Tag Archives: Pinnacle Peak

luxuryrealestate

Luxury Real Estate Market Retrospective: 2001-2012

News archives must be bursting with stories examining real estate’s regional and national trends after one of the most dramatic events in U.S. real estate history. However, with the old adage in mind that all real estate is local, we wanted a clear retrospective of the market we serve without the sensationalism and consistently inconsistent “expert” predictions.

Real estate veterans and industry followers are no doubt aware of the outstanding work Mike Orr has done as founder of real estate research firm The Cromford Report, and his recent appointment to Director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at ASU’s School of Business. We’ve asked him to analyze specifically our luxury market since 2001.

Though it’s no secret that residential real estate is often a purchase driven by passion, our clients are increasingly concerned about home-as-investment strategy. With this in mind, we analyzed the most helpful statistics for luxury home investors in Phoenix’s Northeast Valley from 2001 through 2012. The analysis covers single family homes $1,000,000 or more in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Rio Verde, Arcadia, Biltmore, Cave Creek, and Carefree. It is our hope that a better understanding of where we’ve been will help us know where we are going.

Annual Sales

In 2001, there were 396 sales of single-family homes listed at $1,000,000 or more. At the time, Scottsdale (182) narrowly beat Paradise Valley (170) for units sold, but Paradise Valley had a slight edge in terms of dollars spent. Sales in these two areas made up 89 percent of the entire luxury market, with Phoenix trailing at 15 sales in the Biltmore area and 13 in Arcadia. Carefree (7), Cave Creek (4), Fountain Hills (4) and Rio Verde (1) were relatively small markets then, and while they have grown tremendously since 2001, 86 percent of sales are still in either Scottsdale or Paradise Valley.

Sales volume grew slowly in 2002 and 2003, before expanding dramatically in 2004 and 2005 when it peaked at 1,563, almost four times the sales volume a mere four years earlier. Scottsdale accounted for much of the luxury sales growth, thanks to its relatively undeveloped landscape with room for new projects in DC Ranch, Troon, Grayhawk, McDowell Mountain, Pinnacle Peak, the Shea Corridor and Desert Mountain.

Although sales began to decline after the frenzied peak of 2005, luxury home sales remained reasonably buoyant when compared to the market at large, until demand fizzled out in the second half of 2007. The broader real estate market collapse, as well as the stock market collapse in 2008, would destroy confidence in real estate for years to come. Foreclosures and short sales became part of the new vernacular, peaking in 2010 and representing 33 percent of transactions that year. Total annual sales have remained at a similar level for the past five years, but distressed sales have declined to 17 percent of transactions in 2012. Total sales in 2012 were at their highest level since 2007.

Sales Pricing

The Northeast Valley luxury market appears extremely volatile when measured on a shortterm basis, due to relatively low volume and a wide range of price points. Greater accuracy is obtained by measuring pricing over longer periods, and the best way to judge pricing is typically on a per square foot basis. The next chart shows the 12-month moving average sales price per square foot, meaning each month is the average of that specific month and the 11 months preceding it.

In 2001, the luxury market was already troubled by over-supply, and took another hit after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and resulting stock market weakness. However, by 2004 pricing improved and prices escalated quickly during 2005 and 2006.

Yet, while prices fell from mid 2006 onwards in less expensive markets, luxury market price per square foot continued climbing – despite a slowdown in sales – into the early part of 2008. However, the extreme economic recession and the failures of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers took their toll from May 2008 onwards; prices collapsed from the peak of $404 per square foot in December 2007 to reach $290 by May 2010, before drifting to their lowest point ($277) in February 2012. Although the decline from peak to trough was a significant 31%, this is far less than the 59% drop in average price per square foot experienced by the overall market in the Metro Phoenix area.

Pricing finally began to recover as distressed homes worked their way through the system and by the end of 2012, price per square foot had crawled back to $291 and continue to trend upward. “86 percent of sales are still in either Scottsdale or Paradise Valley” “prices collapsed from the peak of $404 per square foot in December 2007 to reach $290 by May 2010.

