time to break up the 'too big to fail' banks - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet

Why it's time to break up the 'too big to fail' banks - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet

FORTUNE -- America is downsizing. Whether it's the food we eat, the cars we drive, or the houses we live in, Americans are concluding that smaller is better. Even U.S. corporations are starting to see the benefit of more Lilliputian institutions; the impending -- and widely hailed -- breakups of McGraw-Hill (MHP) and Kraft (KFT) are two examples.

So what about banks? It would surely be in the government's interest to downsize megabanks. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) continues to push his bill to split apart the largest institutions. Regulators have new authority to order divestitures under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. From a shareholder standpoint, government breakups have a pretty good outcome. It worked out well for John D. Rockefeller, whose shares in Standard Oil doubled after it was ordered to break up. Ditto for those who owned stock in AT&T (T).

Yet with gridlock in Washington, don't count on politicians for a solution.

Shareholders, however, have an interest in demanding that big banks split apart.

Comparing the valuation for the supersize banks (Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), and J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM)) with their simpler, leaner competitors isn't pretty. Price/earnings per share for the supersizers averages 5.8, compared with 8.1 for smaller, more focused Wells Fargo (WFC) and 8.1 for the bigger regional banks like U.S. Bancorp (USB) and PNC (PNC). More telling is the ratio of share price to tangible book value. For the supersizers, the average is 72% of book, compared with 165% for Wells and 142% for the big regionals. Chase's strong performance holds up the average for the supersizers, but even its price to book is only 110%. Wells' superior performance suggests that complexity is a bigger drag on returns than size is. Even though Wells' assets exceed $1 trillion, it has pretty much stuck to its basic business of taking deposits and making loans, and in the process has consistently delivered solid returns.

10 best stocks for 2012

Before the financial crisis, the supersizers benefited from high levels of leverage and cheap debt funding costs from their "too big to fail" status. All that has changed. Capital requirements are going up significantly for mega-institutions. The cost of borrowing will rise, too, as bondholders come to realize that Dodd-Frank means what it says: no more bailouts. New rules on liquidity, proprietary trading, and derivatives will also eat into earnings. So it is hard to see how the megabanks' numbers can improve.

Supersizers argue that their scale is necessary to meet the financial needs of multinational corporations. But it's not clear that multinationals find it advantageous to do business with a handful of financial titans. Dealing with smaller, more focused institutions provides specialized expertise and less risk of conflicts. If there were really that much value in supersizer services, presumably it would show up in shareholder returns. But it doesn't.

Supersizers also argue that their economies of scale can lower costs for customers. Studies show that some economies of scale do exist, but they are limited by management difficulties in overseeing many different business lines. So while average overhead costs go down, average revenues go down even more. This effect can be mitigated by strong management, as Chase's exceptional performance demonstrates. But how many Jamie Dimons are out there?

At the beginning of the year, Citi's share price was trading at 58% of tangible book value, while BofA was trading at 48%. If Citi and BofA were broken up into smaller institutions that traded at price to tangible book ratios on par with the average of the big regionals, their shareholders would see $270 billion in appreciation. JPM shareholders would see $52 billion in appreciation.

So, shareholders, get ye to the boards that represent you and ask them loudly about whether your company would be worth more in easier-to-understand pieces. The public-policy benefits of smaller, simpler banks are clear. It may be in the enlightened self-interest of shareholders as well.

by Sheila Bair CNNMoney.com Jan 18, 2012

Why it's time to break up the 'too big to fail' banks - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet

Why it's time to break up the 'too big to fail' banks - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet

FORTUNE -- America is downsizing. Whether it's the food we eat, the cars we drive, or the houses we live in, Americans are concluding that smaller is better. Even U.S. corporations are starting to see the benefit of more Lilliputian institutions; the impending -- and widely hailed -- breakups of McGraw-Hill (MHP) and Kraft (KFT) are two examples.

So what about banks? It would surely be in the government's interest to downsize megabanks. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) continues to push his bill to split apart the largest institutions. Regulators have new authority to order divestitures under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law. From a shareholder standpoint, government breakups have a pretty good outcome. It worked out well for John D. Rockefeller, whose shares in Standard Oil doubled after it was ordered to break up. Ditto for those who owned stock in AT&T (T).

Yet with gridlock in Washington, don't count on politicians for a solution.

Shareholders, however, have an interest in demanding that big banks split apart.

Comparing the valuation for the supersize banks (Citigroup (C), Bank of America (BAC), and J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM)) with their simpler, leaner competitors isn't pretty. Price/earnings per share for the supersizers averages 5.8, compared with 8.1 for smaller, more focused Wells Fargo (WFC) and 8.1 for the bigger regional banks like U.S. Bancorp (USB) and PNC (PNC). More telling is the ratio of share price to tangible book value. For the supersizers, the average is 72% of book, compared with 165% for Wells and 142% for the big regionals. Chase's strong performance holds up the average for the supersizers, but even its price to book is only 110%. Wells' superior performance suggests that complexity is a bigger drag on returns than size is. Even though Wells' assets exceed $1 trillion, it has pretty much stuck to its basic business of taking deposits and making loans, and in the process has consistently delivered solid returns.

10 best stocks for 2012

Before the financial crisis, the supersizers benefited from high levels of leverage and cheap debt funding costs from their "too big to fail" status. All that has changed. Capital requirements are going up significantly for mega-institutions. The cost of borrowing will rise, too, as bondholders come to realize that Dodd-Frank means what it says: no more bailouts. New rules on liquidity, proprietary trading, and derivatives will also eat into earnings. So it is hard to see how the megabanks' numbers can improve.

Supersizers argue that their scale is necessary to meet the financial needs of multinational corporations. But it's not clear that multinationals find it advantageous to do business with a handful of financial titans. Dealing with smaller, more focused institutions provides specialized expertise and less risk of conflicts. If there were really that much value in supersizer services, presumably it would show up in shareholder returns. But it doesn't.

Supersizers also argue that their economies of scale can lower costs for customers. Studies show that some economies of scale do exist, but they are limited by management difficulties in overseeing many different business lines. So while average overhead costs go down, average revenues go down even more. This effect can be mitigated by strong management, as Chase's exceptional performance demonstrates. But how many Jamie Dimons are out there?

At the beginning of the year, Citi's share price was trading at 58% of tangible book value, while BofA was trading at 48%. If Citi and BofA were broken up into smaller institutions that traded at price to tangible book ratios on par with the average of the big regionals, their shareholders would see $270 billion in appreciation. JPM shareholders would see $52 billion in appreciation.

So, shareholders, get ye to the boards that represent you and ask them loudly about whether your company would be worth more in easier-to-understand pieces. The public-policy benefits of smaller, simpler banks are clear. It may be in the enlightened self-interest of shareholders as well.

by Sheila Bair CNNMoney.com Jan 18, 2012

Why it's time to break up the 'too big to fail' banks - The Term Sheet: Fortune's deals blog Term Sheet

Gilbert weighs apartments

At least four developers are looking to build hundreds of apartments in Gilbert, forcing town leaders to weigh the benefits and challenges associated with adding more multifamily housing .

A recent proposal from the New York-based Rockefeller Group for a 402-unit apartment complex near Recker and Warner roads is the latest of four projects submitted to town officials during the last year.

Two major complexes have been approved and are moving forward with construction, with two others still working through zoning changes and design approval.

The four complexes would bring a combined 1,312 new apartments to Gilbert, increasing the town's existing multifamily inventory by 18 percent. The apartments could increase Gilbert's population by about 3,000 to 4,000 people.

Medium and high-density residential projects have often been met with opposition from civic leaders and town residents, who decry a perceived negative impact on land values an expected increases in traffic and crime.

Mayor John Lewis, however, said there is a need for multifamily housing in Gilbert, and land has been set aside in the town's General Plan for apartments and condos.

But high-density housing is not a priority, and the Town Council is unlikely to support proposals that replace valuable commercial space with apartments, Lewis said.

Recent proposals for new complexes include the following:

Gateway North Apartments, near the northeastern corner of Recker and Warner roads.

Val Vista and Pecos apartments, on the northwestern corner of Val Vista Drive and Pecos Road.

Highland Groves Luxury Apartments, on the northeastern corner of Elliot Road and Beebe Street.

SanTan Village Apartments, next to the DoubleTree hotel and near SanTan Village mall.

by Parker Leavitt - Jul. 6, 2012 12:26 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Gilbert weighs apartments

Gilbert weighs apartments

At least four developers are looking to build hundreds of apartments in Gilbert, forcing town leaders to weigh the benefits and challenges associated with adding more multifamily housing .

A recent proposal from the New York-based Rockefeller Group for a 402-unit apartment complex near Recker and Warner roads is the latest of four projects submitted to town officials during the last year.

