Tag Archives: real estate


Arizona a ‘Seller’s Market’ for Banks, Invictus says

A “seller’s market” for banks is shaping up in Arizona according to a new report by industry advisor Invictus Consulting Group LLC.  Invictus says that 13 Arizona banks have too little capital and must or should sell, but that there is sufficient “Free Capital” among potential in-state buyers to make acquisitions.

“Free Capital is the chief measurement among regulators of a bank’s capability to pursue strategies to increase returns or grow, and it fortunately is sufficiently available in Arizona,” says Kamal Mustafa, Invictus founder and CEO, and a former head of M&A at Citibank.

Free Capital represents the difference between a bank’s current capital and its stress tested capital, as measured by the institution’s ability to survive a potential distressed economy over the next two years.  Regulators will not approve strategic initiatives without a bank demonstrating sufficient Free Capital, regardless of the likelihood of a recession.

Invictus performs quarterly capital adequacy tests on the nation’s 7,000-plus banks.  Regarding Arizona banks, it found:

13, with low capital, low net interest margins and poor profitability that must or should sell.  Invictus estimates the aggregate investment required to purchase these banks, after taking into account their post-stress position, at approximately $228 million.

13, with low returns but having $213 million in Free Capital.  They are firms that must or should buy, and might be expected to seek acquisitions to improve growth and profitability.

4, with satisfactory returns and capital, are “wildcards.”  They don’t have to sell or buy, but could consider acquisitions. They have Free Capital of approximately $62 million.

As a result, together — banks that should/must buy and those that don’t need to do anything — Arizona banks have Free Capital totaling $275 million, or roughly 120% of the  amount needed to acquire the must/should sell banks.

“Arizona has satisfactory in-state purchase capacity, as measured by Free Capital and relative to local banking industry needs, and is in much better shape than the national picture” says Mr. Mustafa. “As a rule, mergers among in-state banks generally offer the best opportunity for cost savings, and while Arizona banks could also turn to out-of-state buyers, they can be expected to make only modest bids.  Consequently, Arizona banks considering a sale should do so now while the market is agreeable.”

”Buyers and Bleeders”

The report, titled “Buyers and Bleeders,” is an offshoot of Invictus’s quarterly stress testing review of 7,000 plus banks within the US, and is focused on identifying institutions that have limited expansion options in the present regulatory and market conditions.  Today, banks across the country are facing increased regulatory capital requirements, declining net interest margins and increased competition, leaving many with little prospect for organic growth, part of the reason for expectations of a wave of M&A activity in the banking community.  The Invictus report separates them as:

· “Buyers,” or those banks with low returns and excess capital, for which acquisitions are the principal option to increase size and returns.

· “Bleeders,” or banks with limited capital and low returns. Barring unique capital-raising solutions, their relative performance and valuation will continue to deteriorate over time.

Invictus Approach in Line with Regulators

Invictus uses methodology similar to the stress testing requirements of the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR) and Capital Plan and Review (CapPR) processes, and Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III.  As those programs have demonstrated, a bank’s Free Capital as determined under severely adverse stress is the single greatest measure of its ability to reward shareholders, determine expansion strategy and achieve long-term viability.

The public version of the report can be accessed on www.invictusgrp.com.  The report details the potential numbers of buyers and sellers and asset levels by state and regions, but not by individual names, and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of present or expected mergers and acquisitions activities in the marketplace.

Invictus clients, which include banks, hedge funds and investment banks, can access the detailed data upon which the report was based.  Invictus can also perform custom analysis, screening and sorting of potential buyers and sellers on a geographic basis, and can calculate a potential acquisition’s impact to the buyer’s stressed tested earnings and capital levels.

real estate - expanding to california

Greenberg Traurig Real Estate Practice earns honor

The Real Estate Practice at the international law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP has been selected as a Real Estate Practice Group of the Year by Law360, a legal news service.  The group, with more than 200 real estate practitioners spanning 35 offices, was also bestowed with this honor in 2011.

“It is gratifying to receive this national recognition of our Real Estate Practice again this year,” said Rebecca Burnham, a shareholder in the Phoenix office of Greenberg Traurig. “We are proud of our collaborative efforts and that our highly-skilled client service continues to be recognized.”

