Posts Tagged ‘curtis johnson real estate’

Homeowner Confidence Still Low

September 1, 2010

Home Owner Confidence in the Housing Market is still lowThe media tells us that the housing market has stabilized, but homeowners aren’t so sure. A recent report by Zillow.com shows that homeowner confidence has dropped in the second quarter of 2010. One-third of homeowners believe that home prices can still go lower.

Nationwide, only 24 percent of homeowners think their home has increased in value in the past year, even though 34 percent of homes are actually worth more than a few months ago.

Perhaps some of the reason is because many believe that the economic recovery is temporary. The nation as a whole is indeed teetering on the brink, with the national debt closing in on the gross domestic product for the first time since the Great Depression. Many economists are predicting a second dip, and even a full-blown depression, as early as 2011.

On the other hand, history shows that significant economic recessions and depressions tend to result in American’s feeling less secure for decades to come. How many of us recall the oddly frugal habits of our parents or grandparents that were a direct result of the Great Depression? Many of their generation didn’t even trust banks to hold their money and instead invested their savings in jars buried in the backyard.

Zillow’s report also showed that “27 percent of homeowners believed their own homes’ values would increase in the next 12 months, 35 percent believed they will stay the same, 12 percent expected a decrease and 26 percent did not know.”

Western homeowners, including those here in Arizona, who do expect a rise in home values, are hoping for a 10 percent jump. Northeastern homeowners also expect that 10 percent, but the rest of the nation is coming in closer at a hopeful 5 percent.

There are also many homeowners who want to sell their house, but have not had any success or just haven’t bothered. They are waiting for sure signs of stability and rising prices to put their homes on the market.

Unfortunately, the potential of 3.8 million new homes on the market could cause those rising home prices to slow or even stop. The higher the inventory, the more homes buyers have to choose from and the more sellers have to lower their prices. It’s a buyer’s market, but most homeowners want to see a seller’s market.

What can we expect? The housing market is sure to recover eventually, but that recovery may not be as fast as many would like to see. Zillow suggests for three to five years after “the bottom” that the housing market will grow at a very slow rate until the inventory levels out.


If you are in worried about the housing market, give the Curtis Johnson team a call. The Curtis Johnson Team is helping individuals who are facing foreclosure and those who are seeking their dream homes.

Go to www.CurtisJohnsonRealty.com or call 1-888-Curtis-J.

From Snow-Bunnies to Sun-Lovers: More Canadians Buying Homes in Arizona

August 19, 2010

From snow boots to flip flops, more Canadians are buying in ArizonaWhether Canadians are flocking to purchase homes in Arizona because it’s a buyer’s market, or simply because they are tired of snow, the effect is the same: 1/4 of all out-of-state buyers in the Phoenix area recently are Canadian citizens!

It’s true that you don’t have to “shovel sunshine” – and this alone could be the original source of Canadians who are buying homes in Phoenix. However, as we all know, the real estate market in Arizona is struggling, the United States dollar isn’t as strong as it could be, and the fear of loss of jobs or loss of retirement income is at nearly every American’s doorstep. But Canada’s dollar is stronger, and they are not as affected by the recession.

Canada’s retirees, who may have decided another winter of shoveling several feet of snow is just not possible for their aging bodies, younger people, and even investors are looking to the struggling US real estate market for bargains. The warmer the area the better;we sure have plenty of warmth here in Phoenix!

Is this good or bad for the Phoenix area? Well, it will certainly bring non-US dollars into the area, which is a good thing for our economy. It will mean fewer foreclosures and other empty homes on the market, which will eventually increase and stabilize home prices again. Since many of the Canadian buyers are retired, it’s quite possible that these new residents will have independent sources of income, so will not decrease the pool of available jobs. Many may even increase the job market if they are small business owners or even just need to hire some domestic help -not to mention the increase in services and places to shop that will be needed with an increase in population.

This trend is not new; even before the recession we were seeing more and more Canadians heading to the sunny city of Phoenix. Now we see fewer Californians purchasing in Phoenix, a population that has traditionally been the leader in out-of-state buyers. We are also seeing an increase in buyers from northern United States regions and the Midwest.

Quite possibly, the best thing that these new buyers will bring is more stability. Those who are looking to invest and live in Phoenix these days are a population group that typically stays put for a long time.

If you are ready to trade in your snow-bunny gear for shorts and sandals, give the Curtis Johnson team a call. We know the Phoenix area and can help you find the home of your dreams or a great investment property. Contact the Curtis Johnson team, go to CurtisJohnsonRealty.com or call 1-888-Curtis-J.

One of America’s Top 100 Cities–Scottsdale, Arizona

August 9, 2010

Downtown Scottsdale Arizona WaterfrontIf you are looking for a home in one of the best places to live in Arizona, then you should look at Scottsdale. Located within the greater Phoenix, Arizona metro area, it has landed on the list of MONEY Magazine’s 2010 top 100 Best Places to Live in the United States!

