It's all here! News on the Tucson real estate market, tips and information for your Tucson real estate needs, and my occasional "likes" about Tucson and all the things we love about it. Read on!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Quote of the Week: Real Estate and Otherwise...

“It is a comfortable feeling to know that you stand on your own ground.  Land is about the only thing that can’t fly away.”
-Anthony Trollope

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Quote of the Week:

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. -Nelson Mandela.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Economy Improves and Mortgage Rates Climb

Tucson home buyers found that fixed-rate mortgages were up last week after news of an improved job outlook report and a national increase in new home sales.  Freddie Mac reported that 30-year fixed rate mortgages were averaging  4.46% with an average of 0.5 point.  That is more than a full percentage point over the year ago rate of 3.34%.    15-year rates last week average 3.47% with an average of 0.4 point.

But all are still really low by historic standards, but for how long?

Friday, December 6, 2013

Stat of the Week: Short Sales Down In Tucson MLS

My post last week about lenders starting to frown on short sales prompted me to do a quick check of recent Tucson sales statistics.  But a little background first. 

Short sales (where the seller still owns the property but his sale is subject to approval from his lender, which will be receiving less than what the seller really owes) have fallen into disfavor.  Why?  Three reasons: many buyers have lost patience with the long approval times, lenders sometimes think they can do better if they actually foreclose
and finally (and thank goodness) the improving market is lifting many homeowners out of their previous underwater status on their mortgages.

OK, all that being said, what is going on with short sales in Tucson?

A quick one month snap shot from the Tucson Multiple Listing Service (MLS), shows that 7.43% of sold properties in November were short sales, as opposed to 15.4% in November 2012.  So, wow...actual closed short sales were almost half of what they were a year ago, confirming the trends we have been reading about. 

At the same time, sales of foreclosed properties were down a bit too, but not nearly as much as the short sales.  17.3% of sold properties in November were foreclosed properties as opposed to 23.8% a year ago.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Fun Things in Tucson: Luminarias Here...Luminarias There...

If the cool temperatures this weekend put you in a holiday mood, there are several events you may want to check out.
Tucson Botanical Gardens Luminaria Nights

Both the Tucson Botanical Gardens and the Village of Tubac will be beautifully lit by luminarias lining their paths and streets both Friday and Saturday nights this weekend.  And both will feature seasonal music and edible treats.  Click the links above for more information.

Luminaria-lined walkways in Tubac
And the Fiesta de Tumacacori will be held Saturday and Sunday at the beautiful Tumacacori Mission located 50 miles south of Tucson just off I-19.  A celebration of the many cultures of the Santa Cruz Valley, there will be music, food and tours of the old mission church and gardens.  And on Sunday morning there will be a traditional mariachi mass in front of the old church.  Admission is free!

Dancers at the Fiesta de Tumacacori

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quote of the Week: Real Estate and Otherwise...

"It's tangible, it's solid, it's beautiful.  It's artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate." - Donald Trump
It's tangible, it's solid, it's beautiful. It's artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate.

It's tangible, it's solid, it's beautiful. It's artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate.

It's tangible, it's solid, it's beautiful. It's artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate.

It's tangible, it's solid, it's beautiful. It's artistic, from my standpoint, and I just love real estate.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Short Sales Lose Favor With Lenders in Addition to Buyers?

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about Buyers losing patience with short sales.  Now I read that, as the housing market recovers, it is the lenders who are starting to frown on short sales as well.  In the article linked below, Daren Blomquis of RealtyTrac says that rising home prices, along with strong buyer demand at foreclosure auctions and for as-is  foreclosed properties means that short sales are becoming a less favorable option for lenders.

Nationally, short sales represented 5.3% of all sales in October, down from 11.2% last year in October.  Let me do a little research and I will post the year to year stats for the Tucson MLS at the end of this week. 

