Flagstaff, AZ Real Estate News

By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
What a busy weekend in Flagstaff! Drama fans have two great choices this weekend: John Steinbeck's classic novel adapted for the stage in Grapes of Wrath, is playing at the Clifford White Theatre at NAU. The Laramie Project based upon the murder of Matthew Shepard is playing at the Doris Harper-White Community Playhouse.  One of the actors in The Laramie Project wrote to me: "I've killed myself onstage and been a nurse to a woman dying of cancer. Nothing compares to this." Here are other, more light-hearted, events of the weekend:April 27 Palette to Palate, Coconino Community College Lone Tree Campus, 2800 S. Lone Tree, 5:00-8:00 p.m., $25 general, $15 students. Auction of regional and student art to benefit CCC's Fine Arts Dept.April 27 Percussion Ensemble Concert, NAU Ardrey Auditoriu...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
When asking "why" about the state of the real estate market, a large and sometimes over-looked factor is the general state of the economy. Indeed, I overlooked it in yesterday's post. This morning's news brings a report of overall slowdown in the economy: Gross domestic product rose at a seasonally adjusted 1.3% annual rate January through March, the Commerce Department said Friday in the first estimate of first-quarter GDP. The surprisingly anemic pace lagged the fourth quarter's rate of 2.5% and reflected the slowest growth in GDP since 1.2% during the first quarter of 2003. Wall Street Journal, April 27Although unemployment remains low and the stock market is zinging (at least it was earlier this week), capital spending is weak. The latter factor signals that industry decision-makers...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
What is behind the slowdown in the Flagstaff housing market? Fundamentally, of course, there are fewer buyers than sellers right now. But why? One factor is certainly the slowdown in the Phoenix market. 18 months ago, Phoenix was the number one market in the nation measured by rate of price increase. Like it or not, Flagstaff --  just 140 miles, but a huge 20 degree summer temperature difference -- is a huge second-home escape location for Phoenicians. When Phoenix area residents are feeling wealthy, one of their likely expenditures is for a Flagstaff home. (Most estimates make 25% of our housing stock second homes.) Phoenicians' primary homes are now feeling less like piggy-banks to them than they were two years ago. Also, rates on the home equity loans that they might have taken to bu...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
For those of you following this thread, the second hearing on the "Re-Do" of the historic district between Thorpe Park and Downtown is scheduled for hearing tomorrow night before the Flagstaff Historic Commission. This pertains to a new Historic Overlay District zoning overlay that roughly covers the National Register of Historic Places Townsite Historic District. Here is the scoop on tomorrow night:Time: 5:00 PM - Tuesday, April 24, 2007Place: Flagstaff City Hall, Council Conference Room, 211 W. Aspen Avenue Subsequent meetings scheduled as follows:Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, May 22City Council meeting (1st Reading) Work Session, June 4City Council meeting (2nd Reading) July 19
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
We're in a buyers' market. Right now there is a seven month supply of homes on the market. This means if you put your home on the market today, and no one else listed a home for the next seven months, seven months from now, the buyers available would have nothing to buy. Contrast this with some periods at the peak of the hot market when, if you had put your home on the market and no one else listed thereafter, six weeks later the available buyers would have had nothing to buy. Right now there are 821 residential units of all types and sizes (condos to acreages, one bedroom to mansions) for sale. Since March 21, 109 units have sold. Here are the stats from the MLS for all properties with Flagstaff mailing addresses, March 21, 2007-April 21, 2007:  Square Feet List Price Selling PriceDays...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
