Friday, April 20, 2012

Why Not?

If you have survived the Great Recession with some cash to spare, and you don't own a house in Tucson, I have two words for you: Why Not?

Once again, Tucson is at the top of the list of best places to invest in real estate. This time, it's Forbes Magazine singing the praises of our Sweet Desert Home.

If you want to buy low, foreclosure-riddled Tucson, Ariz., may be just the place. It ranks No. 1 on this list.

Home prices in the Old Pueblo are down more than 45% from their peak, according to the Fiserv Case-Shiller index and the February median list price for a home headed to market was $170,000, about 3% higher than it was this time last year, according to The number of REOs (bank-owned homes) for sale is down 8% from February of 2011 and the number of foreclosures scheduled for sale has dropped 40%. Sales have also picked up, decreasing inventory levels. Single-family houses and condos are selling 12% faster than they were a year ago, averaging 86 days on the market (the national average is 111). The Tucson Association of Realtors reports that the total number of sales were up 16% in February from the same month a year ago.

“In the case of Tucson, you are looking at foreclosures dropping back quite a bit coupled with a stable employment market,” says Berkowitz. The area has a 7.8% unemployment rate, a tad lower than the national average of 8.2%, helped by the presence of sizable employers in the recession-resistant education and government sectors, including the University of Arizona, Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and the U.S. Army Intelligence Center. All of this suggests Tucson’s housing market may be bottoming.

This is just what I said when I posted the March Residential Sales Statistics, except I didn't know our unemployment rate is lower than the national average.

The rest of the Forbes article is here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Space Shuttle Discovery

My fabulous client Alona, who has become one of my favorite people, was on the National Mall yesterday when the Discovery Space Shuttle flew over the original Smithsonian on its way to its permanent home at the Smithsonian annex of the Air and Space Museum at Dulles Airport. She was so excited, she got on ABC news. You should have seen how she reacted to the Winterhaven Festival of Lights. This lady loves life in a big way.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bought Their Vacation Home Sight Unseen

I was referred to Donna Moulton in 2005 by a mutual friend. My husband and I were interested in purchasing a townhome that we could use as a winter getaway. We were in New England, and it just wasn’t possible to go look at each property that interested us. We knew we wanted to be centrally-located and we gave Donna a few criteria.

Donna and I both kept an eye on the MLS listings, and if something looked promising, she would tour the property, take many photos of the inside, outside, and the neighborhood, and send them to me immediately. Most of the time, she recommended against purchasing a particular property. The neighborhood might not be what we wanted, or the floor plan was funky, the views were not good, etc etc. Donna has a great sensibility when it comes to real estate, and I grew to trust it.

Eventually a property came up and the listing looked promising. She immediately went to take a look and reported that “this is the one.” We purchased the property without seeing it firsthand!!!! It sounds crazy, but I never hesitated. When we saw it a few months after buying it, there were no surprises. It was exactly what we expected.

We eventually moved to Tucson full time and Donna helped us purchase another property. We kept our little winter getaway, and it may eventually become our retirement home when we scale down.

I recommend Donna highly. She is trustworthy, and she understands the real estate market like no one else. I think her science background gives her the edge when it comes to analyzing properties and the market in general. She really looks after her clients’ best interests.

Alison Jones