The depth and breadth of the firm’s real estate practice platform is far reaching and enables the  representation of clients in a wide range of real estate law matters, including: acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, entity structuring, recapitalization, debt purchases, lender finance, capital market transactions, land use, commercial leasing, environmental, and cross-border transactions within virtually every property investment sector including office, mixed-use, retail, industrial, commercial and residential condominium developments, multi-family, affordable housing, and hospitality and debt.
“This honor reflects that the Phoenix office and our Real Estate Practice is a leader and on the radar from a national perspective,” said Jeff Verbin, a shareholder in the Phoenix office of Greenberg Traurig. “Our clients will continue to be served well with our vast real estate expertise.”

“This outstanding achievement reflects an enormous team effort,” stated Robert J. Ivanhoe, chair of the Global Real Estate Practice.  “In 2012 the team was instrumental in some of the largest commercial transactions across many regions, which is a testament to our hard work, collaborative environment and intense dedication to our clients.”

Corey E. Light, co-chair of the Global Real Estate Practice said, “We have built an exceptional team of first-rate attorneys and it is an honor to be recognized as a leader in the industry. All of our clients are served by exceptional attorneys that provide a full range of solutions to complex real estate legal issues that affect their businesses.”

The editors of Law360 reviewed the nearly 550 entries that were submitted by almost 100 law firms. The judges selected 109 practice groups from 54 firms to be designated as Practice Groups of the Year. Winners were selected based on the significance of the litigation wins or deals worked on; the size and complexity of the litigation wins or deals worked on; and the number of significant, large or complex deals the group worked on or lawsuits the group won between Nov. 1, 2011, and Nov. 1, 2012.


Valley Real Estate Brokers Compete in Raising Money for Kids

This winter, brokers from the local commercial real estate industry will unite and compete in raising money to help at risk children in Arizona. Brokers for Kids is a year-long fundraising effort, hosted by the Scottsdale 20/30, involving teams created by Valley commercial real estate market. The effort culminates with the Brokers for Kids annual event which will be held this year on Friday, February 15, 2013 at Tempe Beach Park at Tempe Town Lake.

Throughout the year, brokers along with other industry professionals raise money through various fundraising efforts for Boys Hope Girls Hope. Boys Hope Girls Hope is non-profit that provides scholarships to underprivileged kids in both community-based and residency-based programs, ensuring a good education and a start towards a college education.

“It’s truly an amazing charity that helps academically capable and motivated children in need to meet their full potential,” said Brokers for Kids Chariman Ben Hawkins. “We help these children succeed by providing value-centered family-like homes, better opportunities and education through college.”

Last year, Brokers for Kids raised more than $242,000 for Boys Hope Girls Hope. Their goal is to raise $300,000 in 2013. A percentage of the fundraising dollars is also donated to the charity of choice of the Broker’s Cup winner.

On February 15, the coveted Broker’s Cup is awarded to the top fundraising team. The teams will also participate in the Olympiad Championship, a fun day of games and spirited competitions at Tempe Town Lake. They will compete in a quarterback challenge, volleyball, basketball, baggo, and bocce games. Sponsorship opportunities are available for this day-long event.

The Scottsdale 20-30 partnered with Valley Toyota Dealers and is raffling a 2013 vehicle to drive fundraising efforts leading up to the event. Raffle tickets are now on sale and the drawing for the Toyota will occur during the Olympiad on February 15 which is open to the public.

“Every dollar counts and without the tremendous support of the commercial real estate community, this event would never have become what it is today,” said Hawkins.

For more information on Brokers for Kids, the Scottsdale 20/30 organization, sponsorship opportunities or to purchase raffles tickets, visit www.scottsdale2030.org/brokersforkids.html


Arizona Could Hit Full Economic Recovery in 3 Years

We’re finally on the path to full economic recovery, and Arizona may get there in about three years. That’s the main message from experts who spoke today at the 49th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon co-sponsored by Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business and JPMorgan Chase.

About 1,000 people attended the event at the Phoenix Convention Center, where economists painted a generally brighter picture for 2013.

“As of September, Arizona ranked fifth among states for job growth, and the Phoenix area was fourth among large metropolitan areas,” said Research Professor Lee McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Arizona is expected to add 60,000 jobs in 2013, led by professional and business services, retail, hospitality and health care. We should finally dip below 8-percent unemployment in 2013 — down to 7.6 percent.”

McPheters added, as long as the national economy doesn’t drag us down, Arizona may see 2.5-percent growth in its employment rate next year. The state had 2-percent growth this year. Despite the jump, Arizona has gained back less than a third of the jobs it lost during the recession. McPheters believes it will take another three years to return to pre-recession employment levels.

