Hello and Welcome to Baker's Blog! 

Here you can find answers to your real estate questions. Perhaps even real estate questions you didn't know you had. You'll also find thoughts, observations, and commentary on real estate and real estate related issues. Have a question or a suggestion for a post? Message me or give me a call. I'm always happy to answer questions and share information with others. And don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

March 4, 2021

February Glendale Real Estate Update

February Real Estate Update

The first month of 2021 saw 293 MLS listing sales closed in Glendale and 289 in Peoria. Today there are 117 active and available listings (not counting properties already under contract or pending close of escrow) in MLS in Glendale and 103 in Peoria. That's 40 % of one month's inventory in Glendale, up from 30% in December and 28% down from 34.3% of one month's inventory in Peoria. Today's Maricopa County inventory is 54.3% of January's closed sales, up from 49.6% in December. In Maricopa County, the days a listing spent on the market rose slightly from 41.39 to 43.62.

 

While it looks like Glendale and Maricopa County overall have seen an increase in available inventory, that data needs to come with a little perspective. According to Cromford Report data, the number of available Maricopa County listings in January 2021 was down 18% from December 2020 and over 50% from January 2020. And Cromford Report data continues to track month-over-month increases in the average final sale price per square foot, with January 2021 sale prices up 1.8% from December 2020 sales, consistent with the roughly 2% month-over-month increases we saw in the last quarter of 2020. 

 

According to ShowingTime, the platform REALTORS use to schedule most of the MLS showings, Peoria listings in the $300,000-399,999 range had the highest number of showings for the 2nd straight month at 31.64 % of January traffic. Listings in the $200,000-299,999 range came in second at 26.2%, and listings in the $400,000-$499,999 range pulled in 21.07% of the showing traffic last month. Glendale statistics show traffic split almost evenly between the $200,000-$299,999 and $300,000-$399,999 segments, at 37.01% and 38.82% respectively. We should continue to see these shifts in showing traffic as prices and demand increase and low-interest rates afford Buyers more purchasing power. Not all showings are scheduled through ShowingTime, so actual numbers are typically higher. 

 

According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates are beginning to increase slightly for a 30-year fixed loan. As of February 18, 2021, National Mortgage Rates reported the U.S. weekly averages of ­­­­2.81% for a 30-year fixed, 2.21% for a 15-year Fixed-Rate, and 2.77% for a 5-Year ARM. 

 

January entry-level prices for a detached home with three bedrooms and two baths­­­­­­ in the west valley dropped a bit for FHA Buyers, as Buyers using FHA financing saw minimums of $107,000 in Maricopa County, $217,000 in Glendale, and $214,000 in Peoria. Conventional Financing Buyers in Maricopa County saw a decrease to $136,225, as did Peoria Conventional Buyers down to $235,000, but Glendale Conventional Buyers saw an increase to $243,000. Maricopa County VA Buyers saw an increase to $230,000, and Glendale VA Buyers increased to $265,000, with a drop for Peoria VA Buyers to $278,000.  

 

According to MLS statistics, the number of Maricopa County Buyers financing their purchases in January dipped slightly to 81.1% from 82.7% in December. Conventional financing made up 58.1% of those sales, FHA financing 9.8%, VA financing 5.7%, and the remaining sales used other financing methods. In January, only 8.9% of Sellers contributed to Buyer's closing costs. 

 

If your finances need a fresh perspective, please know that you are not alone. If you're a Homeowner, contact your Lender to see what programs they are offering. If you're a Tenant, rental assistance is available through the Arizona Department of Housing website at www.saveourhomeaz.gov. If you're a Landlord, you can apply for aid at https://arizonatogether.org/grants

 

As published in the March 4, 2021 edition of the Glendale Star.

Posted in Market Updates
March 3, 2021

Opinion: Chamber board adds small business owner, fresh voice

As published February 15, 2021, in the Glendale Independent.

Opinion: Chamber board adds small business owner, fresh voice

Connect. Impact. Prosper. The core principles of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. Honored, I embark on my term as the newest appointee to the Chamber Board of Directors, these principles my North Star.

Growing up the daughter of a successful small business owner, I understood how critical small businesses are not just to the families who operate them and the community that supports them but also to other small businesses. As a local REALTOR and small business owner myself, I know first-hand that my business’s success depends upon the success of other businesses. I understand the sacrifices and risks taken every day by small business owners and the courage it requires to take those risks every day. And I know that support comes not just from sales but from creating a network of alliances. That the more you know about your community, the better you can serve its needs.

