Home affordability strong in many real estate markets

The average listing price for a home in the U.S. is $292,152. About 36% of the real estate markets analyzed had an average home listing price of less than $200,000, indicating affordability remains strong in many markets, according to Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s Home Listing Report.

The Coldwell Banker report analyzed more than 72,000 home listings in more than 2,500 markets by comparing the listing prices of similar homes in markets across from the country from January to June of this year.

Five of the most expensive real estate markets are located in California, with four out of the five markets located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Los Altos, Calif. tops the list, followed by Newport Beach, Saratoga, Melo Park and Palo Alto.

“The success of many of our native tech companies has shined a spotlight on Silicon Valley and our real estate market in the San Francisco Bay Area,” said president Rick Turley of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The most expensive state to live in is Hawaii with the average listing price of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home is $742,551.

In contrast, the most affordable market is Redford, Mich., with the average home listed at $60,490.

Four of the top 20 most affordable markets are located in Michigan, particularly in the metro-Detroit region.

“Where Michigan was one of the first states impacted by the recession, it’s also been one of the first states to recover,” said chief executive officer Kelly Sweeney of Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel. “Nobody ever gets priced out of Redford, putting the American Dream within grasp of nearly everybody.”

In the South, Georgia and Florida each have four of the 20 most affordable markets.

“Each year, our home listing report captures an insightful look at local market conditions and emerging trends in real estate,” said president Budge Huskey of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “We recognize that buying a home is a significant life decision, and we do this apples-to-apples comparison of similar homes to provide homebuyers with useful information about the many great opportunities that exist around the U.S.”

Bank of America holds event to discuss home #foreclosures in #Phoenix

With nearly 54,000 foreclosure homes in Arizona this year, Bank of America held an event in downtown Phoenix Tuesday for homeowners to meet with home loan specialists and discuss their current financial situation. Cronkite News reporter Bill Melugin has more on the story.

Eastmark in #Mesa to get more #homes – #az #realestate

Source: AZCentral.com

More developers are signing up for pieces of the former General Motors Desert Proving Ground in southeast Mesa.

Scottsdale-based AV Homes Inc. and JEN Partners LLC of New York City announced Tuesday they have combined to buy 527 acres in the Eastmark property being developed by DMB Associates of Scottsdale.

A new entity called TerraWest Management Co. LLC will coordinate the two developments aimed at very different demographics:

AV Homes is spending $18.6million for 310 acres on which it plans to build a 1,000-home active-adult community under its Vitalia brand. The company already is in the Phoenix-area market with its CantaMia adult community in the West Valley.

JEN Partners is spending $13.6million for 217 acres where it will develop 550 lots for a gated executive-housing community. The lots then will be sold to luxury-home builders.

Carl Mulac, executive vice president of AV Homes, said in a news release that Eastmark “is clearly one of the best development locations in the region.”

DMB bought 5 square miles of the former GM property for $265million in late 2006 and then had to sit on the property as the Great Recession ravaged the real-estate market.

Early plans for a luxury resort on the north end of the GM land fell through, and a 1.3million-square-foot First Solar Inc. factory built on its northeastern corner last year is largely idle because of the economy.

But, early this year, DMB announced plans to break ground on about 700 homes in nine subdivisions northwest of Ray and Signal Butte roads. In June, seven builders said they were spending $50million to buy those lots in hopes of having homes for sale by next May.

The developments announced Tuesday will be south of there, between Signal Butte and Crismon roads.

Plans for another big chunk of the former GM property, purchased in 2004 by Phoenix businessman William Levine, lay fallow until this year.

In September the Mesa City Council approved two developments on that property, totaling 590 acres, being purchased by Harvard Investments of Scottsdale.

The GM site is viewed as a prime target for developers because Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport lies just to the west, across Ellsworth Road.

If You’re Trying To Sell Your #Home, You Will Be Thrilled By This Chart

Source: BusinessInsider.com

With today’s update of Existing Home SalesCalculated Risk has updated the always-useful chart showing how many months of household inventory remains on the market.

