Market Update – October 2016


Listings Under Contract up 13.2% over Last October!

For Buyers:
Supply has not been growing as much in the first week of October as it has in past years, this is disappointing for some buyers who would appreciate more choice in the marketplace.  Weekly new listings are in line with last year so far, however listings under contract are up 13% over last year, which is causing overall supply growth to be sluggish.  The biggest increase in demand is within the $200,000-$300,000 price range, which had a 35% increase in listings under contract heading into October and only a 4.2% increase in supply. Sales in this price range represent nearly 32% of all sales thus far this year and listings under $200,000 represent 41% of all sales. Not surprisingly, the higher a buyer can go in price, the more choice and negotiating advantage they have.

For Sellers:
Sellers in some cities are experiencing more competition from new home subdivisions.  New construction permits are on the rise this year, which provides relief to buyers and headaches for the surrounding sellers.  Builders have been focusing a decent portion of their resources on the $200,000-$500,000 price range, the increase in competition is especially felt by sellers in North Phoenix, South Phoenix, East Mesa, Gilbert, and Peoria.  As a result, annual appreciation has been maintained at 3-4% for the $200,000-$350,000 range and 1-2% for the $350,000-$500,000 range.  Builders are not focusing on the under $200,000 market, which is contributing to appreciation rates as high as 9% as demand remains strong.  The luxury market is still seeing flat or slightly declining prices compared to last year.

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9 Ways to Avoid Gobbling Up Energy on Thanksgiving

By Courtney Craig, November 12, 2012

Wasting energy on Thanksgiving? Don’t be a turkey.

A few days before Thanksgiving

1. Install a dimmer switch for the dining room chandelier. Every time you dim a bulb’s brightness by 10%, you’ll double the bulb’s lifespan. Most CFLs don’t work with dimmers, but you can create mood lighting with incandescents and LEDs. The dimmer switch will cost you about $10.

2. Plan side dishes that can cook simultaneously with the turkey. If you cook dishes at the same temperature at the same time, you’ll reduce the amount of time the oven has to be running — it’s easier for the cook and saves energy, too.

When you start cooking

3. Lower your house thermostat a few degrees. The oven will keep the house warm. You also can turn on your ceiling fan so it sucks air up, distributing heat throughout the room.

4. Use ceramic or glass pans — you can turn down the oven’s temp by up to 25 degrees and get the same results. That’s because these materials retain heat so well, they’ll continue cooking food even after being removed from the oven.

5. Use your oven’s convection feature. When heated air is circulated around the food, it reduces the required temperature and cooking time. You’ll cut your energy use by about 20%.

6. Cook in the microwave whenever possible. Ditto slow cookers. Microwaves get the job done quickly, and although slow cookers take much longer, they still use less energy than the oven. Resist the urge to peek inside your slow cooker: Each time you remove the lid, it releases heat and can add about 25 minutes of cooking time to your dish.

7. Use lids on pots to retain heat. The food you’re cooking on the stovetop will heat up faster when you use lids.

When it’s cleanup time

8. Scrape plates instead of rinsing with hot water. Unless food is really caked on there, your dishwasher should get the dishes clean without a pre-rinse. Compost your non-meat food waste. Check out these other Thanksgiving clean-up tips.

9. Use your dishwasher. It saves energy and water, so only hand-wash things that aren’t dishwasher-safe. Wait until you’ve got a full load before starting the dishwasher. Be sure to stop the appliance before the heated dry cycle; just open the door and let your dishes air-dry.

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
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Pumpkin Pulp Will Scare Your Disposal to Death

By Dona DeZube, October 29, 2012

Put your pumpkin pulp into the trash to spare your disposal (and other plumbing pipes) a horrible death.

The pulp, seeds, and other guts you’re scraping out of pumpkins this week can kill your garbage disposal, so toss them in the trash or the compost pile instead.

In a press release, Roto-Rooter warns home owners about the dangers of pumpkin pulp, saying its plumbers “remove gobs of it from clogged drains” during the Halloween season.

