Archive for August, 2007

Scottsdale Ranch Update – September 2007

 Scottsdale Ranch – September 2007

www.theholmgroupaz.com  

  • Currently there are over 57,000+ homes available through the AZ MLS
  • Average Days on Market for a home in Scottsdale Ranch is roughly 113 days
  • Scottsdale Ranch has a total of 50 homes on the market through the MLS with average  price per square foot of $302 (not including for sale by owner)
  • Average price per for a home being sold is $962k
  • Average  home size being sold is 2690 sqft
  • Price ranges of homes on the market ($514k to over $2 million)
  • 4 homes in Scottsdale Ranch Sold in August 2007
  • 8 homes went into pending status in August

  Recent Sales in Scottsdale Ranch 

·         11174 E Sorrel LN 3900 sqft (Listed for $955k and Sold for $995k)

·         10492 E Mission Ln 2174 sqft (Listed for $629k and Sold for $615k)

·         9829 E Cochise Dr 3040 sqft (Listed for $799k and Sold for $745k)

·         10294 E Gold Dust Ave 3046 sqft (Listed for $1,200k and Sold for $1,050k)

·         10157 E Bayview Dr 2500 sqft (Listed $1,550k and Sold for $1,440k)  

Just a few reasons to work with The Holm Group 

  • I live in the community and care about what value you receive for your home
  • I have a number of top ranking websites that focus on driving traffic specifically to buyers that are looking to move into your community. (www.theholmgroupaz.com)
  • I sold 40% of my own listings in 2005 by representing both the buyer and seller
  • Six of the homes I sold in 05-06 were sold exclusively without ever going onto the MLS.  In turn, saving my clients ten of thousands of dollars 
  • If you are looking at doing any remodeling give me a call as I have established relationships with several area contractors that can help you on virtually any project

   Representing Buyers and Sellers throughout Scottsdale Ranch…

  Andrew Holm, ABR Sterling Fine Homes & Land

The Holm Group Office: 480-767-2738  Cell: 480-206-4265

Email: Andrew@theholmgroupaz.com

Desert Ridge Update – September 2007

  Desert Ridge – Market Update September 2007

www.theholmgroupaz.com 

  • Currently there are over 57,000+ homes available through the AZ MLS
  • Desert Ridge has a total of 117 single family homes on the market through the MLS.   Average days on market are 119 and average price per square foot of $235 (not including for sale by owner)
  • Cheapest house available in Desert Ridge is priced at $299,900
  • Most expensive house on the market is priced at $1,999,000
  • Average price for a home currently on the market is $650k
  • Average price for a home in pending status is $549
  • Average price for a home being sold is $564k
  • Pending sales are currently priced at $228 a sqft (these have yet to record)
  • Desert Ridge had a total of 22 sales close in the month of August and 11 homes go pending

  Recent Sales in Desert Ridge  

·         4719 E Weaver Rd 1962 sqft (Listed for $405k and Sold for $395k)

·         4505 E Kirkland Rd 2432 sqft (Listed for $644k and Sold for $600k)

·         4056 E Williams Dr 3230 sqft (Listed for $650k and Sold for $625k)

·         4614 E Hamblin Dr 3250 sqft (Listed for $695k and Sold for $675k)

·         4415 E Kirkland Rd 3864 sqft (Listed for $784k and Sold for $740k)

·         22053 N 55th St 3502 sqft (Listed for $829k and Sold for $820k)  

Just a few reasons to work with The Holm Group 

  • I have a number of top ranking websites that focus on driving traffic specifically to buyers that are looking to move into the Desert Ridge area.
  • I sold 40% of my own listings in 2005 by representing both the buyer and seller
  • If you are looking at doing any remodeling give me a call as I have established relationships with several area contractors that can help you on virtually any project
    • I have had several clients that have used my contractors and I can send you detailed photos of the work they have had done. 

  Representing Buyers and Sellers throughout Desert Ridge.   

