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Phoenix new home building climbs again in July; Will buyers opt for communities farther out again?

AZCentral Real Estate - Fri, 08/24/2012 - 10:33
 Buyers growing demand for new homes in metro Phoenix continued in July, but home building could slow during the next few months if builders run out of lots in the most popular developments.
New home permits climbed to 1,303 in July, their second highest monthly level this year, according to RL Brown and Greg Burger’s Phoenix Housing Market Letter. Monthly tallies of residential building permits have been above 1,000 for the past five months in the region. A year ago, home building activity was half that pace each month.
Metro Phoenix’s most popular new home communities now will be out of home ...

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Debate over shadow inventory in metro Phoenix

AZCentral Real Estate - Thu, 08/23/2012 - 12:51
The debate among housing market watchers over whether metro Phoenix has a looming shadow inventory goes on even as foreclosures fall and home prices keep rising.
Some believe there are thousands of homes in the region that mortgage payments haven’t been made on for years, but lenders haven’t moved to foreclose on.
The concern is those homes make up a “shadow inventory” that could be dumped on the market anytime or all at once – stalling the current recovery.
Other housing experts, including Mike Orr of Arizona State University, don’t think the area has a shadow inventory problem.
New numbers on mortgage delinquencies ...

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Debate over shadow inventory in Phoenix

AZCentral Real Estate - Tue, 08/21/2012 - 10:27
 The debate among housing market watchers over whether metro Phoenix has a looming shadow inventory goes on even as foreclosures fall and home prices keep rising.
Some believe there are thousands of homes in the region that mortgage payments haven’t been made on for years, but lenders haven’t moved to foreclose on.
The concern is those homes make up a “shadow inventory” that could be dumped on the market anytime or all at once – stalling the current recovery.
Other housing experts, including Mike Orr of Arizona State University, don’t think the area has a shadow inventory problem.
New numbers on mortgage delinquencies ...

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Phoenix data firm Information Market bought by ARMLS

AZCentral Real Estate - Fri, 08/17/2012 - 11:05
 The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Services is acquiring data provider The Information Market. Terms of the deal aren't being disclosed. 
The Information Market is a leader in real estate datap research. It's client include Arizona State University,  The Arizona Republic, The Cromford Report and several Valley cities. 
With the acquisition, ARMLS members will have access to Information Market data from public records on home sales and foreclosures. 
The 30-year-old regional Realtor group has been undergoing changes since a deal to become statewide failed last year. Bob Beamis, the industry group's last chief executive, left in February to join Zillow. ...

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Fannie Mae hides the buyer of bulk sale of Phoenix foreclosures

AZCentral Real Estate - Thu, 08/16/2012 - 09:16

A few days ago, 275 foreclosure houses across metro Phoenix were purchased through a very quiet $34 million cash deal. But it's not clear yet who the buyer is.
In February, Fannie Mae announced it would auction 2,490 foreclosure homes in Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago, Florida, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. It was the first time the government-owned mortgage firm agreed to openly sell groups of foreclosure houses located in just one metro area. Since the crash, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac usually have sold homes they get back from lenders one by one, or ...

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A view of Phoenix's housing market from the trenches

AZCentral Real Estate - Tue, 08/14/2012 - 09:37
Metro Phoenix's housing market is showing signs of a real recovery: higher prices, more regular home owners and buyers, and fewer foreclosure and short sales.
The market's rapid changes, peculiarities and frustrations draw many comments from homeowners and people in the real-estate industry. Here is some recent correspondence from readers:
I've been trying to sell my house for four years. Anyway, I listed my house (again) in June, except this time my agent was far more optimistic, and our asking price was far more reasonable -- that means I won't end up owing money but ...