“Plumbers know that frantic home owners will soon be complaining about pulp-clogged garbage disposals and stopped-up kitchen sink drains leading up to Halloween,” says Larry Rothman, Roto-Rooter’s plumbing director. “It’s stringy and sticky, and when it dries and hardens it’ll choke off drainpipes and garbage disposals, creating all sorts of havoc.”

Pumpkin guts haven’t been an issue for my household. But then again, we don’t have a garbage disposal. Year before last, we never got around to carving the pumpkin. It sat on the front porch, eventually shining in the glow of our Christmas lights. By January, it had rotted and fallen into the front flower bed, which led to a spring bumper crop of pumpkin vines. I did keep one of the vine sprouts and it produced a nice little pumpkin by fall.

Evidently, people flush pumpkin guts down the toilet, too, Rothman says, leading me to wonder if parents somewhere are trying to multi-task by combining bath time and pumpkin carving.

“The toilet is not a better option,” he says. “It just means the clog forms a little further down the pipe.”

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
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Why Fake Grass is Gaining Popularity

By Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Want a picture-perfect lawn? Maybe fake grass is the answer. It solves watering, weeding, and fertilizing woes. But is it perfect?

If you live in a low-water area, or if you’re just tired of constant lawn maintenance, you’re in good company.

More homeowners are saving time, water — and their backs — by switching from real grass to artificial turf.

Synthetic grass for landscaping and recreation is growing 10% to 15% a year in the U.S.

That means more and more homeowners are using fakes for:

  • Lawns
  • Dog runs
  • Play areas
  • Pool surrounds
  • Rooftops
  • Putting greens
  • Decorative borders between patio pavers

Faking It is Right for You If:

  • You’re tired of watering, weeding, fertilizing, and cutting real grass.
  • Your summer water bills are too high.
  • You don’t want to use chemical fertilizers and herbicides.
  • You believe artificial grass looks as good as real grass — maybe better.

What Exactly is Artificial Grass?

Fake grass consists of filaments threaded into a backing that lets water through. The backing is laid on a drainage layer, usually compacted gravel, and fastened along the perimeter. Then it’s filled with recycled crumb rubber or sand to keep it from blowing away in a stiff breeze.

Today’s synthetic grass is made of nylon, polyethylene, or polypropylene that’s colored to look like various species.

Synlawn, one of the largest manufacturers of synthetic grass, offers: SYNBermuda, SYNFescue, SYNZoysia — you get the idea. Some grasses even have a thatch layer that makes a yard look less Stepford-like and more realistic.

Let’s Talk Money

Artificial grass comes with a big upfront cost — $5 to $20 per square foot, installed. Once it’s down, it’s free for the next 15 to 25 years.

Professionally laid sod, on the other hand, costs only 14 to 60 cents per square foot. But that’s where expenditures (and upkeep) begin. You’ve got to water, mow, fertilize — all of which cost money and take time.

Let’s crunch some numbers on a hypothetical 500-square-foot yard.

First year costs:

Artificial Grass
Installation ($12.50/sq. ft. average) $6,250


Natural Sod
Installation (37 cents/sq. ft. average) $185

Annual costs:

Artificial Grass
Watering n/a
Fertilizing n/a
Gardener/Lawn Man n/a
Annual Total: $0


Natural Sod
Watering ($15/month for 6 months) $90
Fertilizing (20 cents/sq. ft.) $100
Gardener/Lawn Man ($25/week for 26 weeks) $650
Annual Total: $840

So, it would take about seven years for maintenance-free artificial grass to recoup its initial cost. If you’re planning on staying put for longer than that, you’ll begin to save money each year.

What are the Good Points of Artificial Grass?

  • It saves water.
  • It’s easy to maintain.
  • Synthetic grass can be environmentally friendly.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority says a home owner saves 55 gallons of water per year for every square foot of natural grass replaced with synthetic. Plus, some water companies in drought-prone areas will offer a cash rebate for artificial grass, up to $1 per square foot.

You’ve got to blow off leaves and other debris, and hose off pet waste. But there’s no mowing, seeding, edging, and fertilizing — lawn maintenance chores that take the average home owner about 150 hours per year, says Ted Steinberg, author of “American Green: The Obsessive Quest for the Perfect Lawn.”