Andrew Holm, ABR Sterling Fine Homes & Land

The Holm Group LLC Office: 480-767-2738  Cell: 480-206-4265

Email: Andrew@theholmgroupaz.com

Kierland Update – September 2007

Kierland – Market Update September 2007

www.kierlandagent.com  

  • Currently there are over 57,000+ homes available through the AZ MLS
  • Kierland has a total of 7 UDC homes, 10 town homes, and 4 Lofts on the market through the MLS.   Average days on market are 160 and average price per square foot of $357.25 (not including for sale by owner)
  • The largest house in Kierland according to recent MLS data is 3630 sqft
  • Average price for a UDC home being sold Kierland is $701k
  • Pending sales are currently priced at $262 a sqft (these have yet to record)
  • Only 1 home sold in the month of August – 1 loft went pending
  • Highest sale to ever record for a Kierland UDC home is now $900k

  Recent Sales

 ·         6601 E Spring 3424 sqft (Listed for $735k and Sold for $724k)

·         15221 N Clubgate #1031 1364 sqft (Listed for $409k and sold for $399k)

·         15221 N Clubgate #1001 1364 sqft (Listed for $410k and Sold for $399k)

·         6781 E Gelding Dr 2050 sqft (Listed for $599k and Sold for $570k)

·         6438 E Claire Dr 2364 sqft (Listed for $625k and sold for $599k)

·         6419 E Betty Elyse Ln 2769 sqft (Listed for $709k and Sold for $670k)

·         6435 E Montreal Pl 2883 sqft (Listed for $849k and Sold for $835k)  

Just a few reasons to work with The Holm Group 

  • No single agent represented more buyers/sellers in Kierland than I did in 2004-2006!!
  • I have a number of top ranking websites that focus on driving traffic specifically to buyers that are looking to move into the Kierland area. (www.kierlandagent.com and www.kierlandrealtor.com)
  • I sold 40% of my own listings in 2005 by representing both the buyer and seller
  • Six of the homes I sold in Kierland in 05-06 were sold exclusively without ever going onto the MLS.  In turn, saving my clients tens of thousands of dollars 
  • Speak to present and past Kierland home owners for references
  • If you are looking at doing any remodeling give me a call as I have established relationships with several area contractors that can help you on virtually any project
    • I have had several clients in Kierland that have used my contractors and can send you detailed photos of the work they have had done. 

  Representing more Buyers and Sellers in Kierland than any other agent in 2004-2006.

Andrew Holm, ABR Sterling Fine Homes & Land

The Holm Group LLC Office: 480-767-2738  Cell: 480-206-4265

Email: Andrew@theholmgroupaz.com

AZ Republic – $40 millino office, retail center unveiled

Peter Corbett
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 30, 2007 03:46 PM 
 

SCOTTSDALE – Developers of a recently acquired state land parcel southeast of 100th Street and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard have unveiled plans for their $40 million neighborhood shopping center. Saxa, formerly Shea Commercial, has submitted a preliminary application with Scottsdale to build about 100,000 square feet of space on 11 acres, split between offices and retail. That will include one- and two-story buildings of up to 26 feet, said Pete Meyer, a Saxa principal.

Restaurants, with outdoor dining, and several shops will be built facing the intersection just east of Circle K.  We want to have a fountain and a garden setting for the restaurant patios, with trellises and stacked stone walls,” Meyer said.Saxa won state land at auction Saxa, which paid $10 million for the state trust land at a June auction, hopes to start building in the second quarter of next year and complete the unnamed project by the end of the 2008. The land, surrounded on two sides by homes, is one of the last large parcels along Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.Parking will be on the interior of the project with the buildings stretching along Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and the southern edge of the property.

Bank locating on acre at center Saxa plans to sell one acre of the site for bank. About eight to 10 retail spaces, including up to four restaurants are likely as Saxa begins trying to sign tenants, Meyer said. Saxa is not yet sure whether it will lease or sell the office condominiums, he said.

The company has been a leader in building office condos in the Valley and nine other states.

Saxa’s previous projects include Ironwood Square at 96th Street and Shea Boulevard, the Pima Commerce Center at Loop 101 and Raintree Drive, and Desert Fairways at Bell Road and Loop 101.

Mark Ortega, president of the nearby Aviara community homeowners association, said Saxa has presented a good plan for the site.

“They going to do a good job to visually punctuate the corner of 100th Street and Frank Lloyd Wright,” said Ortega, adding that the buildings and the project will compliment the neighborhood.

Area activist asks for medians Ortega has been active on neighborhood development issues. He has tried to convince the city to add landscaped medians along more than a mile of 100th Street, between Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard past Thompson Peak Parkway, and for nearly a mile along 92nd Street, between Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Raintree Drive. Ortega has a point.