The important line here is the red line: Months of housing supply on the market.

The months of supply is down to 5.4 months, which is down from last month, and sharply down from a year ago.

Everybody who is trying to sell their house should be thrilled that the balance between sellers and buyers is coming back into balance.

Says Nomura, with respect to today’s housing news:

The housing data revealed today are quite positive, reflecting the sustained recovery in the housing market that began earlier this year. Housing data for the months of November and December might reflect a slowdown mainly due to Hurricane Sandy. This slowdown would be temporary as people look to rebuild their homes that were destroyed during the hurricane and as transactions affected by Sandy are completed.


Source: BusinessInsider.com


Nice number!

Housing starts for the month surged to 894K, well above the 840K that was expected, and nicely above last month’s 872K annualized rate.

This is consistent with the surge in homebuilder sentiment that we got yesterday.

This is the highest level since June 2008.


Big datapoint of the day: Housing starts.

Analysts are expecting 840K (annualized) down from 872K last month.

Hurricane Sandy may be a factor.

As we’ve been writing lately, the creation of new houses and households is becoming a major positive tailwind for the economy.


#Mortgage Rates Fall into Record-Breaking Territory #realestate


Fixed-rate mortgages dropped to new all-time lows this week, pushing homebuyer affordability even higher for those who can qualify.

“Fixed mortgage rates eased this week to record lows on indicators of higher consumer confidence and wholesale prices,” Frank Nothaft, Freddie Mac’s chief economist says.

The following are the national averages with mortgage rates reported by Freddie Mac for the week ending Nov. 15:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged a new low of 3.34 percent, with an average 0.7 point. The previous record low was 3.36 percent, set the week of Oct. 4. A year ago, 30-year rates averaged 4 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged a new low of 2.65 percent, with an average 0.7 point. Its previous record low was 2.66 percent, set during the week ending Oct. 18. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.31 percent.
  • 5-year adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 2.74 percent, with an average 0.6 point, rising slightly from last week’s 2.73 percent average. Last year at this time, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.97 percent.
  • 1-year ARMs: averaged 2.55 percent, with an average 0.3 point, dropping from last week’s 2.59 percent average. A year ago, 1-year ARMs averaged 2.98 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

#Foreclosure Discounts Vanishing #realestate #phoenix


Foreclosure discounts have nearly dried up due to low inventory levels, according to the latest housing reports.

The average discount nationwide for foreclosure properties has fallen to 7.7 percent, according to Zillow research. In some parts of the country, there is no foreclosure discount when compared to other sales.

“The smallest foreclosure discount is found in places where competition for homes is so high, people there are willing to pay the same amount for a foreclosure re-sale that they would for a non-distressed home simply to take advantage of historic affordability,” says Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist.

The smallest foreclosure discounts can be found in:

  • Las Vegas (0%)
  • Phoenix (0%)
  • Sacramento, Calif. (0.7%)
  • Riverside, Calif. (1.8%)
  • San Diego (2.4%)
  • Miami-Ft. Lauderdale (2.9%)
  • Los Angeles (4.2%)
  • San Francisco (4.7%)

Meanwhile, the places with the largest foreclosure discounts are:

  • Pittsburgh, Pa. (27.8%)
  • Cleveland (25.8%)
  • Cincinnati (20.2%)
  • Baltimore (20%)
  • New York City (15.5%)

Zillow: Fewer underwater homeowners in #Phoenix #realestate #eastvalley

Source: BizJournals.com

About 45 percent of homeowners in Maricopa and Pinal counties — or 352,444 homes — were underwater during the third quarter, a 13 percent-drop from the two previous quarters when slightly more than half were underwater, the report said.

Underwater, or negative equity, is when a homeowner owes more on their mortgage than their home’s present assessed value. Zillow calculates the negative equity rate as the percentage of all mortgaged homes in an area that are underwater.