And it’s that knowledge that eventually drew me to join the Glendale Chamber of Commerce. To seek connections with like-minded individuals and to support the local business community. To serve first on their Public Policy Committee, and now also on their Board of Directors. I am excited to join the diverse, talented, and esteemed collection of professionals and bring a fresh voice and my entrepreneurial spirit into the mix. To advocate for Chamber policy that encourages, nurtures, and supports local businesses and the community that supports those businesses.

You may be surprised, as I was, to find that Chamber Membership is not limited to only Glendale businesses. Our membership spans the Valley and reaches all industry segments – even non-profit organizations – to truly connect the business community through networking, mixers, seminars, informational presentations, and personal outreach. Even with the current restrictions, the Chamber continues to provide information, value, and partnership to its members in a way not many Chambers have or can.

But Glendale is not just my business community. It is also where I live and play. It is where I volunteer as the chair of the Community Development Advisory Committee, the vice president of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni of Glendale, and the chair of the Conservation Committee for the GFWC Glendale Woman’s Club. It is where I served last year as vice-chair of the Citizens Bond Election Committee, an advisory committee whose roles included reviews, assessments, and recommendations to the City Council for the bond issues presented to the residents of Glendale.

As I navigate my new adventure, I will be collaborating with my fellow board members to create and enact Chamber policy on a wide variety of issues while facing a wide variety of challenges. All with my eye towards our guiding principles and my heart in the City of Glendale.

Posted in Market Updates
Feb. 10, 2021

Prices Climb As Average Time On The Market Drops

Are you thinking about a new home for the new year? Anyone trying to purchase a home right now will tell you that even as prices and interest rates continue to rise, you need to move quickly in this market. But don't think you have to revise your resolutions just yet; just be prepared.

 

Cromford Report data tracked around a 2% month over month increase in the average final sale price per square foot in Maricopa County in the 4th Quarter of 2020. This while the average days on the market dropped to 39.8 from 47.85 in Quarter 3. Both are trends expected to continue this trajectory in the new year.

 

During December, 413 MLS listing sales closed in Glendale and 417 in Peoria. Today there are 124 active and available listings (not counting properties already under contract or pending close of escrow) in MLS in Glendale and 143 active listings in Peoria. That's 30% of one month's inventory in Glendale, down from 40% in November) and 34.3 % of one month's inventory in Peoria (down from 47% in November). Today's Maricopa County inventory is 49.6% of December's closed sales, down from 69.5% in November. 

 

According to ShowingTime, the platform REALTORS use to schedule most of the MLS showings, Peoria saw an increase in showing traffic in the $300,000-399,999 range, with a higher percentage of traffic, 37.39% averaging 12.33 showings per listing. This increase bumped it up to the most popular price range in Peoria, moving the $200,000-$299,999 range to second place at 25.57% of December traffic, with an average of 12.54 showings per listing. The $200,000-$299,999 range still had the most showings in Glendale, averaging 14.65 showings per listing, which accounted for 40.32% of showings. Listings in the $300,000-399,999 range averaged 12.38 showings per listing, 31.88% of showing traffic. Not all showings are scheduled through ShowingTime, so actual numbers are typically higher. 

 

According to Freddie Mac, mortgage rates are beginning to rise gradually. As of January 14, 2021, National Mortgage Rates reported U.S. weekly averages of 2.79% for a 30-year fixed, 2.23% for a 15-year Fixed-Rate, and 3.12% for a 5-Year ARM. 

 

December entry-level prices for a detached home with three bedrooms and two baths rose in the west valley across tracked financing options. While the lowest price paid for a home with Conventional Financing in Maricopa County dropped to $175,000, Glendale Conventional Buyers saw an increase to $225,000, and Peoria Conventional Buyers an increase to $238,000. Buyers using FHA financing saw increases in prices paid with minimums of $185,000 in Maricopa County, $225,00 in Glendale, and $244,000 in Peoria. Maricopa County VA Buyers also saw increases to $217,000, Glendale VA Buyers saw an increase to $260,000, and Peoria VA Buyers paid a minimum of $322,500.  

 

According to MLS statistics, the number of buyers financing their purchases in December rose from 76.4% to 82.7%. Conventional financing made up 71.3% of those sales, FHA financing 13.7%, VA financing 6.8%, and the remaining sales used other financing methods.