As a neighborhood resident, I have noticed how these five-lane roads were designed for heavier traffic. The wide expanse of un-shaded asphalt is overkill and merely adds to the urban area’s heat-island effect.

Apartment rents are climbing Valley developers are expected to add 7,000 apartment units this year, increasing the inventory by 3 percent, according to Marcus & Millichap’s second quarter apartment market report. The second-quarter vacancy rate is estimated at 5.4 percent.

In southern Scottsdale, the vacancy rate was 6.4 percent, while average rents were up 2.2 percent to $872 per month.

Rent Valleywide increased 4.1 percent to $768 per month.

In the past two years, about 20,000 apartment units were converted to condominiums, but sales have slowed. That has stalled conversions in Scottsdale and throughout the Valley.

Marcus & Millichap also reports that apartment complex sales were down 12 percent year-over-year, but the median sales price increased 12 percent to $66,700 per unit. 

www.theholmgroupaz.com

AZ Republic – Market Street tries to build on success

Peter Corbett
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 30, 2007 03:14 PM 
 

SCOTTSDALE – Two restaurants and four new shops will fill vacancies early next year at Market Street at DC Ranch. Sol y Sombra chef Aaron May will open a second restaurant called Autostrada.

The Herb Box also plans to open a second Scottsdale café and market at DC Ranch.


“We recognized a great opportunity in Market Street and we are looking forward to joining the vibrant shopping district,” said Susan Wilcox, Herb Box co-owner.
DMB Associates, which is developing DC Ranch, opened Market Street in 2001. A number of restaurants and shops have succeeded at Market Street, but others have failed, leaving several high-profile storefronts vacant.

Market’s Street’s restaurants and bars do a brisk business, particularly on weekends. That includes Sol y Sombra, Eddie V’s Edgewater Grill, Armitage Wine Lounge & Cafe, San Felipe’s Cantina, Blue Wasabi Sushi & Martini Bar, Flo’s Hong Kong Food Market and Patsy Grimaldis’s Pizzeria.

But the retail has been less successful.

“We’ve been trying to court the right tenants to get the right mix at Market Street,” said Robert Mayhew, a DMB vice president. DC Ranch’s nightspots rocking Market Street hits on “all cylinders” at night, but it has not attracted enough patrons for lunches, Mayhew said, adding that the Herb Box and Autostrada should help with that.The Herb Box, with its first location at 6990 E. Shea Blvd., will be open on Market Street for breakfast and lunch.

Autostrada, which will be open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., well, expands on Chef May’s offerings at Sol y Sombra, a tapas restaurant that opened on Market Street just over year ago.

“Market Street’s appeal is unlike any other in the Valley,” May said. “The clientele is sophisticated and appreciates innovative dining experiences.”

Market Street’s new shops will include a women’s casual clothing retailer, an art gallery, a jeweler and a luxury home furnishings boutique focusing on bed and bath items.Nearly 3,000 homes, eventually DC Ranch opened in 1997 with 400 property owners. It has grown to 2,300 owners and should add another 600 when the community is completed, according to DMB.DMB plans to bring the Grazie Pizzeria Winebar to DC Ranch in the first quarter of 2008. The third Grazie location will be in the new Canyon Village office and retail project at Union Hills Drive and Thompson Peak Parkway.

Grazie’s co-owner Maurizio Cristiani has a pizzeria in downtown Scottsdale and one at DMB’s Verrado community in Buckeye.

In addition to Canyon Village, DMB also plans to build the 27-acre DC Ranch Crossing center southeast of Pima Road and Union Hills Drive. The mixed-use project will include an AJ’s Fine Foods market.   

If you are looking for a home in the DC Ranch area click here.

Tribune – Multiuse F.H. project could spark downtown

Mike Branom, Tribune Civic leaders in Fountain Hills long have wanted something, anything, to enliven the dormant downtown.

Now, a developer and investment company have announced plans to construct a large mixed-use project, featuring a 12-screen movie theater complex, near the town’s namesake park. Groundbreaking on Fountain Hills Town Square could start by the beginning of 2008, its backers said Tuesday.

So, Fountain Hills soon will learn whether its hopes for an energy boost can survive the realities of zoning hassles, free-market competition, wary residents and the idea of handing over incentives worth mil- lions of taxpayer dollars.