One of the highest negative equity rates in the Valley was in the south Phoenix ZIP code of 85043, where 74 percent of homeowners were underwater in the third quarter; about 40 percent of those homeowners were underwater by a whopping 200 percent.

While that’s significantly higher than the Valleywide average, it’s still a notable decline from when the area posted a 81 percent negative equity rate in the second quarter, the report said.

Metro Phoenix’s underwater rate during the third quarter was fifth-highest in the nation, based on Zillow’s analysis of the top 30 largest metropolitan areas.

The highest negative equity in that time frame was Las Vegas’s staggering 63 percent, down from 68.5 percent in the previous quarter.

Atlanta trailed behind in second place with 50.4 percent of mortgaged homes underwater, versus last quarter’s 54.4 percent, and was followed by Orlando’s 47.7 percent, down from 51.9 percent, and Riverside, Calif.’s 47.3 percent, down from 51.2 percent.

Despite the quarter-over-quarter improvements, the aforementioned metro areas, including Phoenix, are far worse off than the rest of the nation, the report said.

The nationwide negative equity rate for the third quarter was 28.2 percent, or slightly more than 14 million underwater homeowners. That’s down from the previous quarter’s 31 percent negative equity, or 15.3 million homeowners, the report said.

Zillow officials attributed the negative equity decline to an increase in mortgage refinances and rising home values in recent months, but cautioned there are still hurdles to overcome.

“While we’re moving in the right direction, a substantial number of homes are still locked up in negative equity, unable to enter the existing re-sale market despite the desires of their owner,” Stan Humphries, Zillow’s chief economist, said in the report. “The housing market has found real momentum of its own, but is not immune from shocks to the broader economy. If negotiations centered on resolving the fiscal cliff don’t inspire confidence in investors and consumers alike, recent home value gains – and, as a result, falling negative equity rates – could stall.”

Chandler: The Silicon Desert

Source: AZCentral.com

When Microchip Technology Inc. Chairman and CEO Steve Sanghi first came to Chandler in 1989, the city was little more than a small downtown business district surrounded by housing and vast swaths of farmland. “You could cut through the fields if you were running late,” Sanghi said.

Since that time, Chandler has become one of the fastest-growing high-tech centers in the country, particularly in the areas of microchip manufacturing and data-center development.

In September, Arizona State University President Michael Crow said the city is on track to become “the world’s most sophisticated high-tech factory town.”

“Chandler is an emerging global technology center,” Crow said. “It has unbelievable potential.”

Crow noted Intel Corp.’s ongoing construction of a $5billion, next-generation manufacturing facility known as Fab 42, which is scheduled to open in Chandler in 2013.

The facility is expected to employ about 1,000 workers when in full-production mode.

Another major high-tech project under construction in Chandler is a 1million-square-foot data center by CyrusOne LLC, a Houston-based data-center developer and operator. It also is scheduled to open in 2013.

When completed, it will be the largest data center by far in the Phoenix area and second-largest in the U.S., surpassed only by the 1.1million-square-foot Lakeside Technology Center in Chicago.

Chandler also has been making a name for itself recently in the area of high-tech startup companies.

In October, online business resource American Express Open Forum rated Chandler fourth in the nation among cities with the greatest number of high-tech startups per capita.

Representatives of large, small and midsize technology companies operating within the city said Chandler’s rapid transformation can be attributed to relatively inexpensive commercial real estate, the presence of microprocessor giant Intel Corp. and city officials who have made it a priority to attract high-tech companies of all sizes.

Chandler remains far behind Silicon Valley in terms of the number and variety of technology firms, but city economic-development officials say their goal is to create a world-class technology hub by luring bigger high-tech firms to Chandler while helping new startups locate and grow within the city.

“By attracting those great technology giants into your community, you also organically spin out the next technology giants,” said Christine Mackay, Chandler’s economic-development director.