 

If your finances are in need in the new year, please know that you are not alone. If you're a Homeowner, contact your Lender to see what programs they are offering. If you're a Tenant, rental assistance is available through the Arizona Department of Housing website at www.saveourhomeaz.gov. If you're a Landlord, you can apply for aid at https://arizonatogether.org/grants

 

As published in the Glendale Star

As published in the Peoria Times

Nov. 27, 2020

Housing Market Crunch Continues During Holidays

Published in the November 26, 2020 issues of the Glendale Star and Peoria Times. Lisa Baker, Guest Writer

You don't have to be a Buyer or Seller right now to realize that we are in a housing market crunch. And it will likely not surprise you to know that we are not alone.

 

According to the National Association of Realtors latest quarterly report, every metro area tracked by the National Association of Realtors® during the third quarter of 2020 saw home prices increase from a year ago. Sixty-five percent of metros – 117 areas out of 181 – witnessed double-digit price growth from one year ago. The nation's median existing single-family home price climbed 12.0% on a year-over-year basis to $313,500. And where did we rank? According to the report, the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale Metropolitan area saw an 18.12% year-over-year increase, with the median home price coming in at $341.60. That puts us well above the national average.

 

During October, 408 MLS listing sales closed in Glendale, and 445 in Peoria. Today there are 204 active and available listings (not counting properties already under contract or pending close of escrow) in MLS in Glendale and 250 active listings in Peoria. That's 50% of one month's

inventory in Glendale (down from 56% in September) and 56% of one month's inventory in Peoria (down from 69% in September). Today's Maricopa County inventory is at 75.8% of October's closed sales (down from 87.4% last month).

 

Maricopa County Seller concessions are still low, with only around 9.25% of Sellers contributing to Buyer's closing costs. In line with Buyers needing to gain a competitive edge, about 6.5% of Buyers contributed to Seller's closing costs in October.

 

Showing traffic saw some very slight decreases. According to ShowingTime, the platform REALTORS use to schedule most of the MLS showings, during October, listings in the $200,000-$299,999 range averaged 15.10 showings per listing in Glendale and 13.67 in Peoria. The next closest was the $300,000-399,999 range, with 12.34 showings per listing in Glendale and 10.81 showings per listing in Peoria. And not every showing is scheduled through ShowingTime, so the actual numbers are higher. 

 

Interest rates also saw very little change. According to Freddie Mac, As of November 12, 2020, National Mortgage Rates reported U.S. weekly averages of 2.84% for a 30-year fixed, 2.34% for a 15-year Fixed-Rate, and 3.11% for a 5-Year ARM. 

 

As you might expect, October's entry-level prices for a detached home with three bedrooms and two baths increased nearly across the board for every method of financing. In Glendale, Conventional Buyers spent a minimum of $225,777, FHA Buyers spent $230,000, and VA Buyers got a little bit of a break at $246,000. Peoria Buyers, with a Conventional loan, spent a minimum of $240,000, FHA Buyers saw a dip to $208,000, and VA Buyers spent $260,000. Across Maricopa County, Buyers paid a minimum of $155,000 with a Conventional mortgage, $195,000 with FHA, and $212,000 with a VA loan. Countywide, Buyers using financing made up for 83.7% of October sales, up from 66.5% of MLS sales in September. Of that percentage, 71.2% of Buyers used Conventional mortgages, 14% used FHA, 6.72% used VA loans, and the remaining sales used other methods of financing.

 

If you're struggling right now, please know that you are not alone. If you're a Homeowner, contact your Lender to see what programs they are offering. If you're a Tenant, rental assistance is available through the Arizona Department of Housing website at www.saveourhomeaz.gov. If you're a Landlord, you can apply for aid at https://arizonatogether.org/grants

Oct. 8, 2020

Good News Is Rare These Days...

Here's last month's market update, published in the September 24, 2020 issue of the Glendale Star and Peoria Times. 

 

"Good news is rare these days, and every glittering ounce of it should be cherished and hoarded and worshipped and fondled like a priceless diamond." While this Hunter S. Thompson quote may be from 2003, it certainly rings no less true in 2020. Good news may be rare these days, but there's a little something for everyone in real estate today. 

 

The good news for Sellers is that we are still a strong Seller's Market. The National Association of Realtors reported that prices in July "rose in every region" of the U.S" as "for the first time ever, national median home prices breached the $300,000 level." And in their bid to be competitive, many Buyers are increasingly willing to forego asking the Seller to contribute to their closing costs. And it's working. In Maricopa County, only 24.5% of Sellers contributed to Buyer's closing costs in August, down from 31.2% in July, and 37.9% in June. 

 

Showing traffic is still holding strong. According to ShowingTime, the platform REALTORS use to schedule most of the MLS showings, during August, listings in the $200,000-$299,999 range in averaged 17.9 showings per listing in Glendale, and 15.67 in Peoria. The next closest was the $300,000-399,999 range, with 13.75 showings per listing in Glendale, and 10.59 showings per listing in Peoria. And not every showing is scheduled through ShowingTime, so the actual numbers are higher.