In 2013, McPheters expects improved 5-percent growth in personal income, up from just 4 percent this year. He projects retail sales will go up 6 percent, from 5 percent this year. He expects Arizona’s population to rise 1.5 percent, and he believes single-family housing permits will shoot up a whopping 50 percent, with the local housing market now on the mend.

Both McPheters and Beth Ann Bovino, deputy chief economist at Standard & Poor’s, hinged their forecasts on whether the national economy can really pull forward; otherwise, Arizona will go down, too. The biggest question out there is whether Congress can avoid the “fiscal cliff” – where automatic spending cuts would kick in, just as various tax cuts expire. Bovino says that could plunge the United States back into recession and push national unemployment back above 9 percent by the end of the year.

“If we can avoid the fiscal cliff, then it looks like the economy could finally be in a self-sustaining recovery,” said Bovino. “We expect this year’s gross domestic product (GDP) to hit 2.1 percent, stronger than previously projected. For 2013, we’re looking at about 2.3 percent. Reports also show a stronger jobs market and signs that households are willing to buy big items, such as cars and homes.”

Bovino adds the U.S. unemployment rate was at 7.9 percent in October, and she sees signs more people are joining the workforce and getting jobs. However, she says the labor participation rate is still near a 30-year low, meaning more people will still be coming back to the workforce to look for jobs, keeping the unemployment rate low for a quite a while. Despite this, Bovino expects the national unemployment rate to drop to 7.6 percent next year.

She also has a good outlook for the national housing market, with housing starts already up 45 percent this September over last September. Bovino referenced a report that 1.3 million homes rose above water – with the value going higher than what was owed – in the first half of this year alone. She expects residential construction to go up almost 19 percent in 2013.

In the financial sector, Anthony Chan, chief economist for private wealth management at JPMorgan Chase & Co., says corporations remain flush with cash. They’re waiting for some clarity on where the market will go as a result of the fiscal-cliff situation and other factors.

“U.S. corporations are reluctant to go through global mergers and acquisitions or make big investments until they have a clearer picture,” said Chan. “Corporations are keeping high cash balances, in order to deal with the uncertainty. They’re making near-record profits in some cases, and many values on the stock market look good. However, everyone’s waiting to see what will happen.”

He said high-yield investments, such as bonds, and gold remain relatively attractive. The U.S. dollar keeps falling against currencies from emerging markets, as monetary agencies work through different strategies of dealing with the rough economy.

In the local housing market, Elliott D. Pollack, chief executive officer of Scottsdale-based economic and real estate consulting firm Elliott D. Pollack and Company, also drew some conclusions.

“Even though about 40 percent of Arizona homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, we’re starting to see a recovery,” said Pollack. “The single-family-home and apartment markets look great. Industrial real estate has improved quite a bit. Only office and retail have quite a way to go.”

Pollack adds new residential foreclosure notices are down almost 70 percent from the peak in 2008. Phoenix-area home prices are up more than 35 percent over last year. New-home sales are also doing well, with 67 percent of the local subdivisions active today projected to be sold out in less than a year. Builders are going to have to work to meet the demand, with less land and labor available.

Pollack sees a strong rental presence, with about 22 percent of local single-family homes being used as rentals right now. That’s up from less than 12 percent just a decade ago. Landlords appear to be buying up many single-family homes, and more people are moving to the area.

“In the absence of a fiscal cliff, things should continue to improve over the next several years,” said Pollack. “By 2015, things should be normalized. As I like to say, we’re only one decent population-flow year away from the issue being resolved.”

More details and analysis from the event, including the presentation slides, are available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com.


Survey: More People Likely To Enter Housing Market

Americans are feeling less discouraged about the housing market, according to a new national survey by FindLaw.com, the most popular legal information website.

The percentage of Americans who say they are sitting on the sidelines rather than considering buying a house has dropped by more than half. In 2010, 63 percent of Americans said they were less likely to buy a house because of the state of the economy. Today, that number has fallen to 30 percent in the latest FindLaw.com survey.

Meanwhile, because of low housing prices and mortgage rates, the percentage of people who say that the current economic situation now makes more likely to buy a house has risen from 8 percent to 11 percent.

Forty-nine percent of people in the latest survey said the economy is making them neither more likely nor less likely to buy a house.