Short Sales Lose Favor With Lenders?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sold! Investment property at 425 E 33rd Street

This is a nice little investment complex of two units on the south side.  The masonry front home has two bedrooms and 1 bath, and the rear unit, also masonry has 1 bedroom and 1 bath.  And a large lot too!   Sold for $69,000

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tucson Market Stats: Prices Steady But Active Listings Are Up Almost 10%

Tucson home sale prices held steady in October.  The average sale price was up 2.41% from September but the median sale price was down a slight 0.26%.   Even so the October sale prices were up 10.33% and 8.39% respectively from one year ago.  Total number of sales at 1,130 was up 7.52% from September but the total number of homes on the market grew by 9.67% to 5,173. 

But we tend to see a slowdown this time of year.  Activity typically picks up again after the holidays, so if our friends in Washington cooperate and don't create any more economic turmoil and concern, we should be looking good in 2014.

For a pdf of the full October Tucson MLS statistics go to Tucson MLS Stats

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Tucson's Rogue Theatre Shines with Shakespeare's Measure for Measure

I had never seen Measure for Measure and wasn't sure what to expect.  The storyline seems so serious: seduction...oppressive regimes...heads getting chopped off.  But what I didn't expect was the humor that the Rogue brings to its terrific production of this Shakespeare classic. 

The Rogue has developed a talented resident company of Tucson actors that includes many familiar faces from past Rogue productions.  And it has been so gratifying to see some of the younger actors develop from season to season, and come into full bloom with this wonderful production of Measure for Measure.

So for a really fun evening (or afternoon) of, well...seduction...oppressive regimes...heads getting chopped off, come down to the Rogue this weekend.  The production runs through November 24th, but tickets are going fast. Click the link for information and tickets:   The Rogue Theatre

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Just Sold! 3804 N Nash Creek in the Tucson Mountains $178,000

This was one terrific house in the gated Sweetwater in the Foothills on Tucson's wonderful west side.  The Sellers had done some beautiful updating including granite counters in the kitchen, new stainless steel appliances, wood laminate flooring, gorgeous new 20 inch tile, new carpet and so much more.  And all this in a nice 3 bedroom/2 bath home on a premium corner lot with Catalina Mountain views, just a short walk from the community pool.

It was a smooth transaction and the new owners are going to love their new life in this great Tucson home and neighborhood. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tucson Buyers Shorting Short Sales

As the rebounding Tucson homes market adds equity back into home values, we are starting to see fewer short sale transactions. That means that many Sellers no longer have to ask their lender to forgive part of the loan amount they owe when selling.

And that is a good thing, as many buyers (and their agents) have grown frustrated with the short sale process.  All too often, the Seller's lender would take months (and months!) to approve the short sale. And adding to the list of potential transaction challenges...seller's lender repeatedly asking the seller for more financial documents, weeks upon weeks of  just waiting...waiting...for the lender to approve, lenders rejecting the sale price after weeks or months of waiting, seller unable to pay for any repairs needed on the property.  I could go on and on. 

I have had some patient buyers who were willing to brave that process for a particularly great house, and were ultimately successful in their purchase.  But most buyers, when they look at the realities of a short sale transaction, prefer to look for a non-short sale home.

More Buyers Becoming Wary of Short Sales

Friday, October 11, 2013

Stat of the Week: Average Tucson Sale Price Down for Second Month in a Row

The Tucson real estate market continues to show remarkable balance, compared to the mini-bubbles we are seeing in Phoenix and some other areas of the country.  The just-released statistics for September 2013 shows the average Tucson home sale price was actually down for the second month in a row.  The September average sale price was $189,042 which, while down 1.17% from August, was still up 3.85% from the September 2012. 

The total unit sales for September was 1051, down 12.78% from August, but still up 12.05% from a year ago.  The number of active listings in September was 4,717, up 11.01% from August, and also up 22.68% from September 2012.