Two major complexes have been approved and are moving forward with construction, with two others still working through zoning changes and design approval.

The four complexes would bring a combined 1,312 new apartments to Gilbert, increasing the town's existing multifamily inventory by 18 percent. The apartments could increase Gilbert's population by about 3,000 to 4,000 people.

Medium and high-density residential projects have often been met with opposition from civic leaders and town residents, who decry a perceived negative impact on land values an expected increases in traffic and crime.

Mayor John Lewis, however, said there is a need for multifamily housing in Gilbert, and land has been set aside in the town's General Plan for apartments and condos.

But high-density housing is not a priority, and the Town Council is unlikely to support proposals that replace valuable commercial space with apartments, Lewis said.

Recent proposals for new complexes include the following:

Gateway North Apartments, near the northeastern corner of Recker and Warner roads.

Val Vista and Pecos apartments, on the northwestern corner of Val Vista Drive and Pecos Road.

Highland Groves Luxury Apartments, on the northeastern corner of Elliot Road and Beebe Street.

SanTan Village Apartments, next to the DoubleTree hotel and near SanTan Village mall.

by Parker Leavitt - Jul. 6, 2012 12:26 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Gilbert weighs apartments

Gilbert weighs apartments

At least four developers are looking to build hundreds of apartments in Gilbert, forcing town leaders to weigh the benefits and challenges associated with adding more multifamily housing .

A recent proposal from the New York-based Rockefeller Group for a 402-unit apartment complex near Recker and Warner roads is the latest of four projects submitted to town officials during the last year.

Two major complexes have been approved and are moving forward with construction, with two others still working through zoning changes and design approval.

The four complexes would bring a combined 1,312 new apartments to Gilbert, increasing the town's existing multifamily inventory by 18 percent. The apartments could increase Gilbert's population by about 3,000 to 4,000 people.

Medium and high-density residential projects have often been met with opposition from civic leaders and town residents, who decry a perceived negative impact on land values an expected increases in traffic and crime.

Mayor John Lewis, however, said there is a need for multifamily housing in Gilbert, and land has been set aside in the town's General Plan for apartments and condos.

But high-density housing is not a priority, and the Town Council is unlikely to support proposals that replace valuable commercial space with apartments, Lewis said.

Recent proposals for new complexes include the following:

Gateway North Apartments, near the northeastern corner of Recker and Warner roads.

Val Vista and Pecos apartments, on the northwestern corner of Val Vista Drive and Pecos Road.

Highland Groves Luxury Apartments, on the northeastern corner of Elliot Road and Beebe Street.

SanTan Village Apartments, next to the DoubleTree hotel and near SanTan Village mall.

by Parker Leavitt - Jul. 6, 2012 12:26 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Gilbert weighs apartments

Decrease in foreclosures increases bidding wars

Bidding wars among investors and regular homebuyers continue to escalate because of the lack of supply.

Residential foreclosures in metro Phoenix fell again last month.

That's good news for some struggling homeowners, but it means fewer bargain-priced homes on the market for potential buyers.

In June, lenders took back 1,719 homes, according to AZ Bidder. That's about 300 fewer than in May.

Demand for commercial properties is also heating up as banks move to take back fewer office, industrial and retail properties in the region and small-business owners compete with investors for the shrinking supply of foreclosure buildings for sale.

"It is competitive out there now to buy commercial properties," said Beth Jo Zeitzer, president of Phoenix-based R.O.I. Properties.

Only about 120 of the foreclosures in metro Phoenix last month came on commercial properties.

Now, the majority of commercial-real-estate buyers in the Phoenix area are individuals and owner-occupants trying to buy their own facility before prices climb too high again.

Unlike with residential foreclosures, Zeitzer said, many individuals and small-business owners are able to compete with investors on commercial foreclosure deals.

But Zeitzer said that as in the residential market, commercial foreclosures have already peaked and will likely continue to decline.

Freescale site makeover

Phoenix's Wentworth Property Co. was launched in 2005 during the real-estate boom.

But the commercial-real-estate firm, led by veteran real-estate broker and developer Jim Wentworth and his son Jim Jr., took on its biggest project during the downturn.

Last summer, Wentworth and partner Northwood Investors paid $53.7 million for a 136-acre commercial project in Tempe at Elliot Road and Loop 101.

Freescale Semiconductor sold the office park and is leasing back three of its buildings. Another three are vacant and ready to lease.

The Wentworth group renamed the project at the former Motorola campus -- which had become home to Freescale -- Discovery Business Park. The real-estate firm spent another $13 million renovating the business park's buildings, parking and landscaping.

"Discovery Business Park will end up being more than a $200 million deal that will take us through the next cycle," Jim Wentworth Jr. said.

Discovery Business Park is zoned for another 1.6 million square feet of office, retail and hotel space.

by Catherine Reagor - Jul. 6, 2012 03:01 PM The Republic | azcentral.com




Decrease in foreclosures increases bidding wars

Decrease in foreclosures increases bidding wars

Bidding wars among investors and regular homebuyers continue to escalate because of the lack of supply.

Residential foreclosures in metro Phoenix fell again last month.

That's good news for some struggling homeowners, but it means fewer bargain-priced homes on the market for potential buyers.

In June, lenders took back 1,719 homes, according to AZ Bidder. That's about 300 fewer than in May.

Demand for commercial properties is also heating up as banks move to take back fewer office, industrial and retail properties in the region and small-business owners compete with investors for the shrinking supply of foreclosure buildings for sale.

"It is competitive out there now to buy commercial properties," said Beth Jo Zeitzer, president of Phoenix-based R.O.I. Properties.

Only about 120 of the foreclosures in metro Phoenix last month came on commercial properties.

Now, the majority of commercial-real-estate buyers in the Phoenix area are individuals and owner-occupants trying to buy their own facility before prices climb too high again.

Unlike with residential foreclosures, Zeitzer said, many individuals and small-business owners are able to compete with investors on commercial foreclosure deals.

But Zeitzer said that as in the residential market, commercial foreclosures have already peaked and will likely continue to decline.

Freescale site makeover

Phoenix's Wentworth Property Co. was launched in 2005 during the real-estate boom.

But the commercial-real-estate firm, led by veteran real-estate broker and developer Jim Wentworth and his son Jim Jr., took on its biggest project during the downturn.

Last summer, Wentworth and partner Northwood Investors paid $53.7 million for a 136-acre commercial project in Tempe at Elliot Road and Loop 101.

Freescale Semiconductor sold the office park and is leasing back three of its buildings. Another three are vacant and ready to lease.

The Wentworth group renamed the project at the former Motorola campus -- which had become home to Freescale -- Discovery Business Park. The real-estate firm spent another $13 million renovating the business park's buildings, parking and landscaping.

"Discovery Business Park will end up being more than a $200 million deal that will take us through the next cycle," Jim Wentworth Jr. said.

Discovery Business Park is zoned for another 1.6 million square feet of office, retail and hotel space.

by Catherine Reagor - Jul. 6, 2012 03:01 PM The Republic | azcentral.com




Decrease in foreclosures increases bidding wars

Decrease in foreclosures increases bidding wars

Bidding wars among investors and regular homebuyers continue to escalate because of the lack of supply.

Residential foreclosures in metro Phoenix fell again last month.

That's good news for some struggling homeowners, but it means fewer bargain-priced homes on the market for potential buyers.

In June, lenders took back 1,719 homes, according to AZ Bidder. That's about 300 fewer than in May.

Demand for commercial properties is also heating up as banks move to take back fewer office, industrial and retail properties in the region and small-business owners compete with investors for the shrinking supply of foreclosure buildings for sale.

"It is competitive out there now to buy commercial properties," said Beth Jo Zeitzer, president of Phoenix-based R.O.I. Properties.

Only about 120 of the foreclosures in metro Phoenix last month came on commercial properties.

Now, the majority of commercial-real-estate buyers in the Phoenix area are individuals and owner-occupants trying to buy their own facility before prices climb too high again.

Unlike with residential foreclosures, Zeitzer said, many individuals and small-business owners are able to compete with investors on commercial foreclosure deals.

But Zeitzer said that as in the residential market, commercial foreclosures have already peaked and will likely continue to decline.

Freescale site makeover

Phoenix's Wentworth Property Co. was launched in 2005 during the real-estate boom.

But the commercial-real-estate firm, led by veteran real-estate broker and developer Jim Wentworth and his son Jim Jr., took on its biggest project during the downturn.

Last summer, Wentworth and partner Northwood Investors paid $53.7 million for a 136-acre commercial project in Tempe at Elliot Road and Loop 101.

Freescale Semiconductor sold the office park and is leasing back three of its buildings. Another three are vacant and ready to lease.

The Wentworth group renamed the project at the former Motorola campus -- which had become home to Freescale -- Discovery Business Park. The real-estate firm spent another $13 million renovating the business park's buildings, parking and landscaping.

