There Are 4 Big Pieces Of #Housing Data Coming Out This Week #realestate

A full moon rises over manhattan

Economists have been getting increasingly bullish on housing, with some expecting home prices to rise 8 percent this year.To gauge the housing recovery analysts watch data points including home sales and inventory for insight into how tight the housing supply is.

They also watch for sentiment among home builders.

This week we see four important housing data points. Here’s what to expect:

  • The NAHB housing market index for March is out on Monday at 10 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Bloomberg are looking for homebuilder sentiment to rise to 47, from 46 the previous month.
  • Housing Starts for February are out 8:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Economists polled by Bloomberg are looking for housing starts to rise 2.8 percent month-over-month to 915,000, compared with the 8.5 percent decline in January to 890,000. Meanwhile, building permits are expected to rise 2.1 percent to 923,000, compared with a 1.8 percent rise in January to 925,000.
  • On Thursday, we get the FHFA house price index (HPI) for January at 9 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Bloomberg are looking for HPI to rise 0.7 percent month-over-month, compared with 0.6 percent the previous month.
  • Existing home sales for February are also out on Thursday, at 10 a.m. ET. Economists polled by Bloomberg are looking for existing home sales to rise 1.6 percent month-over-month to an annual rate of 5 million, compared with a 0.4 percent rise to an annual rate of 4.92 million in January. 

While monthly data tends to be volatile, it gives us insight into developing trends in the housing market.

SOURCE: Business Insider

Agents use video to personalize listings

For tech-savvy buyers, real estate agents go to the video

By Katherine Reynolds Lewis and ,
Occasionally, when real estate agent James Lisowski is at an open house, someone will approach him and say: “You’re the guy on the video!”Started about a year ago as a way to stand out, Lisowski’s online video home tours have garnered him and his fellow agents a small following and become an important tool in their marketing strategy: targeting tech-savvy buyers who increasingly are conducting much of their search through their mobile devices.

“A big piece of the puzzle . . . is loss aversion,” Humphries said. “In January, 27 percent of sales in the D.C. metro area were losses. Most sellers are loath to sell their home at a loss, and many are still anchored on the peak-level prices.”

“Essentially, the housing market has become like a game of musical chairs,” Humphries added. “People won’t get out of their seats because they’re afraid they won’t be able to find another seat to sit down in.”

As a result, sellers who aren’t underwater and want to list often are in a better bargaining position. In February, they were, on average, able to get 97.1 percent of their list price. The 10-year average for that month is 95.5 percent.

Even in a seller’s market, it’s not a given that anyone can simply put up a for-sale sign and expect a wave of offers pushing the property well above list price. Supply and demand — the biggest factors in determining sale prices — can vary dramatically from one neighborhood to another.

Still, with all things being equal, experts say, what can distinguish one house from another in popular neighborhoods are the right pricing strategy and buzz.

Pricing, listing strategies

For Rob and Debbie Seidner, getting ready has meant months of gradually clearing out the toy clutter of their 1-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son and caulking and touching up the paint on their Capitol Hill rowhouse, even though it was gutted and rebuilt two years ago.

“Our house really is move-in ready,” said Rob Seidner, expressing concern about the competition. “We do have a completely redesigned, brand-new house, but most of the ones on the market, you’d be the first ones living there.”

His real estate agent is tracking every listing and sale in the area, making sure that he knows the condition and details of each home, and staying attuned to the changing market. The Seidners have communicated three price points to their agent: the lowest they could possibly accept, the level at which they’d break even and the price at which they could move out immediately.

“We know what he thinks is a really great price, and if someone’s coming in and blowing that out of the water, it’s easy enough to put our things in storage,” said Seidner, 36, who works in human resources at the Transportation Department. The family aims to move to the suburbs, he says, so the children will have better school opportunities.

Whether to list slightly above market, exactly at the market or slightly below in hopes of attracting more interest and driving up the price are hot issues among real estate agents.

Jennifer Nangle, an agent based in the District with Re/Max Realty Services, says she prices homes about 1 percent below the market value in hopes of attracting multiple offers and moving higher.

But Traci Levine, an agent with Long and Foster in Potomac, said, “I’m pushing the envelope with my pricing.” Levine, noting that every listing since January has sold, added: “The good houses are going within a matter of hours to days. There’s just nothing on the market.”

Recently, she listed a Potomac house with an unfinished basement for $920,000 and received multiple offers, when the previous comparable sale from nearly three years ago was $880,000, with a finished basement.

In Northern Virginia, Mary Bayat, broker-owner of Bayat Realty in Alexandria, says she prices houses $5,000 to $8,000 above comparable sales to leave room for negotiation.