For a link to a pdf file of the full September report, click:  Tucson MLS September 2013 Market Statistics

So what is selling in Tucson?  As always, single family homes predominate with townhomes and condos bringing up second and third place.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hear Me Play!! Tucson Concert Band's Fall Concert This Sunday

Yes, that will be me in the middle of the trombone section.  Join us on Sunday for the Tucson Concert 's Fall Concert, under the direction of Lorelei Conrad and Arno Dittrich.  We will be playing a lively concert featuring band classics, marches, show tunes and movie themes. And a clarinet solo by our own Bob Sagar on John Williams' Viktor's Tale.

Admission is free!, but donations are gratefully accepted.

Cholla Magnet High School is located at 2001 West Starr Pass Boulevard (just two miles west of I-10)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Winter Hours at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market This Thursday

It may still feel like summer, but the Thursday Santa Cruz Farmers Market has now changed to its 3pm to 6pm Winter hours.   And I am seeing a change in the produce available, with the summer holdovers of tomatoes, peppers and squash starting to yield space to greens, herbs, apples and winter squash.

This week is also the fall seed exchange so bring any extra seeds you may have gathered and saved, and you never know what new and exciting ones you will go home with.

The Santa Cruz Farmers Market is located at the Mercado San Agustin on Congress Street just west of I-10 and downtown. 

Santa Cruz Farmers Market Weekly Newsletter

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Selling that Smoke Scented House

Whooey!  One of the first things a potential buyer will comment on when walking into a listing is odor...whether it is from the garlic fish dinner the sellers enjoyed the night before, the frequent kitty "incidents" on the carpet, or the most enduring odor...cigarette smoke. 

But where the fish dinner scent will eventually go away, and even the kitty accidents can be scrubbed out, the smell of cigarette smoke can be enduring.  Years of cigarette smoke tend to be absorbed into the carpet, drapes, paint and especially in those delightful popcorn ceilings so popular in the 1970's and early '80s.  And that scent does NOT want to come out.  Replacing carpet and repainting the interior of the house helps, but good luck with that popcorn ceiling.  

And no, I am not judging those who smoke.  I come from a long line of tobacco farmers (and many smokers), so who am I to judge?.  But if there are smokers in the house, just be prepared to make an honest assessment of what needs to be done when it is time to put your Tucson home on the market.  And if you own rental property, by all means do your best to have non-smoking tenants.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Stat of the Week: Building Permits for Tucson Homes Rebound

The number of permits issued for single family homes in the Tucson area has rebounded smartly from the low
we saw in 2011 of 1438 permits. I heard Will White of the Land Advisors Organization here in Tucson speak at the Fall Real Estate Summit hosted yesterday by First American Title at the TCC. 

He said that we should be seeing a sharp increase in permit activity over the next couple of years as both local and out of town builders reassert themselves in the local homes market.  Will projects that the number of permits issued this year will reach 2500, followed by 3200 in 2014. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fun Things in Tucson: Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley Oktoberfest

There are a lot of Oktoberfest celebrations around Tucson, but only one that is set in a real alpine setting.   The cool forest setting, the really good German food (and beer!) and of course the incomparable music of the John Prokop band make this 30-year tradition the must-do Oktoberfest in Tucson.  I like going up early and taking a short hike to work up my appetite in the cool pine-scented air for the good food.

The Mount Lemmon Ski Valley Oktoberfest runs Saturdays and Sundays through October 13, from 11:45am to 5pm.  Parking is $5 but admission is free.  Just drive up the Mt. Lemmon highway from Tucson, and watch for the signs to Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Wealthy Buyers Come Down to Earth?

I work with all sorts of clients including some who want and can afford some pretty nice Tucson homes.  But in the end, most of my Tucson home buyers, whatever their income, are looking for the same thing...a nice home in good condition, often an open floor plan, nice neighborhood, and sometimes an extra amenity such as a pool, home theatre or a home pre-wired for security and entertainment.

And a recent survey seems to confirm that for wealthier folks around the country.  OK, so a lot of them also wanted outdoor kitchens (also fun to have in Tucson), and gyms.  But what the wealthier now count as "less important", includes separate catering kitchen (does the cook convey?), wine cellar, guest house, and my personal un-favorites...staff quarters (how Downton Abbey!) and a safe room (safe from the kids?)