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Meritage Homes earnings jump, thanks to housing recovery

AZCentral Real Estate - Thu, 07/26/2012 - 11:01

By Catherine Reagor| The Republic|azcentral.com

Scottsdale-based Meritage Homes Corp. posted a jump in its second quarter earnings after its home sales hit a four-year high during the period..
On Thursday, the home builder reported its net income for the quarter ended June 30 climbed to $8 million, or 24 cents per share. That compares to a profit of $562,000, or 2 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2011.
Meritage’s revenue from both home and land sales increased to $281.3 million, compared to $220.1 million for the same period last year.
Arizona’s only publicly-traded home builder sold 1,042 houses during the second quarter, ...

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Monopoly of real estate in Phoenix

AZCentral Real Estate - Mon, 07/23/2012 - 06:45

Metro Phoenix’s housing market hasn’t been all fun and games, but the real-estate industry has come up with a new way to play the market and win.
The Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service has a created a Monopoly game based on the Phoenix-area real-estate market. Called ARMLS-OPOLY, players can buy Apache Junction for $60, Goodyear for $200 and Fountain Hills for $320.
“Paradise Valley and Scottsdale are the Boardwalk and Park Place of the game,” said Chris Heagerty, ARMLS director
Paradise Valley has the highest price tag: $400.
“We wanted to do something with a long shelf life to celebrate our 30th anniversary,” Heagerty ...

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Arizona 3rd for mortgage fraud

AZCentral Real Estate - Fri, 07/20/2012 - 09:54

Arizona ranks third nationally for mortgage-fraud investigations, according to a new report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The research, formerly known as the Mortgage Asset Research Institute Report, found increased levels of fraud and misrepresentation in foreclosures and short sales.
Tom Brown, senior vice president of LexisNexis, said collusion is a problem in higher levels of fraud in those deals among the “real-estate-owned worlds,” have made collusion a bigger fraud problems.
He said now more than ever, complex schemes are coming under increased scrutiny and  investigators need to  pay attention to all parties and relationships in non-arm’s-length real-estate deals.
Florida ranked No. 1 for ...

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Phoenix home prices increase again in June, but at slower pace

AZCentral Real Estate - Wed, 07/18/2012 - 10:16
Metro Phoenix’s home sales and price increases have been leading the nation this year. The region’s median home price increased again in June, but at a slower pace than previous months.
The sales price of an existing home in Maricopa County climbed to $146,000 in June, up $1,000 from May, according to AZ Bidder/Information Market data.
That’s the smallest month-to-month increase since December, when the median climbed $100 from November to reach $120,000.
Last month, 7,499 resales were recorded in the region. That’s the lowest level this year since February, when 6,751 existing homes changed hands.
A slight ...

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Fewer metro Phoenix homeowners underwater

AZCentral Real Estate - Thu, 07/12/2012 - 09:42
It could be that metro Phoenix's home prices have climbed more than 30 percent in the past year. Or fewer homeowners owe more than their home is worth because they have sold through short sales or lenders have foreclosed on them.
But according to California-based CoreLogic in Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale 46.2 percent, or 423,367, of all residential mortgages were underwater at the end of this year’s first quarter. That compares to 54.5 percent, or 502,600 mortgage holders that had negative equity during the fourth quarter 2011.
Nationally, 11.4 million, or 23.7 percent, of all residential properties with a mortgage were innegative equity at ...

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Home building picking up in metro Phoenix. Will there be enough construction workers to keep up?

AZCentral Real Estate - Thu, 07/05/2012 - 17:00
Many in Arizona’s homebuilding industry have been concerned about Senate Bill 1070 since it passed two years ago. Thousands of undocumented immigrants picked up stakes and left the state then, and many of those people worked in the construction industry.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday struck down three of the key parts of the law but validated the part that allows a law-enforcement officer to try to determine the immigration status of people stopped or arrested, if there’s reasonable suspicion they are in the country illegally.
In 2010, the housing market had crashed, the nation ...