“Two years ago, the economic situation was driving a lot of potential homebuyers to the sidelines,” said Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney and editor with FindLaw.com. “But today we’re finding that the state of the economy is becoming less of a factor in keeping people out of the housing market. Many factors influence housing decisions, including income, housing prices, proximity to work, job relocations, mortgage rates, ability to sell an existing home, schools, and so on.  But it’s clear that people’s outlook on the economy is now becoming less of a drag on the housing market.

“In addition,” said Rahlfs, “among middle and upper income levels, we’re seeing a significant rise in people saying the current economy is making them more likely to enter the housing market.  This may be due to some combination of historically low mortgage rates, housing prices that – although rebounding – are still relatively low, and people perhaps feeling more optimistic about the economy in general.”

Free Internet resources such as the FindLaw Real Estate center can provide helpful information on buying, selling and owning a home, including obtaining a loan, borrowers’ rights, finding the best mortgage, homeowners’ rights, avoiding foreclosure and more. It also has useful information for renters, including negotiating a lease, tenants’ rights, and fair housing and discrimination laws.

The FindLaw.com survey was conducted using a demographically balanced survey of 1,000 American adults and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percent.


Home prices jump 22.1 percent in Phoenix

A measure of U.S. home prices jumped 5 percent in September compared with a year ago, the largest year-over-year increase since July 2006. The gain reported by CoreLogic offered more evidence of a sustainable housing recovery.

The real estate data provider also said Tuesday that prices declined 0.3 percent in September from August, the first drop after six straight increases. The monthly figures are not seasonally adjusted. CoreLogic says the monthly decline reflects the end of the summer home-buying season and not a softening in the housing recovery.

Some of the biggest increases were in states that suffered the worst from the housing bust. Home prices in Arizona jumped 18.7 percent in the past year, the most of any state. Home prices in Idaho rose 13.1 percent, the second largest. Nevada’s home values rose 11 percent.

Home prices jumped 22.1 percent in Phoenix, the metro area with the biggest gain. Prices in Houston rose 6.6 percent, the second-highest increase.

The states with the biggest drops were Rhode Island (3.5 percent) and Illinois (2.3 percent).

Steady price increases should give the housing market more momentum when home sales pick up in the spring. Rising prices encourage more homeowners to sell their homes and entice would-be buyers to purchase homes before prices rise further.

Other measures have also shown healthy gains in home prices over the past year. The Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller 20-city index rose 2 percent in August compared with a year ago, a faster pace than the previous month.

The price gains in the past year reported by CoreLogic were widespread. Prices have risen in all but seven states. And they declined in only 18 out of 100 large cities that are tracked by the index.

CoreLogic’s price index is based on repeat sales of the same homes and tracks their price changes over time.

Several reports last month showed that the housing market is improving, though from depressed levels.

Home builders started construction on new homes and apartments at the fastest pace in more than four years in September. They also requested the most building permits in four years, a sign that many are confident that home sales gains will continue.

New home sales jumped last month to the highest annual pace in the past two and a half years. Sales of previously occupied homes dipped in September but have risen steadily in the past year.

Sales of both new and previously occupied homes are still below levels that are consistent with a healthy housing market. That’s partly because the supply of available homes for sale remains low. And many prospective home buyers are struggling to qualify for a mortgage or scrape together the bigger down payments that many banks are requiring.


Phoenix-area Home Prices, Supply Slowly Inching Up

Both Phoenix-area home prices and the number of homes available for sale are slowly inching up. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University reveals the numbers for Maricopa and Pinal Counties, as of August:

> The median single-family home price went up from $149,000 in July to $150,000 in August — about 1 percent.
> The median price is up by more than one-third (about 34 percent) from last August.
Supply of available homes for sale finally went slightly up in most areas of the Valley, but overall, low supply continues to limit market activity.

“Overall prices reached a low point in September 2011 and have risen sharply since then,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We’re experiencing a normal summer slowdown, and I expect prices to continue their advance as we move into cooler months.”

The median single-family home price in the Phoenix area went up about 0.7 percent, from $149,000 in July to $150,000 in August. The current median is 33.7 percent higher than last August, when it was $112,205. Realtors will also note the average price per square foot is up 24.6 percent from last August.

Sales activity has been relatively slow, due to the traditional summer lull in the market and the limited number of homes for sale in the area. Still, there was a small bump up in available supply.