So take a look at the linked article and think about what amenities you will go for when your Powerball ticket comes in and you are ready to buy your next Tucson house:     What Wealthy Buyers Want

Monday, September 30, 2013

Featured Home: Way up in the Catalina Foothills...6835 N Catalina Avenue

You can't get much closer to the Catalina Mountains than this home in desirable Coronado Foothills Estates, just off North Swan past the DeGrazia Gallery.

This four bedroom 1970 brick home is set on almost an acre in the upper Catalina foothills.  With a large living room, flagstone entry, stone fireplace, original wood kitchen cabinets in beautiful condition, and expansive covered patio, this spacious home is just awaiting your updating touches.  A special bonus is the separate two car PLUS RV SPACE garage with a bathroom with shower and even a roof deck with views of the Catalinas, Santa Ritas, Tucson Mountains and all the way to Boboquivari Peak.   The pool is not operating and is conveyed in as-is condition.

The large corner lot has mature mesquites,palo verdes and saguaros.  All this for only $375,000.

2 car plus large RV garage, also features bath & shower, and a roof deck!

Kitchen features original wood cabinets in wonderful condition

Spacious living room with stone fireplace flanked by vintage glass block windows.

Large covered back patio/porch with views
Catalina Mountain views
Spectacular views from the rooftop deck

Friday, September 27, 2013

Stat of the Week: Study Shows Homes Sell for $50 More Per Square Foot Near Good Schools

Just last month I wrote a blog post about a survey showing that over 44% of potential home buyers are willing to go over their buying budget in order to buy a home in their preferred school district.

And now comes a new study showing that premium can amount to $50 per square foot for homes near the best schools.  And yes, I have had Tucson home buyers who would not even look at houses unless they were in a particular school district or near a certain school.  So as I said before, support your local schools!  They could be affecting the value of your home.

Check out the link for more information on this Redfin study.

Study: $50 More Per Square Foot for Homes Near Good Schools

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Mistake of the Goddess" at Tucson's Nationally Recognized The Rogue Theatre

Marissa Garcia as Padmini
 "A spectacular opening to the season" is the way one audience member described The Rogue Theatre's current production of Mistake of the Goddess.  Indian playwright Girish Karnad's masterpiece was discovered by the Rogue Theatre when they took their own play Shipwrecked on tour to India last summer.

But let the Rogue describe what is in store in this evening of lovely music, beautiful costumes and great acting:

"Through jealousy and devotion, two men, in love with the same woman, behead themselves in a temple.
The goddess Kali brings them back to life, but with the heads interchanged.
The question becomes: who is the woman’s husband and who is the lover"

This is the last weekend of Mistake of the Goddess and is a Rogue Theatre production not to be missed.  Tucson's Rogue Theatre is located in the Historic Y on University Boulevard.  For more information and tickets, click the link: The Rogue Theatre

Patty Gallagher as the goddess Kali
Ryan Parker Knox, Marissa Garcia & Matt Bowdren

Patty Gallagher & David Morden delight as the dolls

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Family Proximity is Lower Priority for Buyers

Proximity to parents, in-laws, brothers, sisters, cousins and other family members is not a high priority for home buyers, according to a study commissioned by the real estate website Trulia.  Instead, buyers are more focused on crime rates, school districts and length of commute rather than how close their relatives are.  And the number one criteria for home buyers was the size of the home.

A Rutgers professor quoted in the attached article put it best when she said that "family members want intimacy at a distance."

Family Proximity is Lower Priority for Buyers

Monday, September 23, 2013

Sold!: 1580 E Placita Lupita in the Catalina Foothills

It was quite a search but a fun one, and we found the home the buyers loved...the layout, the pool, the neighborhood and the school district.  With spectacular mountain views, this beautiful Tucson home on a quiet cul de sac features many upgrades including granite counters, remodeled bathrooms, gorgeous tile floors and a putting green!  Sold for $525,000

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Green Chile Roasting at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market Just West of Downtown Tucson

Nothing says Tucson in the late summer and fall more than the scent of roasting green chiles.   You can get your own at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market today where the San Xavier Cooperative Farm will be roasting green chiles on site.  Every year I get a big burlap bag of chiles roasted and then divide them into quart sized freezer bags for use the rest of the year. 