“We don’t do that,” Fulcrum agent Tom Kavanagh said. “We try to hit it right on. We don’t want to overprice it.”

The best day of the week to introduce a listing to the market is also a matter of debate. Redfin advised a Friday debut, to land on the top of a buyer’s mobile phone queue when he’s planning his weekend house shopping. Redfin’s historical data show that homes listed on Friday sell faster and closer to the asking price than on any other day of the week.

Other agents prefer to list on Wednesday or Thursday to leave more time to get prospective buyers’ attention.

But in terms of when the buying season will begin, agents and experts agreed that waiting until your flowers bloom may be too late. “We’re in the throes of the spring market now,” said Long and Foster’s Levine. “If you wait until late March or April, you’ll have more properties competing.”

The art of the video

“I’m hanging out in Petworth today right outside President Lincoln’s cottage. He spent over a quarter of his whole presidency here,” says Phil Di Ruggiero in his video on the District’s Petworth neighborhood.

“Let’s go ask him why,” says Di Ruggiero, a real estate agent who owns and serves as marketing director of GreenLine Real Estatein D.C., holding a microphone to the mouth of a statue of Lincoln. “No comment,” he says, then shifts the microphone to the mouth of a statue of Lincoln’s horse. “Let’s go talk to someone who actually lives here now and see what they think.”

Di Ruggiero says he strives for broadcast quality in his seven-minute videos, often employing humor to make them engaging. He says he wants to make house-hunting a fun experience for buyers, rather than drudgery in having to click through photos online.

When he began this marketing campaign in 2009, he said, he paid someone to produce the videos, adding that good ones can cost $5,000. Since then, he has purchased equipment, studied the art of video-making and now produces them himself.

He has produced about 30 videos on D.C. neighborhoods — what he calls mini-documentaries — and on individual properties. One video he produced shows people at an open house raving about a Columbia Heights condo.

He considers 1,500 page views to be a success.

“You can’t fudge with video. For people to give it any credence, they have to feel as though it has the same polish and feel as what they see on television,” he said. Familiarize yourself with “fast editing and fast cuts,” he urges other agents.

Videos are a growing segment of real estate marketing but are not yet widely used, experts say.

In a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 14 percent of sellers questioned said their agent used video to market their home, up from 9 percent in 2007. In that same survey, 45 percent of buyers questioned said they found video tours very useful.

“Over the last couple of years, we came from virtually no use of video,” says Paul Bishop, the association’s vice president for research. “Now sellers are looking for creative ways to market their homes. Video . . . is something I can use to really market my home over and above advertising, a mention in the paper, an open house or sign in my front yard. Technology is making it feasible to reach a broader audience.”

Finding the right buyer

Fulcrum Properties Group uses a full-time videographer to make video tours of every home the D.C. real estate firm lists, pointing out different features of the house.

The firm distributes links to the video to brokers, agents and interested buyers, as well as the homeowner’s networks, which with just-listed cards and in-person visits to neighbors will build buzz for the first open house. “That first weekend we’ll get 50 bodies through. It builds a little frenzy,” said Fulcrum’s Tom Kavanagh.

Once the offers start coming in, experts say, it is time to shift from creative thinking to critical thinking.

Remove emotions from the process and focus on your goal: a single, qualified buyer who can consummate the deal in your required time, within your price parameters. As appealing as the scenario of multiple offers and a bidding war seems, that may signal to your buyer’s lender that the home isn’t worth the purchase price — and the financing could fall through, costing you the sale.

“You want one person that’s well qualified, that has a wonderful lender and a great settlement attorney and is going to settle between 30 and 45 days,” said Kavanagh.

Be realistic. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how hot the market is for other sellers, but for your specific circumstance.

“The market is great, but it matters how you present yourself in the market,” agent Bayat said. “The most important thing is, what is your goal, what do you want to achieve?”

Katherine Reynolds Lewis is a freelance writer.

Source: The Washington Post

These Are The Questions About Crime #Homebuyers Always Forget To Ask

breaking-bad-4The list of question every buyer asks about the various properties during a house hunt is relatively predictable.

How many bedrooms does it have? Baths? Square footage? What are the HOA dues?  What’s the school district?

Then, we get more specific, personalizing the questions based on our own vision, aesthetics and lifestyle needs:

Can that wall be moved?  Is there space for Grandma’s dining room table? Is there a shady spot for an orchid house in the backyard?

When it comes to crime, most of us simply don’t ask any questions at all, as (a) agents might be prohibited from doing much beyond pointing us to law enforcement sources, and (b) we tend to assume most neighborhoods are either ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ low-crime or not.