Projects such as Innovations, a high-tech business incubator founded and managed by Chandler, also promise to increase the number and variety of successful startups in Chandler, area business leaders said.

Mackay said there are 20 companies currently housed in the incubator, which opened in April 2010. So far, one former occupant has grown large enough to “graduate” from the facility, and one former occupant has failed, she said.

Mackay said Innovations is in a former Intel building that contains sophisticated laboratory facilities and other infrastructure not available in most incubators.

Chandler got a deal on the property, she said: $5.7million for a facility that cost Intel $15million to build. City officials see Innovations as an investment in Chandler’s economic future, Mackay said.

“It’s creating that next generation of companies that’s going to take Chandler forward for the next 50 years,” she said.

One promising example is Serious Integrated Inc., a Chandler startup led by five former Intel executives that produces ready-made, programmable touch-screen interfaces that can be added easily to consumer and industrial products.

Incorporated in 2008, Serious Integrated has been located inside Innovations for the past 18 months.

Company CEO Terry West said the decision to locate Serious Integrated in Chandler has been critical to the company’s success at getting its initial products to market.

City economic-development officials have helped out with everything from providing furnished office facilities to connecting the company with a local product-packaging firm, West said.

That type of assistance is critical for a fast-growing company funded primarily by friends, family and sales revenue, he said.

Chandler officials’ efforts to help startups such as Serious Integrated also benefit the community in terms of growing its economy and employment base, West said.

“These are good people who are trying really hard to do the right thing for the city,” he said.

Still, West said the company faces certain challenges as a result of being in Chandler.

For instance, it’s more difficult to find qualified engineers and other highly skilled workers than it would be if Serious Integrated had chosen a larger high-tech mecca such as San Jose or Austin, he said.

But with large technology firms such as Intel offering incentives for older employees to leave, West said the local labor pool is likely to deepen, and the environment should improve for high-tech startups.

Intel Government Affairs Manager Jason Bagley said the company has influenced the business environment in Chandler and Arizona in numerous ways ranging from government policy to the choice of retailers at Chandler Fashion Center mall.

Intel, which employs about 11,000 workers in Chandler, has a strong policy of “employee engagement” in the community, he said, which includes volunteering at local schools, donating to non-profit organizations and participating in business and trade associations.

The company also has lobbied the Legislature successfully to increase tax breaks for research and development and reduce taxes on manufacturers that sell most of their products outside Arizona, Bagley said.

But Intel’s biggest impact on Chandler has been its mere presence, which has attracted countless vendors, suppliers and other businesses while generating about $2.4billion in annual tax revenue for the state, he said.

Aside from its economic impact, Bagley said the company’s greatest influence has been to foster an “ecosystem of innovation” in the community, by promoting science and math education and mentoring smaller businesses through programs such as the Innovations incubator.

“We’re always looking at what is needed to drive this climate of innovation,” he said.

Microchip Technology is nowhere near Intel’s size but is still a major local employer, with more than 1,500 workers in Chandler and Tempe.

The only major high-tech firm headquartered in Chandler, Microchip Technology ended up there almost by accident when it purchased a former calculator-manufacturing facility in the city from Bowmar Instrument Corp., which later became White Electronic Designs Corp. and is now part of Aliso Viejo, Calif.-basedMicrosemi Corp.

It can be difficult to lure top-quality employees to Chandler, Sanghi said, but those who do join the company tend to stay for a long time.

Microchip Technology’s turnover rate is less than half the average for companies of its type, he said.

He attributed the low turnover rate to the area’s warm weather, low cost of living and the relative lack of nearby competitors compared with places such as Silicon Valley.

Over the the course of its 22-year history, Microchip Technology has dealt with a series of local administrations in Chandler, some more business-friendly than others, Sanghi said.

He said the city’s current crop of officials have had a positive influence on the company and the local high-tech community.

“They have their heads screwed on straight,” Sanghi said.