Scottsdale wins the 71st spot out of 100 best cities nation-wide. MONEY Magazine mentions the many golf courses (there are over 170!), the PGA tour, shopping, restaurants, and resort spas as some of the better amenities Scottsdale has to offer.

Those who call Scottsdale home know that there are even more outstanding features to this great town.

Scottsdale is considered a small city in itself, but keep in mind that it sits within the Phoenix metro area. While it can have a small-city feel, it is well within the bounds of one of the largest cities in the nation.

Whether wanting to relocate or just needing a place to spend your winters, Scottsdale has much of what you are looking for.

With the Sonoran Desert and McDowell Mountains nearby the hiking is great. The hot dry climate makes it attractive to those who are just plain tired of winter chills. Many people suffering from allergies and breathing problems find the climate conducive to better health.

If you are looking for a bargain in housing, Scottsdale is a great place to invest. The real estate market’s crash took a big toll on Scottsdale and many other parts of Phoenix, but it is sure to rebound. Right now there are foreclosures and short sales in nearly every neighborhood and you can easily find your dream home for a fraction of what it normally would cost. Now is a great time to invest in a vacation property, a winter home, or a permanent desert oasis right here in Scottsdale.

Check out another great Phoenix-area city that is also on MONEY’s top 100 list—Gilbert, Arizona!

When you are ready to buy or sell in one of the best cities in the nation, contact the Curtis Johnson team for help. We know Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix area and can help you find the home of your dreams or a great investment property. Contact the Curtis Johnson team, go to http://www.CurtisJohnsonRealty.com or call 1-888-Curtis-J.

One of America’s Top 100 Cities—Gilbert, Arizona

August 3, 2010

Gilbert, ArizonaThe Phoenix area has no shortage of great places to live! Gilbert, Arizona was recently named one of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States by MONEY Magazine! Those of us at Curtis Johnson Realty can only agree with them—Gilbert is a great city!

According the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, most people who choose to make Gilbert their home do so because of its “small-town friendliness, great schools, pristine neighborhoods and a thriving business community.”

Many people have been discovering all that and more about Gilbert. It is recognized as one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, with the population topping 200,000 in recent years. Don’t think that is very impressive? The population was only 5,000 a mere 30 years ago!
Located within the greater Phoenix metro area and with easy access to all that Phoenix has to offer, Gilbert retains its small town roots and sense of community.

MONEY Magazine’s editors noted that some of Gilbert’s best features include Joe’s Real BBQ restaurant, the Downtown Heritage District, Trilogy Golf Club and the three-day-long Gilbert Days festival.

Like most of Arizona, Gilbert suffered when the real estate market crashed, but today Gilbert is rebounding with the rest of the Phoenix area. There are bargains to be had for sure in the foreclosure and short sale listings. But with the increasing popularity of Gilbert the time to buy is now.

Check out another great Phoenix-area city that is also on MONEY’s top 100 list—Scottsdale, Arizona!

Let the Curtis Johnson team show you the best real estate in Gilbert today. From foreclosed single family homes to top of the line mansions, older homes or even horse ranches…somewhere in or near Gilbert is the home you have been dreaming of. We know Gilbert and the greater Phoenix area and can help you find the home or investment property you are looking for. Contact the Curtis Johnson team, go to http://www.CurtisJohnsonRealty.com or call 1-888-Curtis-J.

Housing Prices Continue to Drop in Phoenix and Nation-wide

June 30, 2010

The Phoenix real estate market has been up and down, but its more down than up now.There is good news for home buyers in the Phoenix area—home prices are continuing to decrease, down half a percent from February. Of course, this sounds like terrible news if you are trying to sell your home, especially if you bought it when home prices were at or near their peak. No matter what shoes you are in, you should take time to look at the current housing market before making your next real estate move.

Sales jumped during the past several months, partially due to the lower prices of homes and partially due to the home buyer tax credit. Now that the credit has ended, home sales have plummeted and sellers are dropping prices in an attempt to catch the eyes of the prospective home buyers still out there. Eventually the market will right itself if left alone, but it will take time.

In the meantime, foreclosures and short sales are increasing. Combine that with slow job growth, increasing unemployment in many areas and fields, and increasingly tight credit requirements. This combination is going to further drive down the value of homes in Arizona and other states. It’s a bargain hunter’s paradise, for sure.

What can you do if you are trying to sell your home in this frustrating market? How do you compete with the foreclosed house down the block? The same tips are tried and true no matter what state the market is in: good staging, fresh paint, decrease clutter, clean, clean, clean, and fix all those issues that might come up. Have someone with a fresh eye take a walk through your house as if they were a home buyer, then write down—and complete—everything they suggest.