You will find lots of wonderful items at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market such as fruits and vegetables, baked good and plants for your garden.  The Santa Cruz Farmers Market runs from 4pm to 7pm each Thursday.  It is located in the Mercado San Agustin off Congress just West of I-10 in Tucson.  Click the link below for directions and more details.

Santa Cruz Farmers Market

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Survey Shows: Buyers Will Pay More for Good Schools

Tucson High School
A new national survey shows that over 44% of potential home buyers are willing to go over their house buying budget by up to 10% in order to buy a home in their preferred school district.  One statistic showed that 62% of these prospective home buyers would even give up a swimming pool to be in a better school district. Well, maybe not Tucson home buyers. 

I have a lot of clients, particularly those coming to Tucson for retirement or who are empty nesters, who never even ask about the schools.  For many of these clients, amenities such as mountain views, pools, and proximity to restaurants and the arts are the priority for their new Tucson home.

But those with children, or who are planning a family some day, usually want to make sure the school system in general, and the local schools in particular will be good for their children to attend.   I give them the information in the Arizona Buyer Advisory that allows them to check out the local schools, but also encourage them to talk with the school system directly and consider visiting the local schools their children would attend.

And Sellers too need to be aware that while a prospective buyer may love their home, a bad rating for a school system or individual school may send the buyers scurrying off to another property.  Another reason for all of us, even those without children, to support our local Tucson schools.

More information on Arizona schools and ratings for individual schools can be found at  Arizona Department of Education

And more information on the nation survey of buyers is available at Survey: Buyers Will Pay More for Good Schools

Monday, August 26, 2013

Just Sold! 908 E Helen Street near the University of Arizona

I loved this university area Tucson house the moment I first drove up to it.  A 1925 duplex, it has a lot of the original built-in features and is only a few minutes walk to the UA.

Take a look at the second photo for a nostalgic look back at two of the previous residents, who inscribed their names in the old drop down desk.

So do you think Chris and Adrianne are still "forever together in paradise"?

Just sold in the Feldmans neighborhood for $152,500.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Food Truck Roundup on the West Side tonight!

Food Trucks at the International Wildlife Museum in Gates Pass
All right, all you Gates Pass/Tucson Mountains neighbors.  You have read about in the paper and seen it on TV.  And now the Tucson Food Truck Roundup is coming to the grounds of the International Wildlife Museum on Gates Pass Road tonight (Saturday August 17) from 5pm to 8pm.

Eight food trucks will be there including The Rolling Chef, Jackie's Food Court, Chef's Kitchen, Hellfire Pizza, and of course...The Zany Beaver.

And here is a link to their Facebook page with all the details: Tucson Food Truck Roundup Tonight

Friday, August 16, 2013

Latest Tucson Home Stats: A Gentle Recovery

With Tucson home sales edging up a bit in 2013, and the number of sales also up a notch, I think we can safely say the Tucson homes market is enjoying what I like to call...A Gentle Recovery. 

There are localized booms (future bubbles?) in Florida, California and Nevada, where prices are up 20% or more, but not yet in Tucson.  We do have some areas of town where we are seeing lots of showings and even multiple offers on right-priced homes. 

Click the link to download the full July Tucson MLS homes market report:
  Tucson MLS July Homes Statistics

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tucson Favorites: Summer Saturday Evenings at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Summer is winding down (at least according to the calendar) but there are still a few weekends to get yourself over to the Summer Saturday Evenings at the Desert Museum.  You will find the museum animals (including Cruz, the new mountain lion) are at their most active on our warm summer evenings.  And there are special docent presentations highlighting the animals, the night sky and other facets of our desert nights. 

Summer Saturday Evenings continue at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum through August 31.

For more information, check the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum website.