 

Some good news for Buyers is that inventory is increasing. During August, 339 MLS listing sales closed in Glendale, and 395 in Peoria. Today there are 219 active and available listings (not counting properties already under contract or pending close of escrow) in MLS in Glendale and 281 active listings in Peoria. That's 64.6% of one month's inventory in Glendale (up from 42.85% in July) and 71.14% of one month's inventory in Peoria (up from 59.75% in July). Overall, Maricopa County is seeing an increase, with today's active listings at 89.17% of August's closed sales (up from 75% last month).

 

And in more good news for Buyers, interest rates are still low and are expected to remain that way. According to Freddie Mac, National Mortgage Rates for the week of August 27th averaged 2.91% for a 20-year fixed, 2.46% for a 15-year Fixed-Rate, and 2.91% for a 5-Year Hybrid ARM. And on August 27th, the Federal Reserve Chairman announced changes in the Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy. With these changes, it appears the Fed will be less inclined to hike interest rates when the unemployment rate falls, so long as inflation does not creep up as well. Even with rising prices, this should allow Buyers to continue to reach their goal of homeownership, which is good news for everyone. 

 

If you're struggling right now, there are people to contact who may have some good news for you. If you're a Homeowner, contact your Lender to see what programs they are offering. If you're a Tenant, rental assistance is available through the Arizona Department of Housing website at www.saveourhomeaz.gov. If you're a Landlord, you can apply for aid at https://arizonatogether.org/grants

Sept. 8, 2020

Where Are You?

Where are YOU in your real estate search?

Everybody starts somewhere. And sometimes, in the end, some decide the journey isn’t for them. And that’s ok. Sometimes there are starts and stops, setbacks, and delays. And sometimes, plans and needs change entirely during the process. Whether it’s your first or your second or your tenth, each search will be different. And while no two searches look precisely alike, there are stages common to every process.

Thinking About Buying A Home – You are starting to gather information and research home values and neighborhoods and look around for a Lender and a REALTOR. If this is your first home purchase, you’re probably talking to neighbors, friends, and co-workers who are homeowners about their experiences and asking for advice.

Starting The Process –  You are gathering documents to get pre-qualified by your Lender and evaluating your buying power. You're Looking online at homes in your budget and seeing how they stack up against your wants and needs list. And you're waiting for your pre-approval from your Lender.

Buying A Home – You have your pre-approval letter, you’re ready to tour homes with your REALTOR, and you have your Home Inspector on stand-by. It isn’t uncommon for your search criteria to change during this time. Sometimes you decide something on your wants and needs list is no longer a want or a need. Your REALTOR understands completely and wants to help you find the home that best suits your needs, even if those needs change!

So where are you? Wherever you are, I’ve been there. I’ve been there myself, and I’ve been there with Buyers - and with Sellers becoming Buyers again. Need guidance? You can email, text, or call. I'm just a click away.

Let’s talk about where you are, and what you need to get you home.

Sept. 3, 2020

Mortgage Rates Update!

Mortgage are remaining near all-time lows, averaging around 2.91%

ARMLS data reports 7758 listings closed in Maricopa County during August 2020. The median days on the market for those sales was 29 days!

If you're thinking about selling a home now is the time! If you're thinking about buying a home, make sure you get pre-approved and know there will be competition from other Buyers looking to take advantage of these rates!

According to Freddie Mac and REALTOR Magazine, interest rates are remaining near an all-time low.  Rates are even expected to remain there until the end of the year and into 2021.

Mortgage Rates Remain Near All-Time Lows

Aug. 20, 2020

It's a Seller's Market All Over The Valley

Doors

Here's my article on the current real estate market, as published in this week's editions of the Glendale Star and Peoria Times. 

 

 "When one door closes, another one opens." There seems to be quite a bit of that going on in today's real estate market. ShowingTime, the platform REALTORS use to schedule most of the MLS showings, reports that in July, listings in the $200,000-$299,999 range averaged 17.27 showings per listing. The next closest was 14.10 showings per listing, in the $300,000-399,999 range. And not every showing is scheduled through ShowingTime, so the actual numbers are higher. That's a lot of traffic.