"Discovery Business Park will end up being more than a $200 million deal that will take us through the next cycle," Jim Wentworth Jr. said.

Discovery Business Park is zoned for another 1.6 million square feet of office, retail and hotel space.

by Catherine Reagor - Jul. 6, 2012 03:01 PM The Republic | azcentral.com




Decrease in foreclosures increases bidding wars

370 units for Desert Ridge

One-half of a Desert Ridge parcel approved for 722 apartments was sold last week.

Greystar Real Estate Partners of Charleston, S.C., paid $10.5 million for 13 acres in northeast Phoenix. The site is on the northern portion of the parcel at the northeast corner of 56th Street and Deer Valley Drive.

The seller was Westfield Capital Partners, which, according to broker Michael Lieb, recently bought out its partner, Greystone Property Development.

Westfield/Greystone bought the entire 26-acre parcel in 2007 for $28.5 million.

Greystar hopes to build 370 apartments on its 13-acre site. Rents are expected to range from $850 to $1,600 for the units, which will be 575-1,100 square feet.

Construction is expected to begin by the second quarter of 2013. Development costs, including land and buildings, are estimated at $50 million to $60 million.

The project will be called Elan Desert Ridge.

Last year, the project was divided into two phases to aid in financing.

The land already has been rezoned for multifamily housing, a category that covers apartments and condominiums.

Westfield is holding on to the southern half, where about 350 units are allowed.

The Elan development could be the first housing in Desert Ridge east of 56th Street and north of Loop 101.

The Arizona State Land Department had sold most of the land by 2008, but the effects of the recession led most of the buyers to return the land to the department.

Desert Ridge is a master-planned development that includes 5,700 acres. Its southern boundary is Reach 11 and the Central Arizona Project canal. On the north, it is bounded by Pinnacle Peak Road, and on the east by 64th Street. The west boundary is irregular, going as far east as 32nd Street.

by Michael Clancy - Jul. 6, 2012 12:26 PM The Republic | azcentral.com


370 units for Desert Ridge

370 units for Desert Ridge

One-half of a Desert Ridge parcel approved for 722 apartments was sold last week.

Greystar Real Estate Partners of Charleston, S.C., paid $10.5 million for 13 acres in northeast Phoenix. The site is on the northern portion of the parcel at the northeast corner of 56th Street and Deer Valley Drive.

The seller was Westfield Capital Partners, which, according to broker Michael Lieb, recently bought out its partner, Greystone Property Development.

Westfield/Greystone bought the entire 26-acre parcel in 2007 for $28.5 million.

Greystar hopes to build 370 apartments on its 13-acre site. Rents are expected to range from $850 to $1,600 for the units, which will be 575-1,100 square feet.

Construction is expected to begin by the second quarter of 2013. Development costs, including land and buildings, are estimated at $50 million to $60 million.

The project will be called Elan Desert Ridge.

Last year, the project was divided into two phases to aid in financing.

The land already has been rezoned for multifamily housing, a category that covers apartments and condominiums.

Westfield is holding on to the southern half, where about 350 units are allowed.

The Elan development could be the first housing in Desert Ridge east of 56th Street and north of Loop 101.

The Arizona State Land Department had sold most of the land by 2008, but the effects of the recession led most of the buyers to return the land to the department.

Desert Ridge is a master-planned development that includes 5,700 acres. Its southern boundary is Reach 11 and the Central Arizona Project canal. On the north, it is bounded by Pinnacle Peak Road, and on the east by 64th Street. The west boundary is irregular, going as far east as 32nd Street.

by Michael Clancy - Jul. 6, 2012 12:26 PM The Republic | azcentral.com


370 units for Desert Ridge

370 units for Desert Ridge

One-half of a Desert Ridge parcel approved for 722 apartments was sold last week.

Greystar Real Estate Partners of Charleston, S.C., paid $10.5 million for 13 acres in northeast Phoenix. The site is on the northern portion of the parcel at the northeast corner of 56th Street and Deer Valley Drive.

The seller was Westfield Capital Partners, which, according to broker Michael Lieb, recently bought out its partner, Greystone Property Development.

Westfield/Greystone bought the entire 26-acre parcel in 2007 for $28.5 million.

Greystar hopes to build 370 apartments on its 13-acre site. Rents are expected to range from $850 to $1,600 for the units, which will be 575-1,100 square feet.

Construction is expected to begin by the second quarter of 2013. Development costs, including land and buildings, are estimated at $50 million to $60 million.

The project will be called Elan Desert Ridge.

Last year, the project was divided into two phases to aid in financing.

The land already has been rezoned for multifamily housing, a category that covers apartments and condominiums.

Westfield is holding on to the southern half, where about 350 units are allowed.

The Elan development could be the first housing in Desert Ridge east of 56th Street and north of Loop 101.

The Arizona State Land Department had sold most of the land by 2008, but the effects of the recession led most of the buyers to return the land to the department.

Desert Ridge is a master-planned development that includes 5,700 acres. Its southern boundary is Reach 11 and the Central Arizona Project canal. On the north, it is bounded by Pinnacle Peak Road, and on the east by 64th Street. The west boundary is irregular, going as far east as 32nd Street.

by Michael Clancy - Jul. 6, 2012 12:26 PM The Republic | azcentral.com


370 units for Desert Ridge

Condos cause Windgate stir

Some residents of Windgate Ranch are trying to block development of a two-story condominium project they say would disrupt their neighborhood and block their McDowell Mountain views.

Deco Communities wants to build 104 condos on a nearly 11-acre site that wraps around the Windgate Crossing shopping center northwest of Bell Road and Thompson Peak Parkway.

Neighbors west of the site filed a legal protest last week over the requested rezoning from commercial-office uses to multifamily residential. If the protest meets city rules, the project would require approval by six of seven Scottsdale City Council members.

"We thought it would be lower-density insurance or doctors offices" that would operate weekdays during business hours, said Brian Cook, a Windgate resident since 2007.

The council was scheduled to consider the project this week, but the developer asked that a decision be postponed until Sept. 4.

Zoning attorney John Berry said the rezoning for the "$15 million shovel-ready project" has been politicized by the Aug. 28 city election. "This is a downzoning," he said of the proposed switch from commercial to residential use.

Under the existing commercial zoning, a 36-foot office building of 317,465 square feet could be built. At that size, 1,058 parking spaces are required. Workers and visitors would generate an estimated 1,690 daily vehicle trips to and from the offices.

The proposed residential zoning would allow a 36-foot building totaling 168,878 square feet. It would have 192 parking spaces, including 104 in garages.

Both the offices and condos would be as close as 50 feet from the Windgate Ranch properties.

"These buildings are going to be right on top of our homes," resident Steve DeBiase said of the condos with second-story balconies. "(We're) trying to protect our investments."

by Peter Corbett - Jul. 6, 2012 12:27 PM The Republic | azcentral.com


Condos cause Windgate stir

Condos cause Windgate stir

Some residents of Windgate Ranch are trying to block development of a two-story condominium project they say would disrupt their neighborhood and block their McDowell Mountain views.

Deco Communities wants to build 104 condos on a nearly 11-acre site that wraps around the Windgate Crossing shopping center northwest of Bell Road and Thompson Peak Parkway.

Neighbors west of the site filed a legal protest last week over the requested rezoning from commercial-office uses to multifamily residential. If the protest meets city rules, the project would require approval by six of seven Scottsdale City Council members.

"We thought it would be lower-density insurance or doctors offices" that would operate weekdays during business hours, said Brian Cook, a Windgate resident since 2007.

The council was scheduled to consider the project this week, but the developer asked that a decision be postponed until Sept. 4.

Zoning attorney John Berry said the rezoning for the "$15 million shovel-ready project" has been politicized by the Aug. 28 city election. "This is a downzoning," he said of the proposed switch from commercial to residential use.

Under the existing commercial zoning, a 36-foot office building of 317,465 square feet could be built. At that size, 1,058 parking spaces are required. Workers and visitors would generate an estimated 1,690 daily vehicle trips to and from the offices.

The proposed residential zoning would allow a 36-foot building totaling 168,878 square feet. It would have 192 parking spaces, including 104 in garages.

Both the offices and condos would be as close as 50 feet from the Windgate Ranch properties.

"These buildings are going to be right on top of our homes," resident Steve DeBiase said of the condos with second-story balconies. "(We're) trying to protect our investments."

by Peter Corbett - Jul. 6, 2012 12:27 PM The Republic | azcentral.com


Condos cause Windgate stir

Condos cause Windgate stir

Some residents of Windgate Ranch are trying to block development of a two-story condominium project they say would disrupt their neighborhood and block their McDowell Mountain views.