“My feeling is, if the numbers work out I support it,” Mayor Wally Nichols said. “If the numbers don’t work out, I don’t support it.”

Plans call for 120 to 150 loft condominiums, 200,000 square feet of retail shops and restaurants, and up to 100,000 square feet of office space. Also to be constructed is a two-story parking garage.

The project would be constructed on a 13-acre parcel bordered by Avenue of the Fountains and Paul Nordin Parkway, Saguaro Boulevard and the Town Hall/Civic Center complex.

According to developer Eric Saur, the estimated cost is $140 million.

“Instead of people seeing the fountain and going home, we want them to see the fountain and then shop and play,” Saur said.

The Town Square Project, Saur continued, was inspired by the success of Kierland Commons, the 38-acre “lifestyle center” in northeast Phoenix.

“We’re trying to build an urban core in a suburban market,” Saur said.

Saur is president of Conrad Properties West, a St. Louis-based development firm. Town Square would be its first project in the West.

Attracting retailers to Fountain Hills has been a chronic problem for the town because of its small size and remote location.

But George Kasnoff, who heads the investment firm backing Town Square, is banking on drawing from new developments in the town’s state trust land and nearby Goldfield Ranch. Also, the project will target Scottsdale residents who live on the eastern end of the Shea Corridor.

“In 1995, when I moved to Scottsdale, Fountain Hills was out in the country,” Kasnoff said. “Now, you can throw a baseball from one to the other and hit residents from both sides.”

Before this project becomes a reality, however, many issues must be settled between the developers and the town.

Special-use permits will be needed because current zoning does not allow residential use, and the movie theater’s height of 46 feet would exceed the town’s current limit by 6 feet.

Also, the town’s formula for determining the number of parking spaces needed shows Town Square to be 1,000 short. But Saur hopes to use a “shared parking” solution, which takes advantage of specific groups of motorists — residents, office workers, moviegoers — needing parking at different times.

Of course, residents will have to be mollified that such a massive undertaking will not ruin what, to them, makes Fountain Hills special. For example, the average weekday traffic count on Avenue of the Fountains at Saguaro is 6,100 vehicles. By how many multiples might that grow?

An expert on Valley real estate wondered if this may be too much for the town to swallow whole.

“I suspect a lot of people are going to raise a great deal of ire over the project because this would be so changing the nature of Fountain Hills,” said Jay Butler, director of the Arizona State University’s Realty Studies program. “Desert Ridge (in Phoenix) and Kierland, they came in first and everything sort of built around them.”

But the largest potential sticking point is the developer’s request for $9 million in incentives. The breakdown is:

• $4 million for a parking garage, first paid for by the developer, then refunded through town sales tax rebates.

• $4 million in waived commercial permit and licensing fees.

• $1 million for renovating Avenue of the Fountains. Kasnoff said the town already has the renovations budgeted.

Kasnoff insists “the town’s not writing a penny of the check.”

But Nichols wants to make sure that’s true.

Said the mayor, “I’m not going to mortgage the future of our grandchildren.”  

AZ Central – Equestrian Trails home sells for nearly $5 million

Aug. 28, 2007 01:43 PM A president of a real estate company, a CEO, a medical doctor and a principal of a management company are among the buyers and sellers in this weeks done deals.

$4,783,000 Alfred J. Brothers and his wife Hillary purchased a 7,693 square-foot home with 500 square-foot pool originally built in 2005 at Equestrian Trials on the southwest side of Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley. Alfred Brothers is CEO of Cavalry Portfolio Services, based in Hawthorne, N.Y., with offices in Arizona. The home was sold by Russell E. and Julie D. Mason, as Trustees of the Russell E. and Julie D. Mason Family Trust.

$4,000,000 James K. Lassetter and his wife Kristin paid cash for a 6,098 square-foot home originally built in 2004 on the southern edge of the Country Club at DC Ranch in Scottsdale. James Lassetter is a medical doctor from Salt Lake City. The home was sold by Drew H. Webb and his wife Maureen.

 $3,187,500 William Hall of Scottsdale purchased a 5,379 square-foot home with 500 square-foot pool originally built in 2005 at Tatum Garden Estates west of the Camelback Golf Club in Paradise Valley. The home was sold by William S. Howard.

