Snowbirds find a place in the sun
Roberta Avery, National Post Published: Thursday, January 29, 2009
SEDONA, Ariz. - There are some great opportunities for Canadians to buy a place in the sun with homes prices across Arizona plummeting in the past year, says real estate agent Elisa Andreis.
"Prices are down 30% to 35%, so it's fantastic for buyers," says Ms. Andreis who is working with a handful of Canadians anxious to snap up vacation homes in the mountain community of Sedona.
Ms. Andreis, with Russ Lyon, Sotheby's International Realty in Sedona, has seen prices drop at both ends of the market, but says the deepest discounts are in the luxury side of the housing market. Sedona homes that previously changed hands for more than US$1.2-million are now selling for under US$800,000, she says.
When the property market began to slow in 2007, Bill Bohon decided not to sell and instead rented out his three-bedroom Sedona townhome until the market picked up.
Fast forward to today, and things have gone from bad to worse. His 2,800-square-foot home, loaded with extras such as granite kitchens and baths, a private elevator and stunning red rock views, is now listed for US$525,000, down more than US$200,000 from its 2006 valuation of US$750,000.
"Our economy here in Sedona is still quite strong, but people who want to move down here from the northern states can't sell their homes there," says Mr. Bohon, a retired executive for the Ford Motor Co.
Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller 20-city U.S. housing index released Dec. 30, 2008, showed home prices in the Valley - the metropolitan area around Phoenix that includes Scottsdale - had an annual decline of 32.7% in October compared with the same month in 2007, and a whopping 47% drop from 2003. That's a bigger percentage drop in the past year than recorded for Las Vegas, San Francisco or Miami, and nearly twice the national average, making Phoenix the weakest real estate market in the index.
That has led to a record 35,000 home foreclosures this year Valley-wide including upscale golf communities in Scottsdale resulting in neighbourhoods dotted with homes left vacant and vandalized because of foreclosures.