Deco Communities wants to build 104 condos on a nearly 11-acre site that wraps around the Windgate Crossing shopping center northwest of Bell Road and Thompson Peak Parkway.

Neighbors west of the site filed a legal protest last week over the requested rezoning from commercial-office uses to multifamily residential. If the protest meets city rules, the project would require approval by six of seven Scottsdale City Council members.

"We thought it would be lower-density insurance or doctors offices" that would operate weekdays during business hours, said Brian Cook, a Windgate resident since 2007.

The council was scheduled to consider the project this week, but the developer asked that a decision be postponed until Sept. 4.

Zoning attorney John Berry said the rezoning for the "$15 million shovel-ready project" has been politicized by the Aug. 28 city election. "This is a downzoning," he said of the proposed switch from commercial to residential use.

Under the existing commercial zoning, a 36-foot office building of 317,465 square feet could be built. At that size, 1,058 parking spaces are required. Workers and visitors would generate an estimated 1,690 daily vehicle trips to and from the offices.

The proposed residential zoning would allow a 36-foot building totaling 168,878 square feet. It would have 192 parking spaces, including 104 in garages.

Both the offices and condos would be as close as 50 feet from the Windgate Ranch properties.

"These buildings are going to be right on top of our homes," resident Steve DeBiase said of the condos with second-story balconies. "(We're) trying to protect our investments."

by Peter Corbett - Jul. 6, 2012 12:27 PM The Republic | azcentral.com


Condos cause Windgate stir

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is renovating old homes

Think Habitat for Humanity, and the vision that likely comes to mind is former President Jimmy Carter building a house on a vacant lot from the ground up.

Since the organization was founded in 1976, the bulk of work done by its staff and legion of volunteers has been building more than 200,000 homes throughout the world.

That model is changing for some of the organization's affiliate chapters, among them Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.

In places like the Valley, the organization finds that it often makes more sense to renovate existing homes than build new ones. Renovations reduce the stock of empty houses in neighborhoods and, in many cases, allow recipients to remain in the community.

Recently, Habitat has gotten into the home-repair and renovation business, contracting with Chandler and Glendale to be the non-profit organization administering emergency home-repair programs. Soon, the organization plans to launch a stand-alone home-repair business that could generate the bulk of its work.

"We'll do that in the next month or so," said Roger Schwierjohn, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona president. "In the future, we see 60 percent of our effort helping homeowners who are low-income and hardworking with their home repairs. We think that's how much growth we have in the home-repair business.

But that doesn't mean the group will move away from its original mission of building homes.

"We're not looking to reduce our volume of new homes," Schwierjohn said. "As a matter of fact, our production has continued to increase, and we don't see that changing. But we do see even more opportunities with the home-repair business."

Habitat's home-repair business will work similarly to its new-housing model. It will be available to low-income homeowners who could not otherwise afford to have the work done. Those who participate will take out a no-interest loan with Habitat to pay for the repairs.

"We're a hand up, not a handout," Schwierjohn said. "We know a lot of people who own homes in the areas we service maybe can't maintain their home as well as they should because they can't afford to or don't qualify for conventional financing."

Schwierjohn said the shift toward renovating and repairing homes began in 2008 with the economic downturn. Anticipating reduced donations due to the recession, the organization looked to diversify its revenue streams with actions like expanding its ReStore operations, retail outlets where Habitat sells donated building supplies.

It also looked for new ways to help the communities it served with the growing number of empty homes in Valley neighborhoods.

"Back then, we only built new (homes), but there was an abundance of vacant and foreclosed homes sitting idle in neighborhoods," Schwierjohn said. "Those vacant homes became targets for criminal activity. Many of them were used to conduct drug trades and were vandalized. We saw what the impact was to those neighborhoods."

That led to the idea of renovating vacant homes instead of building.

Last year the organization responded to a Glendale request for proposals for a non-profit organization to administer the city's emergency home-repair program.

Since August of last year, Habitat employees or subcontractors have completed nearly 150 home repairs for Glendale residents, addressing problems such as plumbing leaks, broken air-conditioning units or electrical issues.

"So far, they've done an incredibly good job," said Charyn Eirich-Palmisano, Glendale revitalization supervisor. "The transition from our old vendor to Habitat has been very good. We're quite happy with their performance and the citizens seem to be quite happy with their service."

Chandler officials took notice of the organization's success in Glendale and took that into consideration when Habitat responded to a similar request for bids in Chandler.

Habitat began administering Chandler's emergency-repair program on June 9 and is being considered for the more extensive housing-reconstruction program the city operates.

Schwierjohn said the experience gained in administering the city programs, although not profitable, will prepare Habitat to run its stand-alone repair business. If it becomes successful, it will allow the organization to continue its mission of providing safe, decent, affordable housing to the people it serves.

"We're excited," Schwierjohn said. "We know that the economy still has its challenges. We know we have to continue to struggle to work hard, to claw, to be creative, to do whatever it takes to continue to serve the community.

by Weldon B. Johnson - Jul. 4, 2012 10:05 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is renovating old homes

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is renovating old homes

Think Habitat for Humanity, and the vision that likely comes to mind is former President Jimmy Carter building a house on a vacant lot from the ground up.

Since the organization was founded in 1976, the bulk of work done by its staff and legion of volunteers has been building more than 200,000 homes throughout the world.

That model is changing for some of the organization's affiliate chapters, among them Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.

In places like the Valley, the organization finds that it often makes more sense to renovate existing homes than build new ones. Renovations reduce the stock of empty houses in neighborhoods and, in many cases, allow recipients to remain in the community.

Recently, Habitat has gotten into the home-repair and renovation business, contracting with Chandler and Glendale to be the non-profit organization administering emergency home-repair programs. Soon, the organization plans to launch a stand-alone home-repair business that could generate the bulk of its work.

"We'll do that in the next month or so," said Roger Schwierjohn, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona president. "In the future, we see 60 percent of our effort helping homeowners who are low-income and hardworking with their home repairs. We think that's how much growth we have in the home-repair business.

But that doesn't mean the group will move away from its original mission of building homes.

"We're not looking to reduce our volume of new homes," Schwierjohn said. "As a matter of fact, our production has continued to increase, and we don't see that changing. But we do see even more opportunities with the home-repair business."

Habitat's home-repair business will work similarly to its new-housing model. It will be available to low-income homeowners who could not otherwise afford to have the work done. Those who participate will take out a no-interest loan with Habitat to pay for the repairs.

"We're a hand up, not a handout," Schwierjohn said. "We know a lot of people who own homes in the areas we service maybe can't maintain their home as well as they should because they can't afford to or don't qualify for conventional financing."

Schwierjohn said the shift toward renovating and repairing homes began in 2008 with the economic downturn. Anticipating reduced donations due to the recession, the organization looked to diversify its revenue streams with actions like expanding its ReStore operations, retail outlets where Habitat sells donated building supplies.

It also looked for new ways to help the communities it served with the growing number of empty homes in Valley neighborhoods.

"Back then, we only built new (homes), but there was an abundance of vacant and foreclosed homes sitting idle in neighborhoods," Schwierjohn said. "Those vacant homes became targets for criminal activity. Many of them were used to conduct drug trades and were vandalized. We saw what the impact was to those neighborhoods."

That led to the idea of renovating vacant homes instead of building.

Last year the organization responded to a Glendale request for proposals for a non-profit organization to administer the city's emergency home-repair program.

Since August of last year, Habitat employees or subcontractors have completed nearly 150 home repairs for Glendale residents, addressing problems such as plumbing leaks, broken air-conditioning units or electrical issues.

"So far, they've done an incredibly good job," said Charyn Eirich-Palmisano, Glendale revitalization supervisor. "The transition from our old vendor to Habitat has been very good. We're quite happy with their performance and the citizens seem to be quite happy with their service."

Chandler officials took notice of the organization's success in Glendale and took that into consideration when Habitat responded to a similar request for bids in Chandler.

Habitat began administering Chandler's emergency-repair program on June 9 and is being considered for the more extensive housing-reconstruction program the city operates.

Schwierjohn said the experience gained in administering the city programs, although not profitable, will prepare Habitat to run its stand-alone repair business. If it becomes successful, it will allow the organization to continue its mission of providing safe, decent, affordable housing to the people it serves.

"We're excited," Schwierjohn said. "We know that the economy still has its challenges. We know we have to continue to struggle to work hard, to claw, to be creative, to do whatever it takes to continue to serve the community.

by Weldon B. Johnson - Jul. 4, 2012 10:05 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is renovating old homes

Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is renovating old homes

Think Habitat for Humanity, and the vision that likely comes to mind is former President Jimmy Carter building a house on a vacant lot from the ground up.

Since the organization was founded in 1976, the bulk of work done by its staff and legion of volunteers has been building more than 200,000 homes throughout the world.

That model is changing for some of the organization's affiliate chapters, among them Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona.