If the continuing downturn of the Phoenix housing market has you in a sweat, or if you’re looking to take advantage of lower prices, call the Curtis Johnson team to help you. The Curtis Johnson Team is here to help when you are looking to buy or sell a home. You don’t need to go to the government for help. Instead, go to www.CurtisJohnsonRealty.com or call 1-888-Curtis-J.

What Do Current Foreclosure Numbers Suggest for the Economic Future of Arizona and the Nation?

May 24, 2010

The foreclosure crisis is still with us—and it is pulling down whatever economic recovery we may have seen. The number of bank owned properties, and the actual repossessions in the last quarter, is at an all-time high. As more and more foreclosures hit the market, it drags down the overall value of homes. And when house prices drop, as we have seen in recent years, the economy drops with it.

After all, why would someone want to pay $50,000 more for house A, a regular listing, than for house B, a foreclosure? If both homes are in good condition and everything else is equal, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. The very presence of house B will force the owner of house A to drop the price just to get an offer.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, the number of homes in the foreclosure process was at 4.63%, an increase of 5 points over the previous quarter and up an astonishing 78 basis points from a year ago. Homes considered to be in the foreclosure process do not include simple delinquencies.

The news is not all bad though. According to the same figures, the number of homeowners beginning to be in trouble with their mortgages has declined since the last quarter and compared to a year ago.

According to RealtyTrac, Arizona moved up to 2nd place nation-wide on the list of states with the highest number of foreclosures, however the actual number of foreclosures in Arizona has dropped significantly. The spike in place was due primarily to a much larger drop in California’s foreclosure rates. Still, the number of foreclosures in Arizona is nearly double that of the nation.

Another disturbing trend is the type of mortgages going into default. While the earlier problem-mortgages were the high-risk subprime variety, today’s foreclosures are more likely to be on mortgages that were not considered to be a significant risk.

Add to the economic mix the sharp decline in mortgage applications over the past few weeks since the Home Buyer Tax Credit ended. Potential home purchases, after a surge in the fall and winter months, are now at a 13-year low.

While it is still hotly debated whether the economic improvement in recent months is a temporary spike or a long-term upward trend, there is no denying that the housing crisis is far from over. The next few quarters will show us a more realistic picture of what the economy will do, with the housing market leading the way.

Whether you are looking to buy a home or facing a troubling mortgage situation, give the Curtis Johnson team a call. The Curtis Johnson Team is helping individuals who are facing foreclosure and those who are seeking their dream homes.

Go to www.CurtisJohnson.com or call 1-888-Curtis-J.

Will Short-Term Government Help Bring Long Term Good?

May 13, 2010

Government intervention helped many eager homebuyers to buy homes in the last year and a half, promising them an $8,000 tax credit if they did. This temporarily helped revive home sales, but is it a good deal in the long run?

The Florida Association of Realtors thought so and tried to lobby to expand the credit. Others, speaking from the real estate side, and the home building side, think that the long term credit could overcorrect the mortgage industry –especially since the Federal Reserve also bought mortgage –backed securities to keep interest low. The government also bailed out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation’s two largest mortgage lenders.

Unfortunately, it seems as though we may be on track for the government to control all aspects of the mortgage industry. If our government had a record of accomplishment for managing money wisely, this might not be such a concern. However, we all know that isn’t exactly the case.  Of course, the long term impact of the credits is not yet known.

It may not have been the best time for some families to buy, but with the government dangling a carrot of extra money, many families gave into the temptation. Hopefully, these loans will remain stable and not become foreclosure statistics.

Any good effects the credit had on residential real estate did nothing to over a million commercial real estate loans that will end between 2010 and 2014, and it is clear that we are not out the woods. Florida—and Arizona—have some of the largest commercial real estate markets, so they will probably take some of the worst from this, just as they did in the residential market.

Are you interested in buying a home for your family, even though you may have missed the government’s cut off for a tax credit? If so, call the Curtis Johnson team today. The Curtis Johnson team will be here to help you buy or sell your home, and our help does not have a deadline. Go to www.curtisjohnson.com or call 1-888-Curtis-J.

Will Short Sale Save Your Credit Score?

April 30, 2010

If you’re facing foreclosure on your Phoenix home, you may have considered selling your house in a short-sale. A real estate agent you know tells you it’s better than a foreclosure. Your co-worker did it, too, and “heard” it would be better than a foreclosure (you don’t know if he’s bothered to check his credit since doing so, however). From what you keep hearing, you’d be better off selling your home in a short-sale than taking the massive hit to your FICO credit score as a result of a foreclosure. So, what should you do?  Will a short sale save you the consequences of foreclosure?

A short sale is considered an alternative to foreclosure for good reason.  On the positive side, it can give you and your family more control over the situation. You still list your home through a Realtor for a minimum price that the lender will accept. During the sale process, you can stay in your home and protect it from the damage that can occur when a foreclosed home is left vacant.  Ideally, during this time, you will still be able to make some payment.