Supply

During 2004 and 2005, new listings grew at a slower rate than sales volume, but they continued growing in 2006 and 2007 as sales declined; projects began during what we now recognize as the peak took time to finish. This ominous imbalance led to the huge excess of inventory in 2008 when only 766 homes were sold across the entire Northeast Valley luxury market. The number of distressed listings peaked in 2009 at 21 percent of new listings before declining to 9 percent in 2012. The number of new listings in total was at its lowest in 2011; 2012 was the first year since 2007 to show an increase in inventory. By the end of 2012, supply was roughly in balance with demand.

Seasonality

The luxury market is most active during the spring, and most transactions close from March to June each year. Over the last 12 years, this period typically generates sales at a remarkable 39 percent higher rate than the rest of the year.

Summary and Outlook

Between 2001 and 2012 the luxury home market has experienced a period of great turbulence and volatility, though not quite the extremes suffered by the rest of the market. As 2012 came to a close, supply and demand are near balanced. Barring external economic shocks, the luxury market looks likely to be relatively calm and positive.

For a personal analysis of what these numbers mean for your home, please contact our office at 480-991-2050.

Aleshanee at Estancia - Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012

Aleshanee At Estancia: A Desert Playhouse For Minnesota Natives

Aleshanee at Estancia: Southwest home becomes desert playhouse for Minnesota natives

This desert home dances amid boulders and beneath the Southwest sky.

Tom and Michelle Tiller’s 7,500-square-foot two-level insets a hillside acre at Estancia, the premiere gated golf club community adjacent 3,148-foot Pinnacle Peak in north Scottsdale.

“We like to climb two boulders by our bedroom — our Sunset Rock — enjoy cocktails and watch the sunset and city lights,” she says. “It’s just gorgeous.”

Designed by Craig Wickersham, AIA, and built by R.J. Gurley Custom Homes, both of Scottsdale, the Italian Villa Vernacular-style custom — called “Aleshanee West” by the couple — includes three bedrooms, seven bathrooms and a one-bedroom casita.

The Vermont natives and high-school sweethearts also enjoy a four-car garage, theater and an outdoor kitchen, heated infinity pool and spa, all dramatically sited at the approach.

Tom Tiller’s cousin, and also a native Vermonter, Debbie Villeneuve, ASID, with Debra Villeneuve Interiors, of Houston, provided the contemporary interior design, with the collaboration of the Tillers, Wickersham and Gurley. Because of their distant locations, they teleconferenced for most of their planning meetings.

The Tiller family started visiting Arizona 10 years ago on vacation from cold Minnesota, where they have lived for 13 years.

They moved in about a year ago. “We have great friends here, and there is so much to do here,” says Michelle Tiller, who dedicates much of her empty-nester time for charities, such as raising money to build a home in the Valley for Honor House, which helps transition combat-wounded soldiers from the battlefield to new lives at home.
“I love my house in the sun.”

Dances in the sun

With Michelle Tiller’s guidance, Wickersham designed a terpsichorean Aleshanee, a woman from the folklore of the Coos Native Americans of Oregon.

“It means, ‘She plays all the time,’ meaning that our Southwest home would be my desert playhouse, an opportunity for me to have fun with the colors, furnishings and finishes appropriate to the desert lifestyle,” says Michelle Tiller, who returns to Minnesota for the summer.

Wickersham designed the symbol of the dancing woman in conjunction with a solar-shaped heart and a saguaro with five arms, representing the five Tiller family members, including their three sons, 19, 22, and 25. “We have one representation made out of iron over our front door, and we carried the symbol into the casita and throughout the house,” she says.

“Michelle brought her own personality and design tastes to the house, for sure” says Wickersham, a graduate of Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s schools in Arizona and Wisconsin. He has been designing superlative homes in the desert-sensitive Wrightian tradition for 35 years.

Wickersham had formulated the initial home design with his original client who was unable to continue, and the Tillers purchased it after the foundation was in and most of the framing completed. At this point, Gurley began working with Wickersham and the couple to finish the home.

“Italian Villa Vernacular is a good style for hillside living,” Wickersham says, noting that the home reveals elegant rusticity from the outside, incorporating quarried rock from Montana and earth tones that complement the colors of the indigenous granite.

To optimize the views, he oriented the home so that the primary living and entertaining spaces look south to Pinnacle Peak, the Estancia links and city lights.

“What I find awesome about the home is the feeling you get when you are in the main living space/kitchen,” says Gurley, whose dad, Bob, began building luxury homes in north Scottsdale in 1990.