In places like the Valley, the organization finds that it often makes more sense to renovate existing homes than build new ones. Renovations reduce the stock of empty houses in neighborhoods and, in many cases, allow recipients to remain in the community.

Recently, Habitat has gotten into the home-repair and renovation business, contracting with Chandler and Glendale to be the non-profit organization administering emergency home-repair programs. Soon, the organization plans to launch a stand-alone home-repair business that could generate the bulk of its work.

"We'll do that in the next month or so," said Roger Schwierjohn, Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona president. "In the future, we see 60 percent of our effort helping homeowners who are low-income and hardworking with their home repairs. We think that's how much growth we have in the home-repair business.

But that doesn't mean the group will move away from its original mission of building homes.

"We're not looking to reduce our volume of new homes," Schwierjohn said. "As a matter of fact, our production has continued to increase, and we don't see that changing. But we do see even more opportunities with the home-repair business."

Habitat's home-repair business will work similarly to its new-housing model. It will be available to low-income homeowners who could not otherwise afford to have the work done. Those who participate will take out a no-interest loan with Habitat to pay for the repairs.

"We're a hand up, not a handout," Schwierjohn said. "We know a lot of people who own homes in the areas we service maybe can't maintain their home as well as they should because they can't afford to or don't qualify for conventional financing."

Schwierjohn said the shift toward renovating and repairing homes began in 2008 with the economic downturn. Anticipating reduced donations due to the recession, the organization looked to diversify its revenue streams with actions like expanding its ReStore operations, retail outlets where Habitat sells donated building supplies.

It also looked for new ways to help the communities it served with the growing number of empty homes in Valley neighborhoods.

"Back then, we only built new (homes), but there was an abundance of vacant and foreclosed homes sitting idle in neighborhoods," Schwierjohn said. "Those vacant homes became targets for criminal activity. Many of them were used to conduct drug trades and were vandalized. We saw what the impact was to those neighborhoods."

That led to the idea of renovating vacant homes instead of building.

Last year the organization responded to a Glendale request for proposals for a non-profit organization to administer the city's emergency home-repair program.

Since August of last year, Habitat employees or subcontractors have completed nearly 150 home repairs for Glendale residents, addressing problems such as plumbing leaks, broken air-conditioning units or electrical issues.

"So far, they've done an incredibly good job," said Charyn Eirich-Palmisano, Glendale revitalization supervisor. "The transition from our old vendor to Habitat has been very good. We're quite happy with their performance and the citizens seem to be quite happy with their service."

Chandler officials took notice of the organization's success in Glendale and took that into consideration when Habitat responded to a similar request for bids in Chandler.

Habitat began administering Chandler's emergency-repair program on June 9 and is being considered for the more extensive housing-reconstruction program the city operates.

Schwierjohn said the experience gained in administering the city programs, although not profitable, will prepare Habitat to run its stand-alone repair business. If it becomes successful, it will allow the organization to continue its mission of providing safe, decent, affordable housing to the people it serves.

"We're excited," Schwierjohn said. "We know that the economy still has its challenges. We know we have to continue to struggle to work hard, to claw, to be creative, to do whatever it takes to continue to serve the community.

by Weldon B. Johnson - Jul. 4, 2012 10:05 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is renovating old homes

Gilbert farmer in controversial 2009 land deal sued

The Gilbert dairy farmer who made millions of dollars in 2009 from a controversial land deal with the town has been sued by a Valley real-estate company that claims it had exclusive listing rights to part of the property.

Scottsdale-based Commerce Realty Advisors is seeking damages worth $468,570 plus interest for a commission on the 60-acre parcel farmer Bernard Zinke sold Gilbert for $300,000 an acre.

The deal was part of a complex transaction that helped Gilbert secure land for future parks and road improvements but cost taxpayers $50.2 million. The deal generated a controversy in September 2010 when The Arizona Republic disclosed that town officials failed to secure an appraisal during negotiations, and that land experts said the "head-scratching" purchase price was out of tune with market prices in the area.

In a civil complaint filed in March, Commerce Realty Advisors claims Zinke signed a five-year exclusive listing agreement in November 2003 entitling the company to 2.5 percent of the gross proceeds from the sale.

Although the listing agreement expired in November 2008 and the land deal didn't close until March 2009, the complaint alleges negotiations between Zinke and town officials began in early 2008 and that the parties reached an initial agreement by midyear. Town officials verify that account, but Zinke denies it, according to court records.

Commercial Realty Advisors claims its commission was due at closing and subject to 18 percent interest per year if left unpaid, according to legal filings. For each day the commission goes unpaid, the interest accrues by about $231, the company claims, possibly totaling about $281,000.

In a response filed in April, however, Zinke denies negotiating a deal with town officials in 2008 and denies owing a commission to Commerce Realty Advisors. Zinke's attorney, Richard Nye, contends that a prior breach of contract had voided the agreement, and he is asking the court to toss the lawsuit and award attorney's fees to his client.

The Arizona Corporation Commission lists commerce broker Philip DeAngelis as president and CEO of Commerce Realty Advisors; Michael Martindale is listed on the company's website as the designated broker.

Phoenix attorney Jennifer Stevens, representing Commerce Realty Advisors, said her client has no comment beyond the information included in court filings.

Nye did not respond to a request for comment.

While land experts expressed surprise at the Zinke land deal's $300,000-per-acre price tag, the lawsuit suggests Gilbert bought the property for more than it had been previously listed by the company.

The deal included 62.5 undeveloped acres on the southwestern corner of Greenfield and Germann roads, where the town envisions a special-events center, and 80 acres on the southwestern corner of Greenfield and Chandler Heights roads, slated for a park. The town lacks the funding to complete either project.

Former Gilbert Town Manager George Pettit led negotiations for the property in 2008 after he was directed by the council to secure parkland in the town's underserved southern region.

Comparable sales and existing appraisals on much of the land suggested a per-acre value of around $67,000. Following The Republic report, Gilbert officials revised the town's land-acquisition policies to include mandatory appraisals for all purchases.

The council referred the Zinke deal to state Attorney General Tom Horne's office for an independent investigation. Nearly a year later, Horne's office announced it found no evidence of criminal activity and closed the case.

The deal was a key theme in last year's town council elections. The four incumbents who had voted for it all lost.

Gilbert used $10 million in voter-approved bond money and about $32 million in public-facilities bonds to buy the land.

by Parker Leavitt - Jul. 4, 2012 10:12 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Gilbert farmer in controversial 2009 land deal sued

Gilbert farmer in controversial 2009 land deal sued

The Gilbert dairy farmer who made millions of dollars in 2009 from a controversial land deal with the town has been sued by a Valley real-estate company that claims it had exclusive listing rights to part of the property.

Scottsdale-based Commerce Realty Advisors is seeking damages worth $468,570 plus interest for a commission on the 60-acre parcel farmer Bernard Zinke sold Gilbert for $300,000 an acre.

The deal was part of a complex transaction that helped Gilbert secure land for future parks and road improvements but cost taxpayers $50.2 million. The deal generated a controversy in September 2010 when The Arizona Republic disclosed that town officials failed to secure an appraisal during negotiations, and that land experts said the "head-scratching" purchase price was out of tune with market prices in the area.

In a civil complaint filed in March, Commerce Realty Advisors claims Zinke signed a five-year exclusive listing agreement in November 2003 entitling the company to 2.5 percent of the gross proceeds from the sale.

Although the listing agreement expired in November 2008 and the land deal didn't close until March 2009, the complaint alleges negotiations between Zinke and town officials began in early 2008 and that the parties reached an initial agreement by midyear. Town officials verify that account, but Zinke denies it, according to court records.

Commercial Realty Advisors claims its commission was due at closing and subject to 18 percent interest per year if left unpaid, according to legal filings. For each day the commission goes unpaid, the interest accrues by about $231, the company claims, possibly totaling about $281,000.

In a response filed in April, however, Zinke denies negotiating a deal with town officials in 2008 and denies owing a commission to Commerce Realty Advisors. Zinke's attorney, Richard Nye, contends that a prior breach of contract had voided the agreement, and he is asking the court to toss the lawsuit and award attorney's fees to his client.

The Arizona Corporation Commission lists commerce broker Philip DeAngelis as president and CEO of Commerce Realty Advisors; Michael Martindale is listed on the company's website as the designated broker.

Phoenix attorney Jennifer Stevens, representing Commerce Realty Advisors, said her client has no comment beyond the information included in court filings.

Nye did not respond to a request for comment.

While land experts expressed surprise at the Zinke land deal's $300,000-per-acre price tag, the lawsuit suggests Gilbert bought the property for more than it had been previously listed by the company.

The deal included 62.5 undeveloped acres on the southwestern corner of Greenfield and Germann roads, where the town envisions a special-events center, and 80 acres on the southwestern corner of Greenfield and Chandler Heights roads, slated for a park. The town lacks the funding to complete either project.