Ok, sun is out, at least part way. Today's event in Wheeler Park should be a big success. (It seems all Wheeler Park events are successful.) Wheeler Park is the grassy area between Aspen and Birch in front of the library and next to Humphrey's (for those of you from out of town -- the turn off Rt. 66 that takes you to the Snowbowl and Grand Canyon). It's in front of City Hall and across from the American Legion. On most weekends, you'll find some "event" -- some free, like today's, some for a fee. Many have good and tents for displays. Here is the scoop on today's event:  Title:Earth Day 2007Date:April 21, 2007Description:Earth Day Celebration 2007. Address:Wheeler ParkFlagstaff, AZ 86001 Location:Wheeler ParkHours:10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
We know it. Now readers of Kiplinger's Personal Finance know it. Flagstaff is one of the five choices named in Kiplinger's May 2007 issue on best college towns. In Kiplinger's words: "Nothing matches the vibe of a college town.... There is something about living near a campus that stimulates the mind and spirit."  Flagstaff has all of this, and "a top-notch medical center and a low crime rate." Ok, they know that the cost of living is "19% higher than the national average," but "compared to living in a big city, you'll save on everything from housing to recreation."  The other four featured college towns are Athens, GA ("southern charm"), Eugene OR ("wins the location lottery"), Tallahassee, FL ("not your father's Florida"), and Fayetteville, Ark. ("down-home sophisticate").  Flagstaff'...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
To kickoff the event, attend the Special Performance Friday night (this is books like I never "heard" in the 1950s):In an unprecedented special "unplugged" appearance, JERRY RIOPELLE brings his distinctive brand of hard-driving roots rock to an intimate Festival audience at Charly's on Festival Friday. Riopelle's music reflects a genuine lyrical honesty with heavy doses of rhythm and blues, rock and country flavored with a unique mix of jazz and reggae sounds. Riopelle is an artist whose work, both in the studio and on the stage, has always refused to be categorized. His natural ability to drawfrom different contemporary styles while utilizing wide ranging instrumental ideas and rhythmic variationsgives the Riopelle sound a very distinct character.For a full run-down of guest authors an...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
I had the great privilege of attending the final performance of the season last Friday -- "A Night at the Opera". Among other great performances, guest artist Isola Jones sang selections from Carmen.  The Master Chorale and NAU Shrine of the Ages Choir provided strong vocal support for our always wonderful orchestra. Prof. Edith Copley of NAU was in town from her many musical road trips to prepare the vocalists for the performance conducted by Maestro Randall Fleisher.This topped off a wonderful season of masterful guest performances. Flagstaff's orchestra has matured into one of the best regional symphonies in the country. The bad news is that we are losing our maestro of the last eight years, who will move to the Youngstown, Ohio orchestra next season. The good news is that next year'...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
It is with great pleasure that I announce that Lori Couture has joined our team. Lori has a background in marketing, management, teaching, and website development. She earned her B.S. B.A. in computer information systems and M.Ed. in educational technology at Northern Arizona University. Lori is a long-time Flagstaff resident and earned her real estate license about 18 months ago. Lori will be assisting me in marketing and serving our seller-clients.
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
Oops, the City Council forgot to run the historic district for the Townsite through public hearings before the Planning and Zoning Commission. (They did it only through the historic commission and the city council.)  So now it has to be redone through all three bodies (P&Z, historic commission, council). The city attorneys caught it after the last city council vote to approve. Wake up city attorneys! -- This is all too reminiscent of the 4th St. bridge fiasco. (Remember when the city figured out that they didn't own the land they were trying to deed to the railroad? Our bridge was delayed for months.) In my opinion, the city management needs to do a remedial course on working with their lawyers.
