Friday, August 9, 2013

What's Blue and White and Read All Over?

This is fascinating. 6.5% percent of the 35,205 page views for my blog are in Germany! 1% are in Latvia, and 0.4% are in Ukraine. There is someone in Poland looking at my blog right now. People have checked in from Russia, France, United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, India, Hungary, Italy, Indonesia, China and South Korea. Hello Europe and Asia! You made my day.

Snow Cones = Raspados = Cimarronas = Female Mountain Goats

I adore Big Jim Griffith. Tucson would be a poorer place without our national award-winning folklorist and founder of Tucson Meet Yourself.

The End of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as We Know Them

President Obama and the U.S. House and Senate are finally in agreement about one thing: the Federal government needs to get out of the mortgage business. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are quasi-governmental agencies that buy bundled mortgages from mortgage lenders. This not only frees up the mortgage lenders' funds so they can continue to make mortgages, but as we saw in the housing market collapse, it freed the mortgage lenders of responsibility for the bad loans they made. The tax payers were left holding the enormous bag full of stinking, unethical mortgages.

Now mortgage lending practices have tightened up because Fannie and Freddie will not buy any mortgage with a whiff of impropriety. In fact, Fannie and Freddie now make mortgage lenders buy back mortgages, even mortgages that are not delinquent, if Fannie or Freddie suspects the mortgages were made fraudulently. So the mortgages lenders now walk on eggshells, ever learning new lending requirements. Even the most respectable borrowers have a hard time getting a mortgage.

The Senate plans to reduce government's role in the mortgage industry, and no surprise, the House wants to go much further to almost eliminate it. USA Today reports that interest rates will be higher on mortgages without government backing. On a typical $200,000 mortgage with 20% down, a borrower would pay an extra $75 per month under the Senate plan, or an extra $135 per month under the House plan.

Ironically, now that Fannie and Freddie's lending criteria are really strict, both agencies are extremely profitable. They have already repaid $132 billion to the U.S. Treasury, which is more than two-thirds of what they received in the bailout.   

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Another Great Tucson Mountain Home

Don't miss this terrific home in an outstanding neighborhood, just a few blocks from my beloved home at Desert's Edge. Only 10 minutes to downtown and 15 minutes to University of Arizona, yet close to hiking, mountain biking and golf.

This slump block home was built in 1979 for energy efficiency and beauty. The most surprising feature is the great room, built years before having the kitchen open to the dining and living areas became popular. This is the same floor plan as my house, and it is just delightful.

You'll enjoy fires in the beehive fireplace, and a panoramic view of three mountain ranges from your north-facing porch. The kitchen cabinets have just been painted. The slide-in stove is brand new. Nice Anderson sliding door to the back porch.

Popcorn removed from the great room ceiling. Fresh neutral colors throughout. The homeowner association dues really are only $42.95/year. This covers the insurance and taxes on the 63 acres of common area, accessible at the south end of Shannon Road.

As usual with my Tucson Mountain listings, I must point out your view of the magnificent Tumamoc Hill.  Every morning and evening hundreds of people make the 1.5 mile walk to the top, and get a workout from the 700 foot elevation change. The rewards are the view of the Tucson Valley, and the abundant wildlife you find in this desert research station owned by the University of Arizona.  To the right of Tumamoc is A Mountain. Owning this home means you can watch the firework displays put on by the City of Tucson, the Catalina Foothills resorts and Starr Pass Resort from the comfort of your back porch.
The houses north of this home are lower than yours, so your back yard views of the Catalina Mountains to the northeast, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains to the north and northwest are unobstructed. I don't know of another neighborhood with these views for this price so close to downtown. That's why I wouldn't live anywhere else but Tucson Park West 3.
Three bedrooms, two baths, two car garage. We had four offers in four days and sold for $150,000 cash on August 22, 2013. The seller didn't have to make any repairs or pay the buyer's closing costs. Finally we have precedent in my beloved neighborhood for sale prices above $100 per square foot. Tucson Park West 3 is still a bargain.