Sunday, November 24, 2013

Feds rip Arizona for mortgage relief failures

A new audit by the federal bailout watchdog confirmed Arizona has one of the worst records in handing out federal housing aid to struggling homeowners.

The quarterly audit of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, released late Monday found that Arizona distributed the second-lowest percentage of federal Hardest Hit mortgage aid directly to homeowners despite being one of the states hardest hit by the housing bust. The audit covered a period of roughly three years.

The Arizona Department of Housing disputed the audit’s findings, calling them “flawed and misleading.”

Read more...Feds rip Arizona for mortgage relief failures

Construction set for next Scottsdale Quarter phase

The Scottsdale Quarter plans to start construction next month on a third phase that will include more retail space and 275 apartments.

A six-story building is planned at 73rd Street and Greenway-Hayden Loop, just east of Scottsdale Road.

The project, including 22,400 square feet of retail, is targeted for completion in 2015. It will include four levels of parking, two of them underground.

There has been rumblings for at least two years that Bloomingdale’s is planning a store at Scottsdale Quarter, but it is just speculation at this point.

Read more...Construction set for next Scottsdale Quarter phase

Developer Ellman regroups after lost decade

Developer Steve Ellman took a financial thrashing in the past decade.

He lost ownership of the Phoenix Coyotes in 2006 and turned over management of Arena in Glendale. A lender took over Westgate City Center in a 2011 foreclosure.

Ellman, 61, said he lost more than $1.5 billion worth of real estate in the aftermath of the recession and was forced to lay off about half of the 200 Ellman Cos. employees.

Others might have wilted under those losses. Ellman managed to hold on to some valuable real-estate holdings. And he turned his focus to a new-media venture, with supersize digital billboards in New York’s Times Square, Hollywood and Las Vegas.

Read more...Developer Ellman regroups after lost decade

Paddock Pools corporate offices in Scottsdale to be replaced by condo complex

The south Scottsdale corporate offices and sales facility of Paddock Pools, Patios & Spas will be moving to make way for a new 20-building condominium complex.

The Scottsdale-based Meritage Homes has submitted to the city a rezoning request, and a Development Review Board proposal. It includes a site plan, landscape plan and building elevations for Paddock Village, to be located at 6525 E. Thomas Road, on Thomas one block east of 64th Street.

Read more...Paddock Pools corporate offices in Scottsdale to be replaced by condo complex

Mesa land auctioned off for $30.2 million, new homes planned - Phoenix Business Journal

The Arizona State Land Department auctioned off a large block of state land in east Mesa this morning to the highest bid of $30.2 million, only $200,000 more than the minimum bid allowed.

The auction itself was swift and rather anticlimactic as only two of the roughly 45 people in attendance actually participated in the bidding, which took place at the Land Department’s office in Phoenix.

Read more...Mesa land auctioned off for $30.2 million, new homes planned - Phoenix Business Journal

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Paradise Valley HOA reaches agreement with Mountain Shadows owners

The shuttered Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley has moved slightly closer to redevelopment.

The adjacent Mountain Shadows East homeowners association has come to a private agreement with the owners of the resort property, MTS Land LLC and MTS Golf LLC.

Tom Irvine, a lawyer representing the HOA, said issues not addressed in the agreements with the town from the HOA’s perspective have been resolved.

Read more...Paradise Valley HOA reaches agreement with Mountain Shadows owners

IRS Releases the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2013

Since there are just a few days left in the year 2013 and many of you are thinking of your tax planning before the end of the year, this is worth another read...

IR-2013-33, March 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued its annual “Dirty Dozen” list of tax scams, reminding taxpayers to use caution during tax season to protect themselves against a wide range of schemes ranging from identity theft to return preparer fraud.

The Dirty Dozen listing, compiled by the IRS each year, lists a variety of common scams taxpayers can encounter at any point during the year. But many of these schemes peak during filing season as people prepare their tax returns.