“Supply increased 3 percent from July to August, but the inventory of homes for sale remains well below the average for the last 10 years,” says Orr. “The number of active single-family homes without an existing contract was just over 10,000 for the greater Phoenix area as of Sept. 1, and 77 percent of those homes were priced above $150,000. That inventory should last only about 27 days. At least it’s up from the low of just 15 days of inventory in May.”

Average buyers have to compete for relatively few homes priced under $250,000. They face multiple bids, including those from investors who can offer all cash and no appraisal required. The situation is moderately improving, though. Orr says, as prices go up, more people are becoming willing to sell their homes. He believes supply recently moved higher in about 80 percent of the Valley, especially the outlying areas.

“August home sales were up 3.6 percent from July,” says Orr. “However, activity was still down 9.2 percent from August of last year. The reduction is primarily due to a huge decline in distressed sales: short sales and sales of homes that recently went through a foreclosure. Also, the number of bank-owned homes sold in August was down a huge 78 percent from last August.”

Foreclosure starts – homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – went down 2.5 percent from July to August. Foreclosure starts are down almost 38 percent from last August. Still, Orr says this number is about 2.3 times normal for a typical month in the Valley. The number of completed foreclosures in August was down 22 percent from last August.

Investors continue to play a key role in the Phoenix area housing market. Almost 36 percent of the homes sold in Maricopa County in August went to investors. That’s up from 28 percent last August. More than half of the homes sold this August for $150,000 or less went to all-cash buyers.

“Some large investment companies have been buying homes in bulk from other investment companies,” explains Orr. “They are clearly frustrated by the difficulty of acquiring large numbers of homes through normal channels. Most of the properties are being used as rentals for tenants who have lost their former homes to foreclosure or through a short sale. In greater Phoenix, we have never seen so many single-family homes used as rental accommodation, and it will be interesting to see how elastic the demand is over the coming year.”

Many average buyers are turning to new-home sales, given the difficulty of getting a bargain resale. New-home sales went up 55 percent from August to August, and some developers are starting to cap sales to conserve lots. The number of active subdivisions is down 18 percent since the beginning of the year, and about 63 percent of those currently active are expected to sell out within 12 months.

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/FullReport201209.pdf. More analysis is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com/index.cfm?cid=13.


Home prices rise in July in 20 major U.S. cities

Home prices kept rising in July across the United States, buoyed by greater sales and fewer foreclosures.

National home prices increased 1.2 percent in July, compared to the same month last year, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case Shiller index released Tuesday. That’s the second straight year-over-year gain after two years without one.

The report also says prices rose in July from June in all 20 cities tracked by the index. That’s the third straight month in which prices rose in every city.

Steady price increases and record-low mortgage rates are helping drive a housing recovery.

In the 12 months ending in July, prices have risen in 16 of 20 cities. In Phoenix, one of the cities hardest hit by the housing bust, prices are up 16.6 percent in that stretch. Prices in Minneapolis and Detroit have risen more than 6 percent.

“We are more optimistic about housing,” David Blitzer, chairman of the S&P’s index committee. “Stronger housing numbers are a positive factor for other measures, including consumer confidence.”

Prices fell from a year earlier in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Las Vegas.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index covers roughly half of U.S. homes. It measures prices compared with those in January 2000 and creates a three-month moving average. The July figures are the latest available.

Home prices are still 30 percent below their peak in June 2006, according to Case-Shiller. That was the height of the housing boom.

Other measures of home prices are also showing steady gains. CoreLogic, a private real estate data provider, said earlier this month that prices rose in July from a year earlier by the most in six years. And a federal government housing agency has also reported annual increases.

Rising home prices are one of many signs that the housing market is slowly recovering.

Sales of previously occupied homes jumped in August to the highest level since May 2010. Builder confidence is at a six-year high and construction of single-family homes rose last month to the fastest annual rate in more than two years. Even with the gains, home sales and construction remain well below healthy levels.

The broader economy is likely to benefit from rising home prices. When home prices rise, people typically feel wealthier and spend more. And more Americans are likely to put their houses up for sale, which could further energize the market.

Home sales have been bolstered by the lowest mortgage rates on record. The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage touched a record low of 3.49 percent last week and has been below 4 percent all year. A limited supply of homes has also helped drive prices higher.

Prices are also rising because of a decline in foreclosures and sales of other deeply discounted homes. Many homes in the foreclosure process will likely come on the market in the coming months, which could drag on prices.

