Archive for the 'Relocating to Phoenix' Category

Will this infinite back yard always be this beautiful?


No. In a few months, when the wildflowers bloom, it will be even more breathtaking…

Live where it snows? Had enough? Isn’t it time to get your Winter back?

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It’s hot and dry and gorgeous in the desert.


The photo is from a house Cathy closed on Wednesday, a get-away-from-it-all mini-mansion way out in the desert. That’s what they call a street, when you get that far out. You can measure how clean the air is by the definition of my shadow, maybe sixty feet away. On the way home, we saw a yearling coyote on Dear Valley Road.

Our annual late summer “monsoon” is being pushed out of the Valley of the Sun by very hot, dry weather rolling in from the Mohave Desert. Within the next couple of weeks, we will shift back to the dry heat that makes Phoenix so perfect all winter long.

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When the weather finally breaks in Phoenix — it breaks for ten solid months of pure paradise…

This from my Arizona Republic real estate column (permanent link):

If you live in New York or Boston or Chicago, there will come a day in the Spring when the cold will seem to be in full retreat. The sun will be shining. The icicles on the trees will be melting, and the tickle of the cold drops of water on your hair and neck will make you want to throw your arms out wide and rejoice in your release from the awful prison of Winter.

That happens in Phoenix, too, but it happens six months earlier, on September 15th. Mid-March has its own charms, when the citrus trees open their blossoms and the air is thick with the nectar of heaven perfected. But it’s when the Summer breaks in Phoenix that people come outdoors, knowing that the next ten months will be simply perfect.

Consider: On August 15th, the late-afternoon temperature could be 115 blistering degrees. The sun will be relentless, seeming to hang for hours above the horizon, seeming never to set. The relative humidity will be 40% or more — which doesn’t sound too bad until you remember the temperature. Late in the day, huge storms could come thundering into the Valley of the Sun, flooding the low-lands and even tearing the roofs off of older houses.

That season — we call it “the Monsoon” — lasts from July 15th to September 15th. But when September 15th rolls around… paradise ensues. Daytime high temperatures drop to below 100 and the relative humidity tops off at below 10% — so dry you can smell the dry leaves and pine needles baking in the sunlight.

That might still sound too hot to you, but it’s not. It’s just perfect, an ideal time to be outdoors — all day and all night. There is simply no place like Phoenix, no place on Earth. We suffer, slightly, during the Monsoon, but we are repaid with ten months of the kind of weather that other cities are lucky to see for ten days in any given year.

And Winter — which you are just now beginning to dread — is our most perfect season of them all…

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If you live where it snows and where rust is common, it might be time to think about moving to metropolitan Phoenix

This from my Arizona Republic real estate column (permanent link):

This is a note to the folks back home — in my case, the rust belt of Illinois. If, like many adults in metropolitan Phoenix, you come from someplace else, you might print this out and mail it to the people who stayed behind.

The topic: It might be time to pack up and move to Arizona.

Everybody wants to root for the home team, but there are cities that will grow out of our current economic mess and others that will not.

If you make your home in a region that thrived in the days of mass production, it’s likely that the sun has set on your local economy.

In cities like Detroit and Cleveland and Philadelphia, thousands of homes stand empty as people move away faster than they are replaced. Aging factories close one by one, and the high-paying jobs they once offered are not being replaced.

This is baked in the cake three different ways: Local laws make new-business formation difficult and costly. The climate often makes life unpleasant and more expensive. And the long-term movement of the nation’s population is south and west, away from loud, smoky cities and toward clean, quiet — and sunny — suburbs.

By contrast, Phoenix is growing — even now. Last year was another boom year for population growth, and our unemployment rate is remarkably low, considering what’s going on in the rest of the country. Our houses are cheap, our rents are affordable — and our horizons are unlimited.

There’s no way to put a price on psychological costs and benefits, but seeing the sun set every day — with a uniquely different majestical beauty every day — will effect a priceless change in your attitude about life.

If you live someplace where it snows and where rust is common — and not just as a decadent architectural ornament — it’s time to think about moving.

Even if you have to let your house go — and if your local population is declining, you’ll never get back what you paid for it — your future prospects — and your future mental health! — are probably better in greater Phoenix.

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If the Phoenix-area economy is too dependent on housing for jobs, why is our unemployment rate so much lower than other big cities?

Robert Robb in today’s Arizona Republic:

So, Arizona’s housing sector has suffered a sharper decline than probably anyplace else in the country. If the rest of Arizona’s economy is dependent on housing, then why does Arizona have a lower unemployment rate than the rest of the country?

January is the most recent month for which comparative figures are available from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During January, the country had an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent. Arizona’s rate was 7 percent.

The paradox is even starker when looking at major metro areas. The Phoenix area’s unemployment rate was 6.7 percent. Only one metro area in the Case-Shiller group had a lower unemployment rate, Washington D.C., which has an economy clearly driven by government. The average unemployment rate for the 20 major metro areas was 8.4 percent.

According to BLS, of the 49 metro areas in the country with a population in excess of 1 million, Phoenix had the seventh-lowest unemployment rate.

Phoenix has done much better than many metro areas alleged to be our economic betters. San Diego, the proclaimed bioscience leader, had an unemployment rate of 8.6 percent. Charlotte, N.C., which supposedly does right in education what Arizona does wrong, was at 10.5 percent. Portland, Ore., the antithesis of an economy driven by housing, was at 9.8 percent. Seattle, which has the big companies we supposedly can’t attract, was at 7.5 percent.

So, most large metro areas have unemployment rates substantially above the national average while Phoenix, whose housing sector has been hit the hardest, has an unemployment rate substantially below the national average.


All this unveils what should have been obvious all along. Housing does not create its own demand. Something else has to draw people to an area, which in turn creates the demand for housing.

Arizona has a fundamentally solid underlying economy that benefits from, but is not dependent on, housing. And it has a frothy real-estate sector that depends on growth generated primarily by other factors.

The real-estate sector is oversized. But that is inevitable in a place that is growing faster than other places. That’s not the same as the rest of the economy being dependent on housing.

My take: There are cities that will grow out of this mess and others that will not. If you live someplace where it snows and where rust is common — not just a decadent architectural ornament — it’s time to think about moving. Even if you have to let your house go — and if your local population is declining, you’ll never get back what you paid for it — your future prospects — and your future mental health! — are probably better in Metropolitan Phoenix.

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A thoughtful reminder to the home-schooling parents of California: Arizona is the most home-schooling-friendly state in the west, our homes are affordable, our weather is delightful and our state government pretty much minds its own business

Unbelievably, home-schooling has been outlawed in California. We would love it if California home-schoolers were to call us for help in relocating to Arizona. But however you get here — get here. You have a right to school your own — and Arizona knows it.

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