Many real estate market analysts don’t have a positive outlook on the short term future of the housing market. A Reuters article released last Wednesday describes some of the problems that are facing and will continue to face Arizona real estate. Among them is the inability of the federal government to pass any useful legislation to fix the problem along with a terrible economy that has a lot of people out of work.
“The Obama administration is considering two proposals: increasing refinancing options for troubled borrowers, and clearing the overhang of foreclosed properties on the market by renting out the large stock of repossessed homes.”
Three years after the housing bubble burst the administration has exhausted nearly all efforts involving tax credits, mortgage modification programs, government-backed loans and various other tools meant to help delinquent home owner stay in their property and avoid foreclosure. Economic advisers in the White House believe that any more aggressive attempts to fix the problem would create more problems than they solve.
Karen Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics Inc said, “If there was an easy way out of this, then a solution would be done. The refinance proposal is the remaining cannon in the arsenal,” regarding ramping up refinancing initiatives. She added, “That effort is more about putting a bottom on the foreclosure issue. Unless you’re ready to deal with those that are delinquent and not foreclosed, even those that are current but struggling, then I don’t think you will see a recovery.”
Investing in any market requires diligent research and the ability to follow and ride the trends that are occurring at the time. The reason for this is that markets are volatile, so having a static plan amongst drastically rising and falling prices and conditions will lead to unexpected and sometimes catastrophic returns. The way to battle this is to keep up on the trends in the community and react to them accordingly. The following are a couple of particular trends that are important to look out for when you are thinking about investing in real estate.
Short Term Gains – Any housing market that has completely made up it’s losses and returned to mid-2000′s level prices has probably over corrected. This means that housing prices are still too high and it will be extremely difficult to make any money off a flipped house. It’s much better to put your money in areas that have yet to correct fully yet.
Over-development – a glut of available property in an area is one of the key causes of a depressed real estate market. Arizona in particular was affected by mass development projects that helped cause the drastic drop in prices. Not every community in Arizona was affected by this however. Look for areas where there are homes for sale but not one where there is a large abundance.
Jobs – no one is going to be able to move into a home if they don’t have a job to pay for it. Look at the job market including unemployment rates around the community to see if there are enough jobs available to support growing home prices. Also see if there are new companies or existing companies transferring to the area. An influx of jobs can greatly increase the value of a home within a short period of time.
Housing auctions in Arizona offer huge potential for savings compared to normal home sales, especially if you are a real estate investor! It’s true that many people don’t want to purchase a home without knowing anything about it but this is the reason for the huge savings. While you can’t have an auctioned home inspected before purchase you can still gather as much information about it beforehand!
Go visit each house and take a photograph. However please remember that not all of the houses are vacant, so don’t disturb the people living in the property by poking around the house without consent. While there, take a look around and see what type of condition the home is in from where you are standing. Before you leave, take a look at the roof, especially right at the very top and see if it looks tattered. You may also want to talk to the neighbors and see what they have to say about the history of the home and neighborhood.
If you are a real estate investor who wants to make a number of purchases, but can’t cover all areas at once, you may be able to get the assistance of a real estate agent on your team to help you do all of the footwork. Plus, there may be a time where it is critical to have someone who is at a desk to answer last minute questions you may not know the answer to while you’re standing at the courthouse steps. Then when you sell the property, you already have an agent you can trust to put the house on the market.
This month brings both good and negative news for the Scottsdale and Phoenix Real Estate Market. In January, foreclosure sales represented 42% of all properties sold, compared to 30% during the 4th quarter of 2010. The main question is whether this is a temporary response to the bank moratoriums or a continuation of a market dominated by people being foreclosed on. The end of 2010 ended in an unusual set of circumstances including foreclosure moratoriums, litigation challenging the foreclosure process, and stricter underwriting guidelines.
Foreclosure activity, as percentage of the total resale market in January 2011, varied throughout the Phoenix metro area such as 52% in El Mirage, 42% in Surprise, 46% in Maryvale, 38% in Chandler and 29% in Scottsdale. Another aspect of the market was the sale of prior foreclosed homes, which accounted for approximately 40% of the traditional transactions in January (4,705 sales). Due to worries about the foreclosure process, foreclosure-related activity represented 66% of the recorded activity for the month, but 63% in 2010. Median prices from January 2010 to January 2011 declined 8% year over year.
Now for some more positive news-Sales are up this year from last in Phoenix by 7%, 12% in Scottsdale, 16% in Chandler, 7% in Surprise, 14% in Mesa, 26% in Gilbert-and 8% in Maricopa County as a whole.