Former Gilbert Town Manager George Pettit led negotiations for the property in 2008 after he was directed by the council to secure parkland in the town's underserved southern region.

Comparable sales and existing appraisals on much of the land suggested a per-acre value of around $67,000. Following The Republic report, Gilbert officials revised the town's land-acquisition policies to include mandatory appraisals for all purchases.

The council referred the Zinke deal to state Attorney General Tom Horne's office for an independent investigation. Nearly a year later, Horne's office announced it found no evidence of criminal activity and closed the case.

The deal was a key theme in last year's town council elections. The four incumbents who had voted for it all lost.

Gilbert used $10 million in voter-approved bond money and about $32 million in public-facilities bonds to buy the land.

by Parker Leavitt - Jul. 4, 2012 10:12 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Gilbert farmer in controversial 2009 land deal sued

Gilbert farmer in controversial 2009 land deal sued

The Gilbert dairy farmer who made millions of dollars in 2009 from a controversial land deal with the town has been sued by a Valley real-estate company that claims it had exclusive listing rights to part of the property.

Scottsdale-based Commerce Realty Advisors is seeking damages worth $468,570 plus interest for a commission on the 60-acre parcel farmer Bernard Zinke sold Gilbert for $300,000 an acre.

The deal was part of a complex transaction that helped Gilbert secure land for future parks and road improvements but cost taxpayers $50.2 million. The deal generated a controversy in September 2010 when The Arizona Republic disclosed that town officials failed to secure an appraisal during negotiations, and that land experts said the "head-scratching" purchase price was out of tune with market prices in the area.

In a civil complaint filed in March, Commerce Realty Advisors claims Zinke signed a five-year exclusive listing agreement in November 2003 entitling the company to 2.5 percent of the gross proceeds from the sale.

Although the listing agreement expired in November 2008 and the land deal didn't close until March 2009, the complaint alleges negotiations between Zinke and town officials began in early 2008 and that the parties reached an initial agreement by midyear. Town officials verify that account, but Zinke denies it, according to court records.

Commercial Realty Advisors claims its commission was due at closing and subject to 18 percent interest per year if left unpaid, according to legal filings. For each day the commission goes unpaid, the interest accrues by about $231, the company claims, possibly totaling about $281,000.

In a response filed in April, however, Zinke denies negotiating a deal with town officials in 2008 and denies owing a commission to Commerce Realty Advisors. Zinke's attorney, Richard Nye, contends that a prior breach of contract had voided the agreement, and he is asking the court to toss the lawsuit and award attorney's fees to his client.

The Arizona Corporation Commission lists commerce broker Philip DeAngelis as president and CEO of Commerce Realty Advisors; Michael Martindale is listed on the company's website as the designated broker.

Phoenix attorney Jennifer Stevens, representing Commerce Realty Advisors, said her client has no comment beyond the information included in court filings.

Nye did not respond to a request for comment.

While land experts expressed surprise at the Zinke land deal's $300,000-per-acre price tag, the lawsuit suggests Gilbert bought the property for more than it had been previously listed by the company.

The deal included 62.5 undeveloped acres on the southwestern corner of Greenfield and Germann roads, where the town envisions a special-events center, and 80 acres on the southwestern corner of Greenfield and Chandler Heights roads, slated for a park. The town lacks the funding to complete either project.

Former Gilbert Town Manager George Pettit led negotiations for the property in 2008 after he was directed by the council to secure parkland in the town's underserved southern region.

Comparable sales and existing appraisals on much of the land suggested a per-acre value of around $67,000. Following The Republic report, Gilbert officials revised the town's land-acquisition policies to include mandatory appraisals for all purchases.

The council referred the Zinke deal to state Attorney General Tom Horne's office for an independent investigation. Nearly a year later, Horne's office announced it found no evidence of criminal activity and closed the case.

The deal was a key theme in last year's town council elections. The four incumbents who had voted for it all lost.

Gilbert used $10 million in voter-approved bond money and about $32 million in public-facilities bonds to buy the land.

by Parker Leavitt - Jul. 4, 2012 10:12 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Gilbert farmer in controversial 2009 land deal sued

Another northeast Phoenix infill project planned

Cachet Homes is planning a second infill development in northeast Phoenix if rezoning to allow for 100 homes on the parcel is approved.

The developer has its eye on property now used for boarding horses at 44th Street and Grovers Avenue, north of Bell Road.

It would be Cachet's second new development in northeast Phoenix. The company also is involved with a 200-unit apartment project on Cactus Road west of Paradise Valley Mall.

Matt Cody, president and owner of Cachet, said the horse property consists of 20 acres south of Foothills Elementary School. It is the home of Santa Rita Stables.

The property's assessed value is about $2 million.

A representative of the property owner, Santa Rita Stables Holding Co. LLC, could not be reached. The property apparently never has been developed beyond its current use.

Escrow opened in May and is contingent on the rezoning. A first hearing before the Paradise Valley Village Planning Committee will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at the Paradise Valley Community Center, 17402 N. 40th St. The request is scheduled to reach the City Council at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Rezoning of the 5-acre parcel for the apartment project on Cactus Road was approved earlier this year, and developers are waiting for leases in the current building, the 33-year-old Paradise Valley Medical Center, to expire, Cody said.

Cachet will team with Joe Meyer of Southwest Next Capital Management to construct the apartments, which will provide an upper-end housing alternative near the mall.

The property will include two four-story buildings that will wrap around a central courtyard with a pool. Parking will surround the buildings.

Both projects should be under way early next year, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Cody said.

by Michael Clancy - Jul. 6, 2012 04:15 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Another northeast Phoenix infill project planned

Another northeast Phoenix infill project planned

Cachet Homes is planning a second infill development in northeast Phoenix if rezoning to allow for 100 homes on the parcel is approved.

The developer has its eye on property now used for boarding horses at 44th Street and Grovers Avenue, north of Bell Road.

It would be Cachet's second new development in northeast Phoenix. The company also is involved with a 200-unit apartment project on Cactus Road west of Paradise Valley Mall.

Matt Cody, president and owner of Cachet, said the horse property consists of 20 acres south of Foothills Elementary School. It is the home of Santa Rita Stables.

The property's assessed value is about $2 million.

A representative of the property owner, Santa Rita Stables Holding Co. LLC, could not be reached. The property apparently never has been developed beyond its current use.

Escrow opened in May and is contingent on the rezoning. A first hearing before the Paradise Valley Village Planning Committee will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at the Paradise Valley Community Center, 17402 N. 40th St. The request is scheduled to reach the City Council at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Rezoning of the 5-acre parcel for the apartment project on Cactus Road was approved earlier this year, and developers are waiting for leases in the current building, the 33-year-old Paradise Valley Medical Center, to expire, Cody said.

Cachet will team with Joe Meyer of Southwest Next Capital Management to construct the apartments, which will provide an upper-end housing alternative near the mall.

The property will include two four-story buildings that will wrap around a central courtyard with a pool. Parking will surround the buildings.

Both projects should be under way early next year, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Cody said.

by Michael Clancy - Jul. 6, 2012 04:15 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Another northeast Phoenix infill project planned

Another northeast Phoenix infill project planned

Cachet Homes is planning a second infill development in northeast Phoenix if rezoning to allow for 100 homes on the parcel is approved.

The developer has its eye on property now used for boarding horses at 44th Street and Grovers Avenue, north of Bell Road.

It would be Cachet's second new development in northeast Phoenix. The company also is involved with a 200-unit apartment project on Cactus Road west of Paradise Valley Mall.

Matt Cody, president and owner of Cachet, said the horse property consists of 20 acres south of Foothills Elementary School. It is the home of Santa Rita Stables.

The property's assessed value is about $2 million.

A representative of the property owner, Santa Rita Stables Holding Co. LLC, could not be reached. The property apparently never has been developed beyond its current use.

Escrow opened in May and is contingent on the rezoning. A first hearing before the Paradise Valley Village Planning Committee will take place at 6 p.m. Monday at the Paradise Valley Community Center, 17402 N. 40th St. The request is scheduled to reach the City Council at its Sept. 19 meeting.

Rezoning of the 5-acre parcel for the apartment project on Cactus Road was approved earlier this year, and developers are waiting for leases in the current building, the 33-year-old Paradise Valley Medical Center, to expire, Cody said.

Cachet will team with Joe Meyer of Southwest Next Capital Management to construct the apartments, which will provide an upper-end housing alternative near the mall.

The property will include two four-story buildings that will wrap around a central courtyard with a pool. Parking will surround the buildings.