$2,813,000 Warren Ruttenberg and his wife Christina paid cash for a 4,872 square-foot home with 302 square-foot pool originally built in 2004 at the south side of DC Ranch in Scottsdale. Warren Ruttenberg is the son of Harold Ruttenberg, the founder of Just for Feet. The home was sold by Rebecca L. Bowman Nassikas, as Trustee of the Rebecca L. Bowman Trust. Rebecca Nassikas and her husband, William Nassikas, a principal of Westroc Hospitality, paid $3.1 million in cash for a home in Paradise Valley back in April.

$2,700,000 Gerald A. Lembas and his wife Carol paid cash for a new home south of the Desert Highlands Golf Club in Scottsdale. Gerald Lembas is president of Transylvania International Inc., a real estate management company in Clarkdale. The home was sold by Red Moon Homes Inc. of Gold Canyon, whose president is William B. Woodruff. Researched by John McLean and the Information Market.

Some other communities you might be interested in looking into:

Whisper Rock

http://www.theholmgroupaz.com/WhisperRock.htm

The Boulders

http://www.theholmgroupaz.com/theBoulders.htm

Fountain Hills

http://www.theholmgroupaz.com/FountainHills.htm

AZ Republic- Once a horse friendly town, Scottsdale loaded with ranch conversions

Peter Corbett
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 27, 2007 11:18 AM
 SCOTTSDALE – Luxury homes are replacing corrals in Scottsdale neighborhoods where horse properties once flourished.A handful of ranches are in various stages of conversion to gated communities with anywhere from eight to 23 homes planned in each neighborhood.

Scottsdale City Council member Tony Nelssen said he does not object to the ranch conversions unless the developers seek additional housing density than the current zoning allows.

“It’s a private property issue and the value of the land is worth more than sustaining the equestrian lifestyle” for some owners, said Nelssen, who has three mules, a horse and three dogs on his 7.5 acres in north Scottsdale.Many of the horse-property conversions are occurring northeast of Loop 101 and Cactus Road in neighborhoods that once featured large lots with plenty of elbow room for corrals and horse barns.

Now the dwindling ranches are surrounded by suburban tract homes on lots not much bigger than a small corral.

A faded horse-boarding sign remains, but the horses and buffalos that once roamed a small ranch at 94th Street and Sweetwater Avenue are history.

Odyssey Homes is building nearly two dozen luxury homes on the 10-acre Buffalo Ranch site, transforming it into Windrose Estates.

It is a familiar Western tale. Suburban homes have overrun dozens of ranches along Cactus Road that once were on Scottsdale’s fringe.

“We lose a lot of what we’re about,” equestrian advocate Susan Wheeler said of the changes. “But there are still little pockets of horse properties.”

Scottsdale has seen a steady conversion of those ranches over the past three decades. The city acted 15 years ago to protect some of the remaining horse properties.

Scottsdale decided on a policy to allow ranch conversions west of 96th Street and Cactus Road, but maintain the rural character east of 96th Street in an area referred to as Cactus Acres.

Scottsdale City Council member Betty Drake vowed to uphold that general plan policy.

“I will do everything I can to protect that area,” Drake said, lamenting the ranches already lost to development.

Among the ranches in the development pipeline are these projects:

Cactus Cove, an Earlie Homes subdivision northeast of Cactus Road and 90th Street with 11 homes on nearly seven acres.

Sandspur Ranch, with 22 homes planned on 20 acres northwest of 93rd Street and Cactus.

Pretty Penny Ranch, 8330 E. Thunderbird Road, slated for 10 homes on 11.2 acres.

Ladyhawk Ranch, 13681 N. 88th Place, seeking a rezoning for eight homes on a 2.5-acre horse property southeast of Loop 101 and Thunderbird, amid dozens of tile roofs.

Which makes better neighbors ? Will the luxury homes make better neighbors than the horse properties? Wheeler, who has horses on her property near 96th Street and Cactus, does not think so. She said she would rather smell horses than cars in her neighborhood.

“This is such a unique area,” she said. “It will lose its charm if the horse people go away.”

Councilman Nelssen said the key to maintaining horse properties in the Cactus corridor is having an equestrian friendly trail system.

“If there is no place to ride your horse then you’re going to move,” said Nelssen, who has pushing for years for trail improvement in Desert Foothills area of far north Scottsdale, where he lives and keeps three mules and a horse.

“It’s the last sustainable area where you can live the equestrian lifestyle in Scottsdale,” he said of Desert Foothills.