 

You've heard the real estate market is hot right now. That it's a "Sellers Market." But what does that mean? It has to do with the inventory of available homes for sale, most often calculated using the number of active and sold listings in the Multiple Listing Service. Anything less than four month's worth of inventory is considered a Sellers Market. Anything over seven months is, you guessed it, a Buyer's Market. During July, 462 MLS listing sales closed in Glendale alone, and 472 in Peoria. Based on that number, four month's inventory, just barely a Seller's Market, would be 1848 active listings in Glendale, and 1888 in Peoria. As I write this, there are only 198 active and available listings (not counting properties already under contract or pending close of escrow) in MLS in Glendale, and 282 active listings in Peoria. That's 42.85% of one month's inventory in Glendale and 59.75% of one month's inventory in Peoria. Maricopa County is a little better, with today's active listings about 75% of July's closed sales. Compound that with interest rates of 3% and lower, and you have our local real estate market today.

 

It's happening in markets across the valley and the country. Homebuyers hoping to lock in low-interest rates and take advantage of the additional buying power, as a result, face heavy competition, not only from other homebuyers but also from cash-paying investors and flippers. Buyers know they will be up against multiple offers, and find themselves having to be creative with their sacrifices and incentives, in the hopes of having their contract accepted by a Seller inundated with offers. Even Builders are experiencing high traffic and demand, some resorting to a lottery system for available lots.

 

And it seems many would-be Sellers are instead choosing to take advantage of the low-interest rates by refinancing, further contributing to the lack of inventory. 

 

No one has a crystal ball, but we suspect a housing crisis of a different sort could be looming in the distance. Banks do not want another market crash and have already been offering forbearance programs to current homeowners. With forbearance and a renewed eviction moratorium, there is hope that people will be able to remain in their housing until unemployment returns to pre-COVID numbers. For those needing additional resources, rental assistance is available through the Arizona Department of Housing website at www.saveourhomeaz.gov, and Landlords can apply for aid at https://arizonatogether.org/grants

 

 

Did you know there's more to the quote? "When one door closes, another one opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us." It's a good reminder to keep moving forward, navigate the market we have today and keep opening those doors.

Feb. 17, 2020

Red Flags! Things To Look For When You're Buying A Home!

Red Flag

Sometimes you see about with a property that makes you wonder if maybe it isn't a deal-breaker, but it could be something that warrants some additional explanation or investigation. RED FLAGS! Here are a couple of examples of red flags to watch for.

Price Adjustments - Have there been big price adjustments or a lot of little ones? One or two changes, not a big deal, it happens. But if you're seeing a lot of them or significant numbers, you have to wonder, why is this listing not getting any traction?

Going off and on the market, multiple times - Buyers cancel, it happens, once maybe twice, but if you're seeing it multiple times, you have to wonder, why are Buyers putting in an offer to buy a property and then canceling? It may be a disclosure issue or a negotiation issue — something to ask about.

Statistics - How are the crime rates? The school statistics? Get on the internet look at statistics. Anything important to you. These are all good things to check out before you start getting invested in a property.

Neighborhood - Drive through the area at different days and times. And what about retail? Are businesses opening up, or are they closing down? What sort of an area are you looking for? An up-and-coming neighborhood or something already established? 

Disclosures - Are you being asked to waive disclosures? Even a fix and flip investor knows the work that they have done. And they have, at least, had the utilities turned on. If you are dealing with a bank-owned property or a probate sale, then no one will have first-hand knowledge of the property. But, if you're being asked to waive disclosures, ask why!

Less Than Professional Craftsmanship - It isn't unusual for a homeowner to make their repairs with less than professional craftsmanship unless they are a trade professional. But, if you are walking through a property that is a recent flip, or where a lot of replacements have been recently made, and you see less than professional craftsmanship, you may have to wonder what other repairs - that you can't see - may have been done, and done poorly.

Feb. 1, 2020

New Listing Coming Soon!

New Listing Coming Soon!

6416 W Christy Drive in Glendale, AZ 85304

6416 W Christy Drive in Glendale, AZ is coming to the market on February 14th!

Great three-bedroom, two-bath home with a pool in a convenient Glendale location with NO HOA! The home has 16'' tiles through the living room, kitchen, hall, and baths, and the kitchen cabinets and countertops were installed in 2013. The Great Room has vaulted ceilings, a wood-burning fireplace, and french doors that lead out to the side patio, back yard & pool. The master bedroom also has french doors out to the back yard, patio & pool. Newer pool pump & motor. Water heater new in 8/18. All appliances stay. The neighborhood park has a playground, tennis, racquetball, & basketball courts. Seller is having a home built & would like to lease home back until it is finished — an excellent opportunity for investor or owner that doesn't need to move right away. The home will be available for showings starting February 14th! More photos coming soon!

To receive updates on this listing, including status and price changes, sign up at https://www.lisarbaker.com/featured/