The truth is never so black and white. Fortunately, technology has made it easy-peasy for us to get a deeper, more nuanced, and more usable understanding of the crime that takes place in our neighborhood-to-be, which in turn allows us to make smarter decisions about which home we buy and how we live in it, once we buy it, than we could have even ten years ago.

The key to tapping into this nuanced crime information is asking the right questions. Here’s a short list of the right questions to ask about crime before you buy a home.

1.  Do any offenders live nearby? In most states, Megan’s Law and similar provisions mandate that certain individuals with histories of criminal convictions must register their home addresses with local authorities, who in turn are required to make this information available to the public. Google “your city, your state Megan’s Law registry” to find sites where you can type in an address (like the address of the home you’re considering buying) and find a list of registered sex offenders in the area. Many of these sites will also offer you a map showing your address and the relative locations of the homes of the registered offenders.

The reality is that every neighborhood – even very upscale areas – has someone living in it who has committed a crime in the past, so don’t completely freak out if you happen to find someone in your neighborhood-to-be with a history of sex offenses. The utility of this information is that it empowers you and your children to recognize these dangers and to take care to avoid hazardous situations. That said, if you happen to have young children and notice that the Megan’s Law map has a halfway house with a dozen registered sex offenders living right next door to your target home, that information might change your decision about whether that property is the right one for you.

There is also power in following the path of the information you are given on these registry sites.  Many will surface information like what the registrants’ crimes were, when they happened, the registrants’ photos and more useful intelligence. This information can help you evaluate the degree to which you should be concerned before you buy.

2.  Was the home a drug lab?  You think your home’s former owner’s food or pet smells are toxic? That’s nothing compared to the truly unpleasant and health-impairing effects some have experienced after buying a home that turned out to have been a methamphetamine lab in a former life.  If the sellers know this about a home, they should certainly disclose it. Unfortunately, many of these homes end up sold by banks as foreclosures, or by estates, trusts, landlords or other corporate owners who don’t know the home’s past – or don’t have a legal obligation to disclose it.

Get the answer to this question to the best of your ability via this two-step process:
(a) talk with the neighbors – they often will reveal whether the house had a shady past, then
(b) search the federal Drug Enforcement Association’s Clandestine Laboratory Registry, here:  http://www.justice.gov/dea/clan-lab/clan-lab.shtml.

3.  What sorts of crimes happen in the area. Where and when do they happen? Crime happens virtually everywhere. But the details of crime patterns vary widely in various neighborhoods. One side of town might be plagued with an overall low crime rate, but the crime that does happen tends to be violent crime after dark. While another neighborhood across town might have lots of car break-ins during the day while people are at work, but not much going on after residents get back home – and not much violent crime at all.

This sort of information can be highly useful to a buyer-to-be, as it can help you make decisions not just about whether or not to buy, but also about whether to park your car outside (or not), whether to get an alarm and where in a given neighborhood you might prefer your home to be (e.g., interior cul-de-sac vs. thoroughfare in the same area).

Trulia Crime Maps offer precisely this sort of nuanced information, allowing you to view your town and neighborhood’s crime rate in heat map format showing the relative violent and non-violent crimes that have taken place recently in different parts of town. It also provides information on crime trends, in terms of the frequency of criminal activity taking place at various hours of the day, and the most dangerous intersections in your town or area.  SpotCrime.com offers another angle on nuanced crime data, breaking down crime types with easy-to-scan icons and providing data for communities all over the country.

4.  What anti-crime features does – or can – the home have?  Review your disclosures and talk with the sellers (through your agent, of course) about what anti-crime features the home currently has. This will allow you to prepare for any upgrades, downgrades or changes you’ll want to make.  For example, if a home has security bars that were installed 3 decades ago, you might want to have them brought up to code with a fire release bar, or removed altogether.  Or, perhaps the sellers currently have the home wired for an alarm that can be armed, disarmed and video monitored remotely – if you want to continue that service, you’ll need to get that information and make the account change when you take over the other utilities and home services.

On the other hand, the home might not have any anti-crime features.  So, if there is a particular alarm or monitoring system you like, it is smart to check in with that provider before close of escrow to find out whether they can provide services to the new address and, if so, what it will cost and take to equip the home and start service up at closing.

5.  What does the neighborhood do to fight crime – and how can I help? Neighborhoods across the country fight and prevent crime the grassroots way, by maintaining strong connections between the home owners and neighbors who all have in common the desire to live and raise their families in a safe, secure, thriving place.  Don’t hesitate to ask your home’s seller and/or any neighbors you talk to about whether there are any neighborhood associations, neighborhood watch groups, email lists, social networks, regular meetings, block parties or other community connections in which you can actively participate. ALL: Did you ever omit to ask a crime-related question about a home – and later come to regret it?