Both projects should be under way early next year, barring any unforeseen circumstances, Cody said.

by Michael Clancy - Jul. 6, 2012 04:15 PM The Republic | azcentral.com



Another northeast Phoenix infill project planned

Assembly OKs adding bank settlement into Calif law

SACRAMENTO - California will become the first state to write into law much of the national mortgage settlement negotiated this year with the nation's top five banks, and expand it to all mortgages, under wide-ranging legislation approved by state lawmakers on Monday.

Majority Democrats sent the homeowner protection package to Gov. Jerry Brown despite opposition from business and lending organizations and most Republican legislators.

The Assembly approved the legislation on a 53-25 vote, and the Senate followed quickly on a 25-13 vote.

The legislation would require large lenders to provide a single point of contact for homeowners who want to discuss loan modifications. It would prohibit lenders from foreclosing while the lenders consider homeowners' request for alternatives to foreclosure. And it would let California homeowners sue lenders to stop foreclosures or seek monetary damages if the lender violates state law.

The protections would benefit all California homeowners, not just those whose mortgages are with the five banks that signed the national settlement in February. And many of the restrictions would become permanent, while those in the nationwide agreement will end after five years.

It applies to all owner-occupied residences, but not commercial or rental properties

Jose Vega drove 70 miles to Sacramento with his two young children to lobby lawmakers to pass the legislation after he spent three years battling to keep his home in the San Francisco-area city of Pittsburg.

In November 2009, he said he found a trustee sale notice posted on his door 16 days after he was placed in a loan modification program. He was put into another modification program in the spring of 2010, only to have the bank again begin foreclosure proceedings.

Vega, 52, eventually kept his home after filing for bankruptcy and getting help from the office of Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Now he and his family owe $466,000 -- including the bank's legal fees -- on a home he said is worth about $200,000.

"I'm not asking for a handout. All I'm saying is, you created this mess, let's work something out," said Vega a member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. "Hopefully, California will lead the way so other states will follow."

Attorney General Kamala Harris said the compromise legislation negotiated with lawmakers "is going to bring transparency and fairness to California homeowners in a way they've never had before."

She helped negotiate the February settlement that requires Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. to pay $18 billion in penalties to California homeowners.

Key portions of her original proposal to write the settlement into state law were stalled by opposition from some of her fellow Democrats in the Legislature, until the right to sue banks and other measures were significantly narrowed.

"This legislation can be the catalyst not only for a recovery of California's real estate market, but a catalyst across the nation as borrowers everywhere will demand the same protections given to California borrowers, the same protections given to our families," said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, a member of the conference committee that negotiated the bill. "And those protections boil down to this: They ought to be treated fairly, they ought to be treated consistently."

Lenders' organizations joined by the California Chamber of Commerce said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday that the final legislation is an improvement, though they still fear it will "encourage frivolous litigation" by borrowers who cannot realistically afford to stay in their homes.

The lending industry cited a study it commissioned by Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles-based research firm. It echoes industry arguments that letting homeowners sue their lenders, even in limited circumstances, will delay foreclosures and increase lenders' costs, potentially harming the shaky housing recovery and making it more difficult and costly to obtain mortgages.

The legislation can't address what lenders say is the underlying problem: too many borrowers can't afford their payments.

"It's a mistake that will hurt this economy for years to come," said Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, a member of the conference committee.

Supporters of the bill say it still takes important steps.

"The point is ... not to launch an avalanche of lawsuits. What it's really about is having some meaningful accountability to ensure that servicers follow the rules," said Paul Leonard, director of the California office of the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer group.

Previous efforts have repeatedly failed to clear the Legislature. Leonard said the national mortgage settlement and Harris' involvement are likely to make the difference this year.

Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, who co-chaired the conference committee that negotiated the bill, said Brown's administration worked with Democrats on the legislation and has given every indication he would sign it into law. However, Brown declined to comment as he left the office of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, moments before the vote.

The law would not take effect until Jan. 1, though Evans and Harris said they expect lenders would begin following the new rules immediately even if the penalties don't yet apply.

by Don Thompson - Jul. 2, 2012 04:44 PM Associated Press



Assembly OKs adding bank settlement into Calif law

Assembly OKs adding bank settlement into Calif law

SACRAMENTO - California will become the first state to write into law much of the national mortgage settlement negotiated this year with the nation's top five banks, and expand it to all mortgages, under wide-ranging legislation approved by state lawmakers on Monday.

Majority Democrats sent the homeowner protection package to Gov. Jerry Brown despite opposition from business and lending organizations and most Republican legislators.

The Assembly approved the legislation on a 53-25 vote, and the Senate followed quickly on a 25-13 vote.

The legislation would require large lenders to provide a single point of contact for homeowners who want to discuss loan modifications. It would prohibit lenders from foreclosing while the lenders consider homeowners' request for alternatives to foreclosure. And it would let California homeowners sue lenders to stop foreclosures or seek monetary damages if the lender violates state law.

The protections would benefit all California homeowners, not just those whose mortgages are with the five banks that signed the national settlement in February. And many of the restrictions would become permanent, while those in the nationwide agreement will end after five years.

It applies to all owner-occupied residences, but not commercial or rental properties

Jose Vega drove 70 miles to Sacramento with his two young children to lobby lawmakers to pass the legislation after he spent three years battling to keep his home in the San Francisco-area city of Pittsburg.

In November 2009, he said he found a trustee sale notice posted on his door 16 days after he was placed in a loan modification program. He was put into another modification program in the spring of 2010, only to have the bank again begin foreclosure proceedings.

Vega, 52, eventually kept his home after filing for bankruptcy and getting help from the office of Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Now he and his family owe $466,000 -- including the bank's legal fees -- on a home he said is worth about $200,000.

"I'm not asking for a handout. All I'm saying is, you created this mess, let's work something out," said Vega a member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. "Hopefully, California will lead the way so other states will follow."

Attorney General Kamala Harris said the compromise legislation negotiated with lawmakers "is going to bring transparency and fairness to California homeowners in a way they've never had before."

She helped negotiate the February settlement that requires Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. to pay $18 billion in penalties to California homeowners.

Key portions of her original proposal to write the settlement into state law were stalled by opposition from some of her fellow Democrats in the Legislature, until the right to sue banks and other measures were significantly narrowed.

"This legislation can be the catalyst not only for a recovery of California's real estate market, but a catalyst across the nation as borrowers everywhere will demand the same protections given to California borrowers, the same protections given to our families," said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, a member of the conference committee that negotiated the bill. "And those protections boil down to this: They ought to be treated fairly, they ought to be treated consistently."

Lenders' organizations joined by the California Chamber of Commerce said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday that the final legislation is an improvement, though they still fear it will "encourage frivolous litigation" by borrowers who cannot realistically afford to stay in their homes.

The lending industry cited a study it commissioned by Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles-based research firm. It echoes industry arguments that letting homeowners sue their lenders, even in limited circumstances, will delay foreclosures and increase lenders' costs, potentially harming the shaky housing recovery and making it more difficult and costly to obtain mortgages.

The legislation can't address what lenders say is the underlying problem: too many borrowers can't afford their payments.

"It's a mistake that will hurt this economy for years to come," said Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, a member of the conference committee.

Supporters of the bill say it still takes important steps.

"The point is ... not to launch an avalanche of lawsuits. What it's really about is having some meaningful accountability to ensure that servicers follow the rules," said Paul Leonard, director of the California office of the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer group.

Previous efforts have repeatedly failed to clear the Legislature. Leonard said the national mortgage settlement and Harris' involvement are likely to make the difference this year.

Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, who co-chaired the conference committee that negotiated the bill, said Brown's administration worked with Democrats on the legislation and has given every indication he would sign it into law. However, Brown declined to comment as he left the office of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, moments before the vote.

The law would not take effect until Jan. 1, though Evans and Harris said they expect lenders would begin following the new rules immediately even if the penalties don't yet apply.

by Don Thompson - Jul. 2, 2012 04:44 PM Associated Press



Assembly OKs adding bank settlement into Calif law

Assembly OKs adding bank settlement into Calif law

SACRAMENTO - California will become the first state to write into law much of the national mortgage settlement negotiated this year with the nation's top five banks, and expand it to all mortgages, under wide-ranging legislation approved by state lawmakers on Monday.

Majority Democrats sent the homeowner protection package to Gov. Jerry Brown despite opposition from business and lending organizations and most Republican legislators.

The Assembly approved the legislation on a 53-25 vote, and the Senate followed quickly on a 25-13 vote.

The legislation would require large lenders to provide a single point of contact for homeowners who want to discuss loan modifications. It would prohibit lenders from foreclosing while the lenders consider homeowners' request for alternatives to foreclosure. And it would let California homeowners sue lenders to stop foreclosures or seek monetary damages if the lender violates state law.

The protections would benefit all California homeowners, not just those whose mortgages are with the five banks that signed the national settlement in February. And many of the restrictions would become permanent, while those in the nationwide agreement will end after five years.

