Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fountain Hills Home Sales Show Fewer Distressed Properties

The weather may be cooling off, but home sales in Fountain Hills are heating up! Best of all, we are seeing fewer short sales and foreclosures in the market. Also, the ratio of short sales to foreclosures shows a sharp decline in foreclosures.

Here's how the Fountain Hills and Scottsdale, AZ distressed property ratios looked as of July 31, 2012:

  • Zip code 85268 - short sales 14% of home sales; foreclosures 5%
  • Zip code 85259 - short sales 16% of home sales; foreclosures 3%   
  • Zip code 85255 - short sales 18% of home sales; foreclosures 2%
  • Zip code 85268 - short sales 31% of home sales; foreclosures 5%

    When considering the impact of distressed home sales, short sales are the lesser of two evils, because these sales are conducted using current fair market value.This preserves the market value of nearby homes. Foreclosures are often sold at a discount from fair market value, which can pull down values of surrounding homes.

    Nationally, we are seeing a brighter picture across the board. HousingWire reports that nearly 2.5 million distressed homes will be removed from the "shadow inventory" during 2012.  There is also good news from Lender Processing Services, which reports that mortgage delinquencies are down by 30% since the peak of the housing crisis in 2010. 

    If you're still uncertain about buying or selling a home in today's market, keep this in mind: short and foreclosures are a part of any housing market, even in the most robust economies. Waiting for these categories to "disappear" before you buy or sell a home isn't a realistic strategy.

    For the latest Fountain Hills home sales data and market activity, contact me! I have over 30 years of experience in Fountain Hills real estate which will be your advantage when buying or selling a home!

    Whether you are relocating to Arizona or you are already a resident of our sunny state, I can help you make the most of today's opportunities!


    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    Home Buying vs. Renting in Fountain Hills, AZ

    If you are a renter in Maricopa County, you may not realize that your cost of living could be cheaper as a homeowner!

    A new study by Trulia compared the costs of owning a home against renting.Here's how the study worked and what it means for Fountain Hills.

    Trulia examined rental and home sale markets in major metros, from June through August of 2012. When adding up the costs of home ownership, they considered the closing costs, property taxes, homeowner's insurance premiums, and mortgage loan interest. They also considered the effect of itemizing allowable home expenses from income tax.

    For rental expenses, Trulia used the average rents for comparable properties and included renter's insurance premiums. They also used a 7-year term of home ownership vs. 7 years of rent for the purpose of the study.

    And the result? For Phoenix, AZ, the cost of renting averaged $1,223 per month. The cost of home ownership averaged $625 a month. Homeowners are ahead by $598 a month!

    Skeptical? The results are similar in Tucson, AZ. Renting averaged $1,172 per month; home ownership averaged $635 a month. Homeowners pocket the difference of $536!

    There are situations where renting makes sense, especially for short-term occupancy. However, if you are looking at seasonal occupancy on an annual basis, ownership still serves you better in the long run. It all comes down to your personal needs, lifestyle, and long-term goals.

    How do things look in Fountain Hills? Our proximity to Phoenix gives us similar price ranges for housing costs. But why not do some comparisons of your own? I have all the information you need about the beautiful homes for sale in Fountain Hills - and I can also help you find rental properties. Whether you wish to own or rent, there's one thing we can all agree on - Fountain Hills is a wonderful place to live!

    With over 30 years of Fountain Hills real estate experience, I have the local expertise to guide you through our fast-changing Fountain Hills real estate market. If you are ready to enjoy the splendor of panoramic, desert views from your own home, let me show you how to get started. Contact me today about home buying in Fountain Hills!

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Fountain Hills Real Estate and the Arizona Housing Recovery

    There's more good news for the Fountain Hills real estate market! According to the National Association of Home Builders, four metropolitan areas in Arizona are shown in their Improving Markets Index: Phoenix-Scottsdale, Prescott, Tucson and Yuma.

    Of the four Arizona metros, Phoenix-Scottsdale has experienced the strongest gain in home prices since 2011.

    Cities named in the Index have shown at least six consecutive months of improvement in home prices, employment, and housing permits. Here's how it looks for Phoenix-Scottsdale:

    • Home prices are up 13.6% from their low point in June 2011
    • Employment has improved by 4.3% since Sept 2010
    • Housing permits are up by 4.3% since March 2009

    Arizona's housing recovery is also noted in a report by 24/7 Wall Street, which ranked Arizona as #1 in price improvement. According to their analysis, Arizona home prices increased 16.6% from July 2011 to July 2012. Statewide, the median home price as of July 2012 was $248,229.

    We are still far from the market peaks of 2007. Distressed properties will continue to affect Arizona real estate for some time to come. However, it is the opinion of industry analysts that we have seen the bottom of the real estate market! With improvements to the short sale processes, continued low interest rates, and strengthening local employment, our home prices will improve at a gradual pace.

    Fountain Hills is well-positioned for growth, having the advantages of natural beauty, ample recreation, and proximity to corporate centers, shopping and dining. If you are considering a move to Arizona, start by looking at the beautiful Fountain Hills homes available now!

    Whether you are buying or selling a Fountain Hills home, put your trust in my 33 years of local real estate experience! I can help you make the most of today's opportunities in the Fountain Hills real estate market. I will also provide you the courteous, professional service you can count on! Contact me today for help with all of your real estate questions!

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012

    Mortgage News for Fountain Hills Home Buyers

    What goes down, must come up! Due to recent pricing changes by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, mortgage interest rates may tick upwards after October 1, 2012. The government-sponsored mortgage monoliths are increasing the fees they charge to mortgage lenders by 10 basis points, which will increase costs for home buyers.

    The motive behind the change is to even the playing field for investors and private capital. Since the housing crisis began, private money fled the mortgage market, leaving Freddie and Fannie guaranteeing the majority of residential mortgages. Now that housing is in recovery, it makes sense to get private capital back into the game. This spreads around the risks of mortgage financing and should reduce the odds of tax-funded bailouts in the future.

    Naturally, any increase in lending costs will be passed along to the borrower. According to Bloomberg, the increase of 10 basis points will cost home buyers $4,000 over the life of a $200,000 mortgage. It will be largely transparent to the home buyer, as the increase will be in the form of slightly higher interest rates.

    Given that median home prices in Fountain Hills and the greater Phoenix-Scottsdale area are hovering just under $200,000, the mortgage pricing changes should not disrupt anyone's home buying plans. After all, residential mortgage interest is tax-deductible, and the monthly payment impact in Bloomberg's example would be about $11.

    Where the concern comes in, is that this pricing change is independent of market factors or economic policies. We have enjoyed low mortgage interest rates and affordable home prices for so long, that it's easy to take these conditions for granted - but they won't last forever. Now is the time to explore the beautiful Fountain Hills homes we have on the market!

    As your Accredited Buyer Representative, I provide tremendous experience and local expertise to guide you through our fast-changing Fountain Hills real estate market. If you are ready to enjoy the splendor of panoramic, desert views from your own home, let me show you how to get started. Contact me today and find out more about home buying in Fountain Hills!