Still, many Americans, particularly first-time homebuyers, are unable to qualify for a mortgage or can’t afford larger down payments required by banks. That’s holding back sales.

Home sales could get a further boost from the Federal Reserve. The Fed said two weeks ago that it would purchase $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities each month until the economy and hiring improve substantially. That’s likely to keep mortgage rates at record-low rates for some time.

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Named Manager Of Real Estate And Business Development

Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport has named Michael Merk as its new Manager of Real Estate and Business Development — responsible for airport property management, terminal advertising and concessions, leasing, and real estate development.

“The expansion of our Business Development team further strengthens our ability to promote available assets and expand the economic impact of the Airport,” said Lynn Kusy, executive director of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

Merk has 28 years of real estate and business development experience and was most recently the Director of Real Estate for BAX Global Inc. where he managed real estate operations for a four million square-foot international real estate portfolio consisting of 120 buildings in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. His most recent accomplishments include the completion of supply chain facilities at DFW Airport, JFK, and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Merk and his wife live in Scottsdale and have seven children.


Phoenix-area home prices begin to stabilize

The huge price increases we’ve seen in the Phoenix-area housing market over the past several months are now slowing down. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University breaks down the numbers for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of June.

* The median single-family home price only went up 2 percent from May 2012 to June 2012, but it’s still up more than 29 percent from last June.
* The amount of single-family-home sales activity went down about 16 percent from last June, largely due to the limited supply of homes for sale.
* The foreclosure rate is dropping, with no “shadow inventory” in sight.

The median single-family-home price in the Phoenix area reached $150,000 in June. That’s a small increase from $147,000 in May and a huge increase from last June, when it was at $116,000. It’s an annual increase of 29.3 percent, and realtors will note the price-per-square-foot went up 21.3 percent.

The Phoenix-area housing market continues to be fueled by a lack of inventory under $150,000. Competition for homes at that lower end of the market is intense.

“This market remains extremely unbalanced, with far more buyers than sellers,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “The number of single-family homes in the Greater Phoenix area without an existing contract was down to just over 9,000 as of July 1, and most of it – 78 percent – is above the $150,000 mark.”

If you don’t count homes already under contract, supply went down 33 percent from Aug. 1 of last year to Aug. 1 of this year. In particular, the inexpensive “distressed supply” of homes is down a whopping 68 percent. However, Orr says things have eased slightly. There was only a 15-day inventory of single-family homes for sale under $150,000 in May, and that went up to 18 days in June.

“On the seller side, most homes priced below $250,000 are attracting a large number of offers and often exceed the asking price,” says Orr. “However, the situation for the average home buyer remains dire, despite low interest rates and historically cheap prices. That’s because of the low inventory, and any offer from an ordinary home buyer is typically going to be less attractive than the multiple all-cash offers from investors with few strings attached and no appraisal required. Many ordinary buyers are coming away empty-handed after submitting 10 or more offers.”

Orr adds that, in frustration, many home buyers are turning to new-home sales and construction. This has fueled a 39-percent increase in new-home sales from June 2011 to June 2012. Permits for single-family-home construction were up 49 percent over last June.

“We’re also seeing an unusual number of large companies buying up single-family homes to turn into rental properties, and they may wind up having to lower their standards for tenants’ credit ratings, in order to keep the homes occupied,” explains Orr. “In fact, investors are maintaining such a high presence overall in Maricopa County that the number of properties purchased without financing jumped to 38.4 percent this June. For historical comparison, in June 2007, that number was just 8.3 percent.”

Sales activity leveled off for the summer, just as Orr predicted in his previous report. Sales of single-family homes in the Phoenix area were down 15.7 percent this June from last June, primarily because of the short supply – in particular, fewer foreclosed homes coming onto the market.

Completed foreclosures on single-family homes and condos fell 14 percent between May and June of this year. Also, foreclosure starts (homeowners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days) went down about 15 percent between May and June. Orr thinks this downward trend will continue.

“Since the signing in February of the legal settlement between the states and five of the nation’s largest lenders, we saw a slight uptick in the rate of foreclosure notices, but this has now subsided and is far below the peak levels of March 2009,” says Orr. “There is still no sign of any significant new supply of homes coming onto the market, and those who anticipate a flood of bank-owned ‘shadow inventory’ are likely to be very disappointed.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed at http://wpcarey.asu.edu/finance/real-estate/upload/FullReport201207.pdf. More analysis is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at http://knowwpcarey.com.

real estate - Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Real Estate Trading Trend Is Paying Off

Home builders, sellers and buyers say, ‘I’ll trade you’

An emerging real estate trend is paying off for some Valley companies.

