Archive for January, 2010

We can’t undo what happened yesterday in Haiti, but we can do what we can to make tomorrow better. Here’s how you can help.

Tom Vanderwell, who writes with us at BloodhoundBlog, our national real estate industry weblog, adopted two of his children from Haiti. He has long been involved with the orphanage there, even setting up their weblog: God’s Littlest Angels in Haiti.

Since yesterday’s earthquake, Tom has been working continuously with the orphanage’s staff, both to make sure they have what they need right now and to help them prepare for what seems likely to be a surge in orphaned children.

No doubt there are a lot of people appealing for your help right now, but Tom’s efforts could produce the most immediate and yet also the most lasting impact.

Read his post about the Haitian relief effort at BloodhoundBlog. And then, if you can, push the PayPal button at the bottom of that post to make a contribution.

There’s so little we can do, really, at times like this. But that little bit we can do can make a big difference to people who have lost everything — maybe even their parents.

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Are the uninformed chatterboxes in your area insisting that the real estate market has recovered? You may want to defer the celebration. Even so, this could be the golden moment for investors in Phoenix.

I’ve known for six months or more that there was a sweet spot on the horizon for investors and other highly-solvent buyers in the Phoenix real estate market. That event was delayed by the first-time home-buyer’s tax credit. Today’s news about declines in the number of pending purchase contracts is a symptom of the market returning to an unstimulated level of demand. I watched the dropoff reflected in today’s news as it happened last fall. Lenders cut off new applications for first-timers and, just like that, price pressure eased, available inventories started to rise and it came to be a lot easier to get a house under contract.

We’re all waiting for the other shoe — the shadow inventory — to drop, but the supply of the homes I want most for my investors has almost doubled since mid-October, from around 350 units then to just over 600 today.

Here’s even better news for buyers (not for banks): Prices are going down.

This is the Cliff’s Notes for the last four months, as reflected in the Market Basket of Homes:

September: +3.15%
October: +2.14%
November: +2.22%
December: -8.03%

That’s a huge drop for December — giving back almost everything we’ve gained since April, 2009. But, interestingly enough, the ratio of sales price to list price was positive. In other words, there is still competition for listed homes, but list prices are dropping.

I don’t know how it is where you live, but this is the perfect storm for investors in Metropolitan Phoenix. The homes are in much better condition than they were this time last year, and the prices are at hovering just above the 2009 low.

Are we at the bottom? Feels like it — but we’re going to be here for a while. Positive cash flow is easy, but cash flow is all there is right now. If you’re not a buy-and-hold investor, Phoenix is not for you. I’m sure that’s true in most rental markets.

But if you’re thinking of buying a rental home anywhere in Greater Phoenix, reflect on this: This could be the coldest winter in 25 years. Whether they can afford to or not, people in the snowy states are going to move. When they do, they’re going to need a place to live.

Give me a call at 602-740-7531 and let’s talk about how you can ride the Phoenix real estate thunderbird as it rises anew from the ashes and soars its way back into the cloudless skies.

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