Ranches are disappearing south of the Central Arizona Project canal but Nelssen said he expects some will hold on despite the steady attrition.

“One of the benefits of living in Scottsdale is that you have a broad palette of lifestyles,” Nelssen said.

Once a horse-friendly town Scottsdale was a horse-friendly community in its formative years as a city from the 1950s well into the 1970s. In the past quarter century, as development pushed north, builders grabbed ranches and assembled one-acre rural lots for new subdivisions.

The remaining ranches are less viable for keeping horses and the price of the land makes selling a lucrative proposition.

The horse people are moving out to the Rio Verde area, where there are fewer neighbors to complain about the dust and odors that come with keeping horses, Drake said.

Wheeler notes that children are losing the opportunity to learn to ride horses as places like the Sandspur and Pretty Penny ranches disappear.

“It’s very sad to me,” Wheeler said. “But maybe it’s an evolution and inevitable to have it this way.”   

www.theholmgroupaz.com

AZ Republic- Once a horse friendly town, Scottsdale loaded with ranch conversions

Peter Corbett
The Arizona Republic
Aug. 27, 2007 11:18 AM
 SCOTTSDALE – Luxury homes are replacing corrals in Scottsdale neighborhoods where horse properties once flourished.

A handful of ranches are in various stages of conversion to gated communities with anywhere from eight to 23 homes planned in each neighborhood.

Scottsdale City Council member Tony Nelssen said he does not object to the ranch conversions unless the developers seek additional housing density than the current zoning allows.

 “It’s a private property issue and the value of the land is worth more than sustaining the equestrian lifestyle” for some owners, said Nelssen, who has three mules, a horse and three dogs on his 7.5 acres in north Scottsdale.

Many of the horse-property conversions are occurring northeast of Loop 101 and Cactus Road in neighborhoods that once featured large lots with plenty of elbow room for corrals and horse barns.

Now the dwindling ranches are surrounded by suburban tract homes on lots not much bigger than a small corral.

A faded horse-boarding sign remains, but the horses and buffalos that once roamed a small ranch at 94th Street and Sweetwater Avenue are history.

Odyssey Homes is building nearly two dozen luxury homes on the 10-acre Buffalo Ranch site, transforming it into Windrose Estates.

It is a familiar Western tale. Suburban homes have overrun dozens of ranches along Cactus Road that once were on Scottsdale’s fringe.

“We lose a lot of what we’re about,” equestrian advocate Susan Wheeler said of the changes. “But there are still little pockets of horse properties.”

Scottsdale has seen a steady conversion of those ranches over the past three decades. The city acted 15 years ago to protect some of the remaining horse properties.

Scottsdale decided on a policy to allow ranch conversions west of 96th Street and Cactus Road, but maintain the rural character east of 96th Street in an area referred to as Cactus Acres.

Scottsdale City Council member Betty Drake vowed to uphold that general plan policy.

“I will do everything I can to protect that area,” Drake said, lamenting the ranches already lost to development.

Among the ranches in the development pipeline are these projects:

Cactus Cove, an Earlie Homes subdivision northeast of Cactus Road and 90th Street with 11 homes on nearly seven acres.

Sandspur Ranch, with 22 homes planned on 20 acres northwest of 93rd Street and Cactus.

Pretty Penny Ranch, 8330 E. Thunderbird Road, slated for 10 homes on 11.2 acres.

Ladyhawk Ranch, 13681 N. 88th Place, seeking a rezoning for eight homes on a 2.5-acre horse property southeast of Loop 101 and Thunderbird, amid dozens of tile roofs. Which makes better neighbors ? Will the luxury homes make better neighbors than the horse properties?

Wheeler, who has horses on her property near 96th Street and Cactus, does not think so. She said she would rather smell horses than cars in her neighborhood.

“This is such a unique area,” she said. “It will lose its charm if the horse people go away.”

Councilman Nelssen said the key to maintaining horse properties in the Cactus corridor is having an equestrian friendly trail system.

“If there is no place to ride your horse then you’re going to move,” said Nelssen, who has pushing for years for trail improvement in Desert Foothills area of far north Scottsdale, where he lives and keeps three mules and a horse.

“It’s the last sustainable area where you can live the equestrian lifestyle in Scottsdale,” he said of Desert Foothills.

Ranches are disappearing south of the Central Arizona Project canal but Nelssen said he expects some will hold on despite the steady attrition.