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
            The number of homes listed for sale in and around Flagstaff, according the Northern Arizona Association of Realtors® Multiple-Listing Service, increased from 683 at the beginning to March to 755 on April 7. These numbers are actually lower than the number of homes for sale last October in spite of the perception that I have been hearing "on the street" that there may be an alarming increase in the number of homes for sale. The price statistics in the table below for all residential units will be quite startling - prices appear to be WAY down and, therefore, to support the notion that there is a huge "oversupply" of homes for sale. Let's look, and then dig a bit deeper:           MLS StatisticsMedian PriceAverage PriceHomes SoldMarch 2007$270,000 $323,3211091st Quarter 2007$3...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
The number of residential units of all types sold in March was 108, up slightly from the shorter month of February when 87 units sold.  The average selling price was down slightly from $337,426 in February to $321,592 for March.  In March 2006 the average selling price was $390,149 - a significant and unusual drop in the history of the Flagstaff real estate market. The question of why the average is lower is less easily answered. We've had three apartment complexes in Flagstaff convert to condominiums and those units are beginning to sell briskly. The first significant number of closings on these relatively small and inexpensive units occurred in March, bringing down the average overall price. Sales of single family residential units (not condos, townhomes, or manufactured homes) reflec...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
One of the things that I do this time of year is review the National Association of Realtors® "Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers." There are lots of reasons to study this annual report carefully, but here are a few interesting tidbits from the 2006 report (covering the period July 2005-June 2006): More than one of five first-time buyers received help with their down payments from relatives or friends. Seventy-three percent tapped into their savings accounts to put together the cash, and four percent took money from their IRAs. Fifty-two percent of all buyers view their home as a better investment than stocks, and another 29 percent say a home is about as good an investment as stocks. The demographics of home buyers are shifting rapidly. In 1995, 70 percent of all purchasers were marrie...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
We often hear complaints about the City Council -- and I'm not the least of those among the grousers. But, this time I think they got it right. We're going to have a new Marriot hotel at the site of the chain-saw massacre at Beulah and Woodlands Village Boulevards, which has been a blight on the west side of town since the owner surreptitiously cut all the tall pines in half and let them die in a criminal (yes, he was convicted) effort to avoid the tree-preservation development ordinance. Something had to be done. By resisting the initial Marriott proposal for rezoning to allow a hotel larger than existing zoning would permit, the City achieved a lower height for the structure and a commitment to use reclaimed water for the ambitious re-vegetation plan. The unfortunate tradeoff is that ...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
•1.     March 1-3 Still Life With Iris, NAU Clifford E. White Theatre, 8:00 p.m., $8 students, $10 staff/seniors/faculty, $11 general public. A magical story about a young girl's search for the family she once knew.•2.     March 1-10 Lysistrata, Theatrikos Theatre Company, 11 W. Cherry, 8:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. matinees, $14. First play of the 2007 season. •3.     March 2 First Friday Art Walk, 6:30-9:00 p.m., free. Meet local artists, shop at downtown galleries, and enjoy fine art, live music, and refreshments.•4.     March 4 Winter Festival of Choirs, NAU Ardrey Auditorium, 3:00 p.m., $10. Featuring NAU Men's Chorale, Women's Chorale, University Singers and Harold M. Harter Memorial Handbell Choir.•5.     March 6 Youth Art Exhibition at Coconino Center for the Arts•6.     March 8-10 Route...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
In Flagstaff, as in the State of Arizona, we don't change time for Daylight Saving, but many people who live or work on the nearby Navajo reservation DO change to Daylight Saving Time (DST). This can be pretty stressful if you are doing a 90 minute commute to work in Tuba City from Flagstaff, for example. And all of your friends in Flagstaff wonder why you appear to be experiencing jet lag. DST matters to any of the rest of us Flagstaffonians (most of us) who communicate with people living in other parts of the country. Ever try to call someone on the east coast at 8 p.m. and suddenly remember that it's not 10 p.m. there, but 11 p.m. (and they just fell soundly asleep?) When trying to explain this uniquely Arizona phenomenon to people from other parts of the country, I often say, "we're...
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By Ann Heitland, Retired from Flagstaff Real Estate Sales
(Retired from RE/MAX Peak Properties)
The market is good. We have nearly twice as many homes on the market as at this time last year, but prices continue to be strong. Buyers have choices. Sellers are retaining value. What could be better?                        MLS StatisticsMedian PriceAverage PriceHomes SoldJanuary 2007$345,000$409,96778December 2006$299,500$362,64888January 2006$305,000$398,31473Multiple-listing-service data is for single family, townhomes, condos and manufactured homes with Flagstaff, Arizona mailing addresses. "MLS" data is based upon information from the Northern Arizona Association of Realtors® and is deemed reliable for sales reported to the association, but is not guaranteed and does not include all sales in the market area.
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