Lenders have not always been enthusiastic about short sales as they would prefer to collect their whole mortgage amount.  Given the current real estate climate, lenders are seeing the positives of the process: processing a short sale usually involves less cost to the bank than processing a foreclosure.  Recently, the Making Home Affordable Program mandated that banks process short sales more efficiently; major banks have countered with short sale plans of their own.  Both banks and borrowers can receive financial incentives under the federal program.

Naysayers about short sales note that a short sale isn’t any “gentler” on your credit score than a foreclosure.   CNN devised a hypothetical scenario in which two individuals with varying credit scores (680 & 780 to start) underwent similar hardships. While working with the credit scores (to see what would happen to the credit scores in various situations), it was determined that both a foreclosure and a short-sale had the same effect on a person’s credit score: both scores declined. Ironically, the person with the higher credit score took the bigger hit of about 140 points. However, many analysts would disagree with these numbers and say the credit score impact of a short sale is only about 50 points.

For most people in mortgage trouble, the impact on the credit score is not as big a concern as finding a way to either keep their home or move on with dignity.   If you are in a bad situation, the reality is that your credit is probably already on the downslide from months of being delinquent.  Not seeking the help that a short sale can offer is like telling the lifeboat driver on the Titanic that you will only take a red boat.

If you fearing foreclosure or are in over your head with your mortgage payment, a short sale could be your answer. It offers an opportunity to terminate your mortgage commitment with dignity and provide you with some cash to start planning your new life .    A HUD-approved credit counselor can help you determine the best route for you.

If you go that route, you will need the expertise of a trusted agent to list your home and follow through on the paperwork.  For more information about foreclosure alternatives or buy or sell a home in Phoenix, Mesa, Glendale, or surrounding areas, call Curtis Johnson Real Estate today to set up an appointment and get started.  The Curtis Johnson team is here to help! Go to www.curtisjohnson.com or call 1-888-Curtis – J

Don’t Bet the Farm on Rising Home Prices

April 21, 2010

The slight recovery seen in the housing market over the past year has given sellers hope. However, as the saying goes, “Don’t bet the farm on it.” While this upturn in housing sales has many buyers feeling hopeful again, it isn’t expected to last long at all–at least not yet. As more foreclosures are expected to hit the market again, especially in Phoenix, it’s not to exhale just yet. The index put out by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) predicts the rise and fall in housing prices. In 2005, this index peaked, indicating that home prices would peak–not too long before the big housing boom in 2006. In 2008, about six months before the down turn in housing prices, the index bottomed out.

According to Robert Shiller, the outlook, based on the current NAHB index, doesn’t indicate that housing prices are rising again anytime soon. However, this index isn’t the only basis upon which the expected outcomes are to be based. Possibly a better indicator would be inventory levels. When looking at the NAHB HMI compared side by side with single family housing starts, we can see that the NAHB does indeed hint at what we can expect, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. We need to take into account the fact that foreclosures are about to be on the rise–again–and consider that to be a heavier indicator of what the market will do.               

If you’re one of the families who may be affected by the repeated downturn in the housing market, or if you’re looking to take advantage of lower prices, call Curtis Johnson team help you. The Curtis Johnson Team is here to help you if you are looking to buy or sell a home. You don’t need to go to the government for help. Instead, go to  www.curtisjohnson.com  or call 1-888-Curtis – J.

Limited Loan Modification Success, Rising Foreclosures Mark Phoenix Real Estate Scene

April 17, 2010

Last year, President Barack Obama announced his plans for the Making Homes Affordable program–a program designed to help those on their way to foreclosure.  There was a trial period set up when this program began, and recently the number of those who made it to “permanent” status has increased. Homeowners from Phoenix were likely candidates for this program

However, the number of those who have actually made it to a permanent mortgage modification is still staggering behind those within the trial period. Why? It isn’t easy to qualify for the program in the first place; In addition, as with any “helpful” government program, those who do qualify must complete a slew of paperwork. Banks are behind  in processing the paperwork.  With the less-than-simple process toward loan modification in place, many of those who were in the process of completing the program have dropped out.

At the same time, the number of foreclosures continues to rise. Unfortunately, that cancels out any of the “good” that the president’s program has been doing. Regardless of how many people the mortgage modification program is helping, if there are still plenty of foreclosures (there are) and if that number is still increasing (it is), then it cannot  be said that this program is all that it’s cracked up to be.

Are you facing a possible foreclosure and in need of an agent to help sell your home fast? Have you been considering the mortgage modification program? Let the Curtis Johnson team help you. The Curtis Johnson Curtis Johnson Team is here to help individuals who are facing foreclosure. You don’t need to go to the government for help. Instead, go to  www.curtisjohnson.com  or call 1-888-Curtis – J.