"This tax season, the IRS has stepped up its efforts to protect taxpayers from a wide range of schemes, including moving aggressively to combat identity theft and refund fraud," said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. "The Dirty Dozen list shows that scams come in many forms during filing season. Don't let a scam artist steal from you or talk you into doing something you will regret later."

Read more...IRS Releases the Dirty Dozen Tax Scams for 2013

Greenspan mulls roots of crisis he didn't foresee

WASHINGTON (AP) — For 18½ years as Federal Reserve chairman, he was celebrated for helping drive a robust U.S. economy. Yet in the years after he stepped down in 2006, he was engulfed by accusations that he helped cause the 2008 financial crisis — the worst since the 1930's.

Now, Alan Greenspan has struck back at any notion that he — or anyone — could have known how or when to defuse the threats that triggered the crisis. He argues in a new book, "The Map and the Territory," that traditional economic forecasting is no match for the irrational risk-taking that can inflate catastrophic price bubbles in assets like homes or tech stocks.

In an interview Sunday with The Associated Press, Greenspan reflected on his book, his Fed tenure and the risks that still endanger the financial system. Relaxed and looking fit at 87, he spoke for an hour in the sunroom of his house overlooking a wooded hillside of Northwest Washington. It's a home he shares with his wife, Andrea Mitchell, the NBC News anchor and chief foreign affairs correspondent.

Read more...Greenspan mulls roots of crisis he didn't foresee

In more homes, the roof overhead is rented

In the aftermath of a historic housing bust, rented single-family homes are on the rise in communities from coast to coast.

At least a fifth of all occupied single-family homes were rentals last year in 32 of the nation's top metropolitan regions, according to a USA TODAY analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. That's up from seven metros in 2006.

Read more...In more homes, the roof overhead is rented

Blackstone Funding Largest U.S. Single-Family Rentals - Bloomberg

Steve Schwarzman’s Blackstone Group LP (BX) has spent $7.5 billion acquiring 40,000 houses in the past two years to create the largest single-family rental business in the U.S. The private-equity firm is now planning to sell bonds backed by lease payments, the latest step in turning a small business into a mature industry.

Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) may start marketing almost $500 million of the securities as soon as this week, according to a person with knowledge of the transaction. The debt will include a portion with the highest investment grade from at least one ratings company, according to another person. Both asked not to be identified because the deal isn’t public.

Read more...Blackstone Funding Largest U.S. Single-Family Rentals - Bloomberg

Fewer investors, more houses kill bidding wars

In April 2012, a Glendale house listed for $119,000 sparked a bidding war that drew 95 written offers. The house sold for $140,000.

Many who were able to buy metro Phoenix homes in 2012 and early 2013 are familiar with being outbid before purchasing. But recent homebuyers can attest that aggressive price wars aren’t the norm anymore.

A 30 percent increase in the number of homes for sale and fewer investors has made the housing market less competitive. Over the past two months, several people who had been trying to buy since late last year were able to close deals for Valley homes.

Read more...Fewer investors, more houses kill bidding wars

Foreclosures slow to a trickle

The number of foreclosures has dropped dramatically in metro Phoenix since peaking in 2011. But during the housing crash, they dominated the market. Lenders have taken back more than 250,000 homes since 2008.

As the economy has improved, the number of foreclosures returned to precrash levels. In September, there were fewer than 700, compared with about 4,000 a month throughout 2011. The peak month for foreclosures in the Phoenix area was March 2010, when there were more than 5,000.

Read more...Foreclosures slow to a trickle

Retiree enclave set for Verrado

Scottsdale-based DMB Associates launched its first retirement community, Victory, on Tuesday. The development will go up on 1,200 acres within Buckeye’s 8,800-acre Verrado.

The first phase of Victory’s 3,500 homes will be offered for sale in January 2015. Prices aren’t yet available.

“We’ve created a neighborhood in our thriving small-town community of Verrado, where people can explore the life they have waited to live for at least 55 years,” Charley Freericks, president of DMB, said from a bluff in the White Tank Mountains overlooking Verrado.

Read more...Retiree enclave set for Verrado

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