“One of the benefits of living in Scottsdale is that you have a broad palette of lifestyles,” Nelssen said.Once a horse-friendly town Scottsdale was a horse-friendly community in its formative years as a city from the 1950s well into the 1970s.

In the past quarter century, as development pushed north, builders grabbed ranches and assembled one-acre rural lots for new subdivisions.

The remaining ranches are less viable for keeping horses and the price of the land makes selling a lucrative proposition.

The horse people are moving out to the Rio Verde area, where there are fewer neighbors to complain about the dust and odors that come with keeping horses, Drake said.

Wheeler notes that children are losing the opportunity to learn to ride horses as places like the Sandspur and Pretty Penny ranches disappear.

“It’s very sad to me,” Wheeler said. “But maybe it’s an evolution and inevitable to have it this way.”   

www.theholmgroupaz.com

The Wall Street Journal – What’s next? Condo loan troubles

Alex Frangos
The Wall Street Journal

Aug. 27, 2007 10:18 AM

   For the nation’s real-estate lenders, the other shoe may be about to drop: condominiums. Already plagued by rising home-loan defaults and foreclosures among overstretched consumers, major markets across the country – including parts of Florida, California and Washington, D.C. – are seeing rising foreclosures and bankruptcies of entire condo projects.

The problems are emerging as some buyers who signed contracts to buy new condos two to three years ago, when construction was just starting, seek ways to back out as they encounter trouble getting financing in the suddenly dicey mortgage market. Falling prices are forcing appraisals down, so banks aren’t willing to lend the full amounts that people committed to in the sales contract.


“Closings that are scheduled to take place are not taking place,” says Marvin Moss, a North Miami Beach real-estate attorney. He is suing several developers to help clients get out of contracts.The condo market, while tied to the housing market overall, behaves differently under stress. While a single-family home builder generally constructs units as orders come in, a condo developer builds all at once and hopes for the best, adding risk. So while the speculative overhang of newly constructed single-family homes may have peaked in many markets across the country, the full force of the condo glut is starting to hit now.

Major commitment With single-family homes, “you put up a couple of model homes and build the rest as you get sales contracts.” says James Haughey, director of research at Reed Construction Data in Norcross, Ga. “But you have to build the entire … building before you can sell a single condo.” In 2006, the number of new condominium units completed jumped 145 percent to 102,800, from 41,900 in 2003, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Last year was the highest level since 1985, when 135,800 units were built. So far this year, 48,354 units have been built and another 72,000 are under construction, according to New York research firm Reis Inc.

Downtown San Diego can expect 2,900 new units to arrive on the market in the next year, according to real-estate investment brokerage Marcus & Millichap. Hessam Nadji, a managing director at the Encino, Calif., firm, estimates it will take as long as 18 to 24 months for the most-saturated markets to buy up the glut of condo inventory – if the economy overall stays strong.

Miami is in worse shape: The city added 4,549 condo units in 2006 and 3,276 so far this year. Another 7,985 will be delivered by the end of the year, with another 8,260 slated for 2008 to 2011, according to Reis, for a grand total of 24,070 news units between 2006 and 2011.

“More of the iceberg is being revealed, but we haven’t seen it all yet,” says Norman Radow, an Atlanta real-estate investor who works with lenders to rescue distressed condo complexes.

Clearing construction loans Typically, condo developers are required to pay off construction loans shortly after construction is completed. But with sales stalled, more developers are defaulting, creating headaches for banks and real-estate funds that financed the projects. The percentage of bank construction loans overall that are in default has risen to 2.3 percent in the second quarter of 2007 from 1.0 percent at the end of 2005 . “Condos are a significant share of defaults and delinquencies going on,” says Matthew Anderson of Foresight Analytics, an Oakland, Calif., research firm. His analysis shows condo lending ballooned to $31.3 billion in 2006 from $8.4 billion in 2003. These figures don’t include the large amounts flowing into condos from hedge funds and investment banks.

One of the biggest condo lenders, Chicago’s Corus Bankshares, has seen its $3.7 billion portfolio of condo loans deteriorate. The value of the bank’s nonperforming assets has skyrocketed to to $242 million in the quarter ended June 30 from $620,000 a year ago. The bank continues to be profitable, and made three new condo loans worth $400 million, though it predicts darker times are ahead. “It would not surprise us to see an even greater impact on earnings over the next several quarters, or even years, depending on when the market improves,” Chief Executive Robert Glickman said in a note to shareholders.