“Craig did an amazing job. By tucking the motor court down and the garages under the living space, he was able to turn the presentation of the view around 180 degrees,” says Gurley, who graduated from ASU in 1994 and then joined the company. “When you are up in the kitchen, living room, bar or pool patio, you are left with an amazing view, yet still you feel private.”

Among a number of changes to the original plan, as requested by the Tillers to Wickersham: Gurley converted the space above the motor court into a partners’ office and a deep crimson-colored home theater, where Tom watches NASCAR on one screen, college basketball on another and golf on the third. Gurley also converted one garage bay into an exercise room and made other small changes.

Although the lower-level motor court required extensive but sensitive hillside excavation, Wickersham was adept at leaving massive boulders in place and building the home and views around them.

“When you come up to the front door, Craig has set the view of the huge boulder in front and, in the back, a killer view up the hill through the large window,” Gurley says. “After you experience that, you walk toward the kitchen, and the western view knocks you out!”

One multi-ton boulder in the back appears to be rolling down the granite-strewn slope through the earth-toned site wall and into the Tillers’ Zen Garden. Wickersham then selected indigenous rocks and the Montana stone used throughout the home to integrate this intentionally ironic collision with the meditation area, which includes a soothing fireplace, seating area and a serene “rusting” steel-tub water feature designed by Michelle and fabricated locally.

Villa in the Valley

“We had seen lots of Tuscan homes in the desert and wanted something different,” Michelle recalls of the first plan revisions with Wickersham and Villeneuve. “We wanted the house to feel like a villa in the Mediterranean. But we also wanted the outside to fit and feel like it belonged in Estancia, so we were careful to choose exterior stone and colors that blended with the environment.”

At the same time, the Tillers envisioned an indoor/outdoor living space — a contemporary home, filled with light — Villeneuve explains, noting the challenge of using the existing footprint while redesigning the space.

“Interior details were simplified, and new material selections were luxurious, sleek and simple,” she says. “Doors and windows were added, enlarged and repositioned to capture breathtaking views.”

A skylight, for example, was requested above the bar area, just off the foyer, and two new windows near the ceiling in the master bedroom — above the original line-of sight windows by the bed — provide additional dramatic vignettes of the boulders on the hillside.

“I had seen homes in Italy that were restricted on the exterior by law to remain ‘Old World,’” Wickersham explains. “The intention of this is to preserve the beauty and heritage of the historical vernacular.”

However, these homes had very contemporary interiors, with the color palette traditional but the design, both in line and geometry, upscale and modern. “What really excited me was Michelle’s desire to let me blend the two worlds here in Arizona,” he says.

As a result, the color scheme is not a typical earth-tone palette, Wickersham says. “Warm grays and pearlescent plaster walls attract a healthy amount of natural light inside, thus avoiding the darkness of the typical Italian hill town villa,” he says, noting that gray, one of Michelle’s favorite colors, was also used on the dark-stained white oak hallway flooring and on a number of doors for a contemporizing effect.

Materials, custom furnishings, multi-color abstract artworks and other details reinforce this Contemporary eclecticism. The kitchen cabinets and other millwork showcase rich acrylic finishes, stone floors are imported from Europe, and the front-entry breakfast room includes an Alcantara-finished banco for a table faced with polished agate imported from Israel.

Additionally, a custom-cut pool bath sink countertop, manufactured by Vitraform, is in cobalt blue, which makes Michelle think oceanically, the dining room table blends an oak top with an underlit crushed glass center and brushed-steel trim and the television in the master bedroom pops up from the foot of bed.

The Tillers also celebrate shared Vermont roots and their winter home in Minnesota. The partners’ desk is made of maple — the state tree is the sugar maple — and the shelves in their chic wine room were milled from oak trees from their Minnesota property. And, they have personalized their home with many family photos.

The result is a modern desert villa — a haven, Villeneuve says. “The Tillers desired a vacation home that seamlessly transitions the rocky desert exterior into a contemporary and fresh interior. The floor plan and furniture arrangements highlight the panoramic views, natural light and outdoor living areas. Friends and family are drawn into the home’s heart — offering comfortable gathering areas and providing solitude, peace and privacy.”


View photos of Aleshanee at Estancia:

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Scottsdale Living Magazine Spring 2012