SOURCE: Trulia.com

Top 10 Moving Destinations in the U.S. #housing #realestate

By Ilyce Glink | CBS MoneyWatch3e5e575e-52dd-42ba-85cb-d0e750e49bed_116662729Americans are on the move. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 36 million people relocated in 2012, an increase from 2011’s record low mover rate of 35.1 million. And while many of those stayed within the same county, plenty of them packed their bags and moved to a different state.Data from Penske Truck Rental, a global transportation services provider, showed that warmer climates were the biggest impetus to move last year. Check out where Americans moved in 2012.

10. Sarasota, Fla.Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Sarasota is home to Siesta Key Beach, which ranked one of the top three beaches in the U.S. for four years in a row. In addition to its fine white sand and calm blue waters, Sarasota is the perfect place to enjoy boat rides, eco-tours, world-class restaurants and more. With a median home sale price of $165,000, according to online real estate firm Trulia.com, housing is affordable for many middle-income families.

9. Charlotte, N.C.Charlotte is a major U.S. financial center, with Bank of America and the East Coast operations of Wells Fargo both headquartered here. In 2011, the city was named the second largest financial center by assets, behind New York City. Nicknamed “The Queen City,” Charlotte is home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, more than 40 public golf courses and plenty of other big-city attractions. On average, homes sell for around $162,000.

8. SeattleIt’s certainly not warm and sunny, but Seattle offers residents a little bit of everything. Check out the city’s gorgeous mountain and water views from the famous Space Needle, or enjoy the generally mild temperatures and locally grown food at Pike Place Market. Homes sell for a median price of $362,500; if you have more to spend, check out the unique houseboats — a la “Sleepless in Seattle” — on Lake Union. They’re more expensive than a traditional home but offer a one-of-a-kind living experience.

07-denver-630-jpg_1901557. Denver
Denver is the perfect blend of big city and mountain living. A short drive from the Rocky Mountains, the “mile high” city draws residents who want to work hard and play harder — outside. From skiing and snowboarding in the winter to mountain biking and hiking in the summer, there’s always something to do. The weather is generally mild, with super-hot and below-freezing days peppered in for good measure. For all its perks, Denver’s home prices are reasonable — the median home sale price is $233,950.

6. Houston
Winters in Houston are mild, to say the least. Temperatures average in the mid-60’s December through February, and are well into the 70s by the time March rolls around. If you like mild winters, hot summers and Southern hospitality, Houston is the place for you. There are plenty of employment opportunities, and homes sell for a median price of $124,050. For that price, you’ll have plenty of cash left over to enjoy the countless restaurants and shops Houston has to offer.

5. Chicago
Residents of the Second City enjoy food from all over the world, thanks to Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, and entertainment that ranges from the world-famous Joffrey Ballet to local rock bands. Public transit moves residents easily from neighborhood to neighborhood, so a car is unnecessary, and the median home sale price is $190,000 — a steal for a home in a large city.

4. Orlando, Fla.
It’s well-known as the home to Disney World, but Orlando isn’t just Mickey Mouse. It’s also one of the world’s largest golf destinations and home to more pro golfers than any other city in the world. But you don’t have to hit the links to enjoy the city. Locals relish fishing, boating and other outdoor activities in the year-round warm weather. Homes are inexpensive, with the median home sale price hovering around $116,000.

Phoenix-png_2015453. Phoenix
If you love warm, sunny weather, Phoenix is for you. The average temperature is 70 degrees in February, and rainfall is a rarity year-round. While summer days can peak well into the 100s, evenings are great for dining under the desert stars. Residents enjoy kayaking, hiking and biking in the spring and winter months, before the heat of summer gets too oppressive. The Phoenix real estate market is slowly rebounding from its post-housing bust lows, but the median home sale price is still a reasonable $131,000.

2. Dallas-Fort Worth
Reasonable housing prices, ample job opportunities and pleasant weather continue to draw new residents to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Enjoy the classic, Texas-style fun, like rodeos, along with fast-paced thrills at the Texas Motor Speedway and Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. Even with all the nightlife, shopping and entertainment that residents enjoy, home prices remain reasonable — the median home sale price is $61,000.

1. Atlanta
For the third year in a row, Atlanta was the country’s most popular place to move last year. A diverse city with many cultural attractions, residents enjoy the perks of big cities like New York and Chicago without the sub-freezing temperatures. Atlanta is home to the world’s largest aquarium, numerous critically acclaimed restaurants and a thriving cultural scene. For a city as in-demand as Atlanta, homes are affordable, with a median home sale price of $200,100.