Apartment conversions The failures so far have been concentrated among developers that bought land – or existing rental apartments to convert to condos – at the top of the market in late 2005 or early 2006. The worst collapses have so far involved condo conversions. Developer Triton Real Estate Partners of Annapolis, Md., bought a Rockville, Md., complex known as the Pavilion in November 2005 for $117 million, with plans to pump in $30 million to upgrade and sell the units. There are 434 units, so the average price it paid was $271,000 a unit. Triton changed the name to the Monterey and offered the one- to three-bedroom units for $300,000 to $500,000. The sales didn’t materialize and Triton failed to pay its lender, CBRE Realty Finance of Hartford, Conn., which foreclosed on the property in May. With the sales market on the rocks, the lender had to write down the project’s value by $7.8 million, forcing the company to record a $4.6 million loss in the second quarter. The commercial-property lender, incorporated as a real-estate investment trust, has stopped making new investments and almost missed a $17 million payment on a line of credit from Wachovia Corp. It hopes to restart the sales program at the Monterey complex shortly.

Triton and CBRE declined to comment.

Buyer’s remorse Buyer’s remorse is also causing problems for some developers. Cindy Cicala plunked down a 10 percent deposit on a $370,000 two-bedroom condo in a new project in Tampa, Fla., in August 2004 – a time when investors were elbowing each other aside to sign contracts. The site was particularly attractive to Ms. Cicala because, in addition to superb views, her unit was to be finished by August 2006, making it one of the first high-rise residences to be built in the city’s reviving downtown. But in April, 2005, the developer asked for an extension. “It was just one delay after another,” says Ms. Cicala, a , 51-year-old residential-mortgage broker. She decided she didn’t want to close on the condo, claiming the developer hadn’t held up its end of the contract. Ms. Cicala says she asked for her deposit back but hasn’t received it, so she sued under a federal law that guarantees condos must be delivered within two years unless the developer can prove certain extenuating circumstances.

Her attorney, Harry Lee Coe IV, says Ms. Cicala and other clients “are seeing their investing potential has dwindled, and they are now no longer at the front of the pack – and you don’t want to be in the middle of the pack in a bad or down market.”

Condo frenzy widespread Left holding the bag amid the defaults and foreclosures are the banks and real-estate investment funds that lent money to people such as Farbod Zohouri, an Atlanta developer who took out $300 million in loans for more than a dozen projects in 2005 and 2006. Within a year, all were foreclosed or had filed for bankruptcy protection. In a sign of how widespread the condo frenzy was among lenders, Mr. Zohouri’s financing sources ranged from tiny local banks to Lehman Brothers, which lent him $180 million for two Orlando condo-conversion projects that flopped. Several commercial banks lent him money for five projects, despite his relatively small operation and spotty track record, which included a settlement with the federal government on mortgage-kickback allegations.

Mr. Zohouri, who goes by “Fred,” says he is “an honest person” who is working hard to get his investors’ money back. He says because of possible legal actions, he can’t explain exactly what went wrong.

Lending standards pinched condos Underlying the defaults was a loosening of lending standards. In the past, wary of the high risks posed by condo sales, lenders such as commercial banks would give money to condo projects with the understanding that if the condos didn’t sell, the developer could rent them and still repay the loan. That would limit the amount banks would lend, because the cash from renting units is slow and steady and can cover a smaller amount of debt than the amount generated by selling all units within a year of completion, as most condo projects aim to do. But in the latest boom, a host of nonbank lenders began throwing cash at condo projects, allowing developers to pay prices for land and buildings such that they could pay back the loans only if the units sold at high prices.

Mr. Radow, the Atlanta real-estate investor, says troubles in the condo market stem from the proliferation of new players in the real-estate finance world, many of whom never went through bad times. Before the condo boom, there were only about a dozen major sources of equity or mezzanine debt, the riskiest – and potentially most rewarding – parts of real-estate finance. In past five years hedge funds, real-estate funds, private equity and community banks all got into the act.

“Who are managing all the funds?” Mr. Radow asks. “Where did all the real-estate experts come from?”

www.theholmgroupaz.com


August 2007
M T W T F S S
« Jul   Sep »
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,301 other followers