The Synthetic Turf Council says synthetic lawns’ recycled crumb rubber infill keeps 20 million rubber tires out of landfills every year.

What are the Drawbacks?

  • It’s not completely maintenance-free.
  • It can’t absorb and break down pet urine.
  • It heats up in direct sun.
  • It can’t be recycled.
  • Some HOAs and municipalities ban fake grass.

Weeds can still grow in the dust or rotted leaves that can accumulate; so, you’ll have to spend time blowing or raking.

If you don’t hose off pet runs regularly, they’ll stink.

It radiates heat to surrounding people, pets, trees, and buildings. Shade trees, which prevent real grass from growing, will prevent fake grass from getting too hot.

Although the industry is working on ways to recycle old synthetic grass, currently fakes end up in landfills.

Alternatives to Fake Grass

  • Low-Maintenance Turf Grasses
  • Natural Lawn Replacement Ideas

Or, if you want to green up your lawn in a hurry, try lawn paint. [Just kidding]

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
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What Not to Do as a New Homeowner

By John Riha

If you’re new to homeownership, you’ll definitely want to avoid these boneheaded but easy-to-prevent mistakes that could cost you big time.

We know so well the thrill of owning your own house — but don’t let the excitement cause you to overlook the basics. We’ve gathered up a half dozen classic boo-boos new homeowners often commit — and give you some insight on why each is critically important to avoid.

1. Not Knowing Where the Main Water Shutoff Valve Is

Water from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your home’s interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight — including drywall, flooring, and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims.

Quick-twitch reaction is needed to stave off a major bummer. Before disaster hits, find your water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your house. Make sure everyone knows where it’s located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it’ll work when you need it to.

2. Not Calling 811 Before Digging a Hole

Ah, spring! You’re so ready to dig into your new yard and plant bushes and build that fence. But don’t — not until you’ve dialed 811, the national dig-safely hotline. The hotline will contact all your local utilities who will then come to your property — often within a day — to mark the location of underground pipes, cables, and wires.

This free service keeps you safe and helps avoid costly repairs. In many states, calling 811 is the law, so you’ll also avoid fines.

3. Not Checking the Slope of Foundation Soil

The ground around your foundation should slope away from your house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Why? To make sure that water from rain and melting snow doesn’t soak the soil around your foundation walls, building up pressure that can cause leaks and crack your foundation, leading to mega-expensive repairs.

This kind of water damage doesn’t happen overnight — it’s accumulative — so the sooner you get after it, the better (and smarter) you’ll be. While you’re at it, make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house.

4. Not Knowing the Depth of Attic Insulation

This goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located, so let’s start there. Find the ceiling hatch, typically a square area framed with molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up. Get a ladder and check out the depth of the insulation. If you can see the tops of joists, you definitely don’t have enough.

The recommended insulation for most attics is about R-38 or 10 to 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose. BTW, is your hatch insulated, too? Use 4-inch-thick foam board glued to the top.

5. Carelessly Drilling into Walls

Hanging shelves, closet systems, and artwork means drilling into your walls — but do you know what’s back there? Hidden inside your walls are plumbing pipes, ductwork, wires, and cables.

You can check for some stuff with a stud sensor — a $25 battery-operated tool that detects changes in density to sniff out studs, cables, and ducts.

But stud sensors aren’t foolproof. Protect yourself by drilling only 1¼ inches deep max — enough to clear drywall and plaster but not deep enough to reach most wires and pipes.

Household wiring runs horizontally from outlet to outlet about 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor, so that’s a no-drill zone. Stay clear of vertical locations above and below wall switches — wiring runs along studs to reach switches.

6. Cutting Down a Tree

The risk isn’t worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly, damaging your house, property, or your neighbor’s property. In some locales, you have to obtain a permit first. Cutting down a tree is an art that’s best left to a professional tree service.

Plus, trees help preserve property values and provide shade that cuts energy bills. So think twice before going all Paul Bunyan.

Visit for more articles like this. Reprinted from with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.
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