It applies to all owner-occupied residences, but not commercial or rental properties

Jose Vega drove 70 miles to Sacramento with his two young children to lobby lawmakers to pass the legislation after he spent three years battling to keep his home in the San Francisco-area city of Pittsburg.

In November 2009, he said he found a trustee sale notice posted on his door 16 days after he was placed in a loan modification program. He was put into another modification program in the spring of 2010, only to have the bank again begin foreclosure proceedings.

Vega, 52, eventually kept his home after filing for bankruptcy and getting help from the office of Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Now he and his family owe $466,000 -- including the bank's legal fees -- on a home he said is worth about $200,000.

"I'm not asking for a handout. All I'm saying is, you created this mess, let's work something out," said Vega a member of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. "Hopefully, California will lead the way so other states will follow."

Attorney General Kamala Harris said the compromise legislation negotiated with lawmakers "is going to bring transparency and fairness to California homeowners in a way they've never had before."

She helped negotiate the February settlement that requires Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Ally Financial Inc. to pay $18 billion in penalties to California homeowners.

Key portions of her original proposal to write the settlement into state law were stalled by opposition from some of her fellow Democrats in the Legislature, until the right to sue banks and other measures were significantly narrowed.

"This legislation can be the catalyst not only for a recovery of California's real estate market, but a catalyst across the nation as borrowers everywhere will demand the same protections given to California borrowers, the same protections given to our families," said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, a member of the conference committee that negotiated the bill. "And those protections boil down to this: They ought to be treated fairly, they ought to be treated consistently."

Lenders' organizations joined by the California Chamber of Commerce said in a letter to lawmakers on Friday that the final legislation is an improvement, though they still fear it will "encourage frivolous litigation" by borrowers who cannot realistically afford to stay in their homes.

The lending industry cited a study it commissioned by Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles-based research firm. It echoes industry arguments that letting homeowners sue their lenders, even in limited circumstances, will delay foreclosures and increase lenders' costs, potentially harming the shaky housing recovery and making it more difficult and costly to obtain mortgages.

The legislation can't address what lenders say is the underlying problem: too many borrowers can't afford their payments.

"It's a mistake that will hurt this economy for years to come," said Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, a member of the conference committee.

Supporters of the bill say it still takes important steps.

"The point is ... not to launch an avalanche of lawsuits. What it's really about is having some meaningful accountability to ensure that servicers follow the rules," said Paul Leonard, director of the California office of the Center for Responsible Lending, a consumer group.

Previous efforts have repeatedly failed to clear the Legislature. Leonard said the national mortgage settlement and Harris' involvement are likely to make the difference this year.

Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, who co-chaired the conference committee that negotiated the bill, said Brown's administration worked with Democrats on the legislation and has given every indication he would sign it into law. However, Brown declined to comment as he left the office of Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, moments before the vote.

The law would not take effect until Jan. 1, though Evans and Harris said they expect lenders would begin following the new rules immediately even if the penalties don't yet apply.

by Don Thompson - Jul. 2, 2012 04:44 PM Associated Press



Assembly OKs adding bank settlement into Calif law

Monday, July 2, 2012

Housing-market crash takes toll Arizona real-estate agents

The recession took a toll on Arizonans employed in real estate during the past five years with the loss of nearly 17,000 agents.

There are 35,864 real-estate agents with active licenses, down 32 percent from 2007 when there were 52,286 active agents, according to recent figures from the Arizona Department of Real Estate.

The number of license holders is down 4 percent from last year.

An additional 19,245 agents have inactive licenses, meaning they are not employed by a broker and cannot conduct any real-estate activity. That is up from 12,652 agents with inactive licenses in 2007.

"You saw during those years that Realtors had to weigh the economics to decide about staying in the business as a primary income generator," said Rebecca Grossman, president and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors. "When the market is like that, if you're not truly committed it's difficult to make a living."

The association saw its membership fall 11 percent in 2009 from the previous year. It bottomed out in 2011 at 7,068 members but has increased 2 percent this year to 7,200 members.

Meanwhile, there has been a gradual recovery in the housing market, Grossman said.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday revealed increases in 19 of the 20 U.S. cities tracked from March to April.

San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Phoenix posted the largest increases. Prices were up 2.5 percent in Phoenix, 2.8 percent in Washington and 3.4 percent in San Francisco.

Good agents forced out

Gordon Snyder, chairman of the Realtors group, said a lot of good agents were forced out of the business during the downturn.

"They had to make money and couldn't hang on," he said.

Now that the market has turned, Snyder said, he and other agents, brokers and title companies are seeing a tremendous amount of activity.

"I've had more deals in escrow at one time than ever before," said Snyder, with Realty Executives.

The flip side is that the deals are about half the value of what they were at the market peak, he said.

The Northeast Valley's luxury market is starting to recover with fewer "screaming deals" in Paradise Valley and Scottsdale, Snyder said.

Brokers holding steady

The number of brokers and real-estate companies has been more stable during the recession.

ADRE reports that there are 12,618 brokers statewide, down 3 percent from last year but up 1.6 percent from 2007. The number of brokers peaked at 13,120 in 2010.

There are 2,868 self-employed brokers. Active real-estate companies total 8,385 as of June 1, down 3.4 percent from last year and 3.1 percent from 2007.

Real-estate agents pay $110 for a license and $100 for a renewal.

Agents must work under the supervision of a broker. Brokers pay $225 for an original license and $250 for a renewal.

Gary Holloway of Zip Realty Inc. said it's too early in the housing-market recovery for a lot of agents to get into the business.

"It's going to start picking up," he said. "We'll start to see more agents as we get more inventory."

Meanwhile, agents like Holloway are dusting off an old joke about a recovery that goes something like this: "Dear God, give me one more real-estate boom and I promise I won't spend it all on toys."

by Peter Corbett - Jun. 29, 2012 12:27 PM The Republic | azcentral.com




Housing-market crash takes toll Arizona real-estate agents

Housing-market crash takes toll Arizona real-estate agents

The recession took a toll on Arizonans employed in real estate during the past five years with the loss of nearly 17,000 agents.

There are 35,864 real-estate agents with active licenses, down 32 percent from 2007 when there were 52,286 active agents, according to recent figures from the Arizona Department of Real Estate.

The number of license holders is down 4 percent from last year.

An additional 19,245 agents have inactive licenses, meaning they are not employed by a broker and cannot conduct any real-estate activity. That is up from 12,652 agents with inactive licenses in 2007.

"You saw during those years that Realtors had to weigh the economics to decide about staying in the business as a primary income generator," said Rebecca Grossman, president and CEO of the Scottsdale Area Association of Realtors. "When the market is like that, if you're not truly committed it's difficult to make a living."

The association saw its membership fall 11 percent in 2009 from the previous year. It bottomed out in 2011 at 7,068 members but has increased 2 percent this year to 7,200 members.

Meanwhile, there has been a gradual recovery in the housing market, Grossman said.

The Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller home-price index released Tuesday revealed increases in 19 of the 20 U.S. cities tracked from March to April.

San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Phoenix posted the largest increases. Prices were up 2.5 percent in Phoenix, 2.8 percent in Washington and 3.4 percent in San Francisco.

Good agents forced out

Gordon Snyder, chairman of the Realtors group, said a lot of good agents were forced out of the business during the downturn.

"They had to make money and couldn't hang on," he said.

Now that the market has turned, Snyder said, he and other agents, brokers and title companies are seeing a tremendous amount of activity.

"I've had more deals in escrow at one time than ever before," said Snyder, with Realty Executives.

The flip side is that the deals are about half the value of what they were at the market peak, he said.

The Northeast Valley's luxury market is starting to recover with fewer "screaming deals" in Paradise Valley and Scottsdale, Snyder said.

Brokers holding steady

The number of brokers and real-estate companies has been more stable during the recession.

ADRE reports that there are 12,618 brokers statewide, down 3 percent from last year but up 1.6 percent from 2007. The number of brokers peaked at 13,120 in 2010.

There are 2,868 self-employed brokers. Active real-estate companies total 8,385 as of June 1, down 3.4 percent from last year and 3.1 percent from 2007.

Real-estate agents pay $110 for a license and $100 for a renewal.

Agents must work under the supervision of a broker. Brokers pay $225 for an original license and $250 for a renewal.

Gary Holloway of Zip Realty Inc. said it's too early in the housing-market recovery for a lot of agents to get into the business.

"It's going to start picking up," he said. "We'll start to see more agents as we get more inventory."

Meanwhile, agents like Holloway are dusting off an old joke about a recovery that goes something like this: "Dear God, give me one more real-estate boom and I promise I won't spend it all on toys."

by Peter Corbett - Jun. 29, 2012 12:27 PM The Republic | azcentral.com




Housing-market crash takes toll Arizona real-estate agents

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