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Phoenix real estate forecast: concern over too many investors

AZCentral Real Estate - Fri, 06/22/2012 - 10:09
 A market overview from a longtime Phoenix real estate expert, who more recently has become an analyst: Mark Stapp, director of the Master of Real Estate Development program at Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business.
Is metro Phoenix’s housing market recovering?
Stapp: When you look at the statistics, it’s obvious the housing sector is recovering. My concern lies specifically with how it has recovered. It is investors who dug us out of the hole, not homeowners. We currently have a single-family housing stock that is about 30 percent renter-occupied. Normally, we are at about 10 percent. Our full recovery will ...

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Mortgage complaints dominate Consumer Protection filings

AZCentral Real Estate - Tue, 06/19/2012 - 13:09
The national Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports about 19,000 of the 45,000 complaints it has received in that past year were about mortgage modifications, foreclosures and loan payment collectors.
The federal agency, formed last summer, recently released its first report: 
Patricia Garcia Duarte, chair of the Arizona Foreclosure Task Force, wants to remind struggling homeowners in the state they can call (877)448-1211 to receive free help from a HUD-certified counselor. ...

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Phoenix foreclosures up slightly

AZCentral Real Estate - Thu, 06/14/2012 - 10:37
Lenders foreclosed on 2,001 metro Phoenix homes in May, about 350 more than in April, according to AZ Bidder.

Foreclosure starts, or notice of trustee sales, ticked up slightly to 4,328 last month, compared to 4,255 in April.

Real estate analysts Tom Ruff attributes the slight increase to foreclosure moratoriums during the holidays delaying lenders’ actions against deliquent borrowers for a few months.

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Arizona award's $20 million in affordable housing tax credits

AZCentral Real Estate - Fri, 06/08/2012 - 12:20
The Arizona Housing Department is speeding up the development of low-income housing projects across the state.
The agency awarded $20 million in tax credits to 18 projects last week. Instead of the developers taking the typical two years to build the much-needed housing, the housing department has worked out deals for the projects to be completed in almost half the time.
“By finishing the projects faster, the developers can still receive the tax-credit gap financing incentive included in Housing and Economic Recovery Act,” said Michael Trailor, director of Arizona Housing Department.
The stimulus money, called the Tax Credit ...

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Latest round of questions from metro Phoenix homeowners

AZCentral Real Estate - Tue, 06/05/2012 - 09:46
Home prices are rising in metro Phoenix, foreclosures are falling and a growing number of homeowners are able to refinance with the federal Housing Affordable Refinance Program, HARP 2.0.

Still, questions abound about the region’s housing market. Home values have climbed 25 percent already in the past year. Will the price-recovery trend continue? Are the bidding wars, created because of the small number of homes for sale, healthy for the market? How effective have the federal programs been so far?

Here are some comments on the topic from metro Phoenix homeowners who contacted me after recent ...

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Tracking federal housing programs in Arizona

AZCentral Real Estate - Fri, 06/01/2012 - 10:45
After more than $500 million in federal allotments to Arizona to try to slow foreclosures, the latest federal housing-assistance program seems to be the first one to provide widespread help.
A growing number of metro Phoenix homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth are lowering their interest rates and monthly payments with the federal government's second version of its Home Affordable Refinancing Plan.


While the federal government has yet to release figures on the number of homeowners in the program, mortgage brokers, homeowners and housing counselors are both surprised and encouraged by its early success.
The program allows homeowners with loans ...

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Home flips in Phoenix

AZCentral Real Estate - Thu, 05/31/2012 - 12:28

In another sign that metro Phoenix's housing market is slowly recovering, hundreds of homes across the region sold by banks after foreclosure or through short sales are being flipped by investors for almost double the price they paid just a few months earlier.
With metro Phoenix's median home price steadily climbing this year, speculators have seized on an opportunity to make fast profits and are selling houses across the region at prices not seen since the beginning of the housing boom in 2003-04.
Home prices have climbed as the supply of houses for sale has ...

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