Source: Yahoo.com

The 2 Big Ways The Fiscal Cliff Is A Problem For The #Housing #Market

Housing is considered a bright spot in the U.S. economy. But the fiscal cliff – over $600 billion in tax and spending provisions set to expire at the end of the year – could deliver a blow the housing recovery.

screen shot 2012-11-20 at 9.47.20 amBank of America’s Michelle Meyer writes that the hosing market is exposed to the cliff in two ways.

First, policies that impact growth and that could potentially send the economy in to a recession or create uncertainty could weigh on housing demand and construction.

Second, policymakers also need to hash out how they intend to support the housing and mortgage market.

“Tax policies for housing and the government’s role in the mortgage market are up for debate. The biggest concern is removing or reducing the mortgage interest tax exemption, which costs the Treasury about $80bn a year. Homeowners with a mortgage can deduct interest payments from household income if they chose to itemize allowable expenses. If homeowners do not itemize, they can take the “standard” deduction, which is up to $11,900 for couples and $5,950 for singles. About two-thirds of the population takes the standard deduction.

Those who chose to itemize have large mortgage payments and/or other deductions such as charitable contributions; this mostly captures the upper income cohort. Of those who itemize deductions, 90% earn more than the median income.1 This means that if the mortgage tax deduction was removed or phased out it would hit the higher priced markets disproportionately. Home prices would have to adjust lower as effective mortgage payments would be higher.”

Meyer doesn’t anticipate any changes immediately but expects them to be part of the ‘grand bargain’. She thinks the high-priced housing market would be most affected.

She projects that home prices will increase 3 percent in 2013, and that housing starts will increase 25 percent to an average of 975,000.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/impact-of-fiscal-cliff-on-housing-2012-12#ixzz2Fc7Hn8It

Fannie Mae predicts record-low mortgage rates entering 2013

MortgageBond_1Mortgage rates are anticipated to remain at an all-time low for the first half of 2013, then slowly rise during the second half of the year, although they will remain below 4%, reported Freddie Mac.

On the same day that Fannie Mae released its National Housing Survey, showing increased consumer confidence in the housing industry, Freddie Mac revealed its U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for December.

The housing outlook predicts what some of the market features are expected to look like in 2013.

“The last few months have brought a spate of favorable news on the U.S. housing market with construction up, more home sales, and home-value growth turning positive,” said Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist of Freddie Mac.

Property values are expected to gain strength with most house price indexes increasing as much as 3% next year.

Housing starts are expected to jump to a net 1.20 to 1.25 million household increase in 2013, with starts up around the 1 million annualized pace by the fourth quarter.

Vacancy rates should fall significantly for both apartments and single-family homes for sale, dropping to 2002 to 2003 levels.

The 2012 refinance boom will continue into early 2013, suggesting single-family mortgage originations may decline by as much as 15%, while multifamily lending is believed to rise approximately 5%.

“This has been a big change from a year ago, when some analysts worried that the looming ‘shadow inventory’ would keep the housing sector mired in an economic depression. Instead, the housing market is healing, is contributing positively to GDP and is returning to its traditional role of supporting the economic recovery,” said Nothaft.

Available Housing Inventory Is Collapsing

Tuesday economic releases:
• At 10:00 AM ET, Trulia Price & Rent Monitors for November. This is the index from Trulia that uses asking prices adjusted both for the mix of homes listed for sale and for seasonal factors.

Here is another update using inventory numbers from HousingTracker / DeptofNumbers to track changes in listed inventory. Tom Lawler mentioned this last year.

According to the deptofnumbers.com for (54 metro areas), overall inventory is down 22 percent year-over-year and probably at the lowest level since the early ’00s.

This graph shows the NAR estimate of existing home inventory through October (left axis) and the HousingTracker data for the 54 metro areas through early December.

Since the NAR released their revisions for sales and inventory last year, the NAR and HousingTracker inventory numbers have tracked pretty well. HTearlyDec2012

On a seasonal basis, housing inventory usually bottoms in December and January and then increases through the summer. So inventory will probably decline a little further over the next month or so, before increasing again next year.

The second graph shows the year-over-year change in inventory for both the NAR and HousingTracker.HTEarlyDecYoY2012

HousingTracker reported that the early December listings, for the 54 metro areas, declined 21.7 percent from the same period last year.

The year-over-year declines will probably start to get smaller since inventory is already very low. It seems very unlikely we will see 20%+ year-over-year declines next summer, but it does appear that inventory will be very low in 2013.

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.