For The Landmark in Scottsdale, real estate trading has accounted for almost 20 percent of its sales the past 12 months. The average list price for the trade homes: $1,100,000.

“We had a buyer prospect who told our sales team, ‘I want this condo and I would buy it in a heartbeat, but I need to sell my home first,’” says Kirsten Brown, vice president of Butte Companies. “We didn’t want to lose that excitement and timing is everything when a buyer is in the heat of the moment. (Butte Companies’ owner, Ed Lewis) asked the location of their home and how much is it was listed for. The dialogue opened and grew from there. That’s where the general concept of trading came from for us.”

The trading concept is especially beneficial for buyers with a singlefamily home, vacation home, or lots they need or want to sell before they make another purchase.

The concept is simple: Buy my house and I’ll buy your house. The exchange takes place on the same date via a simultaneous closing. The sales are contingent upon each other. Since contracts require a closing on the same date for both properties, the bank will not use the monthly payment from the client’s current mortgage as a liability, nor will it use the old mortgage balance in total loan to value ratios. Having fewer liabilities helps the client qualify for the new loan and negotiate better mortgage terms.

Fulton Homes touts its trade-in program with this slogan on its website: “Why stay in an old home when you can trade up to an energy efficient Fulton Home?” It took the trade movement a step further with a Super Bowl ad.

“Fulton Homes saw great response in the heightened level of interest (in the trade-in program),” says Doug Fulton, CEO of Fulton Homes. “It was definitely a touchdown.”

With the local housing market struggling for the past few years, homebuilders have struggled to find innovative ways to find buyers. While trading has been labeled as simply a marketing gimmick by some critics, Brown says it fills a need in the current economic atmosphere.

“Many buyers don’t want to put their home on the market and face the reality of today’s prices or others simply don’t want the hassle of open houses every weekend in their home disrupting their life,” Brown says. “This resolves those concerns and many more. When we make an offer for a trade deal, we don’t focus on the price of our home or the value of their home, we simply discuss the difference in the price between the two. Once that is agreed upon, the rest falls into place.”

If trading is a trend, it doesn’t appear to be one that is going away any time soon.

“The concept is gaining momentum as is exemplified by the ARMLS recent board decision to add a tab in all online MLS listings that allows an agent to list and/or search for ‘trade’ properties in order to pair up your clients willing to trade with those homeowners looking to trade,” Brown says. “This was just implemented in the last nine months by ARMLS, so that to me says they agree it’s not a fad, but a helpful tool agents can use to help their clients sell or buy regardless of the market.”

mesa chamber addition

Buntrock Appointed To Board Of Mesa Chamber

Rowley Chapman Barney & Buntrock, Ltd. is pleased to announce that Shane Buntrock, shareholder, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the Mesa Chamber of Commerce. As a board member Buntrock will become a leader in the group’s efforts to serve the community by promoting the growth of the Mesa business community and providing his business and law firm experience to its members.

Buntrock’ manages the firm’s Commercial Litigation, Business Law and Bankruptcy departments. His primary areas of practice include Business Law, Commercial Litigation and Real Estate.

Buntrock is general counsel and a member of the Board of Directors of the Arizona Burn Foundation. He also serves as a director of the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence, the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation.

For more information on Rowley Chapman Barney & Buntrock and the Mesa Chamber of Commerce, visit azlegal.com and mesachamberofcommerce.org

homebuyers - Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012

Homebuyers Bounce Back

The rules have changed a bit, but it’s still a perfect time to purchase a home.

If you have good credit and a good job history and can put money down for a house, it’s a great time to buy, say experts in real estate and finance. In fact, the sooner the better, because it may soon turn into a seller’s market for housing.

And mortgage rates could be climbing as well. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac recently announced that the average rate on 30-year loans had jumped to the 4 percent level for the first time in three months.

According to attorney Kevin Nelson of Tiffany & Bosco, whose practice focuses on mortgage and real estate, homebuyers can get very attractive packages if they have the solid down payments and credit. “Homeowners can also refinance if they have substantial value in their homes. But lenders are still very cautious about permitting homeowners to have lines of credit,” Nelson says. “And they probably still will be until the financial problems in Europe and unrest in the Middle East calm down.”

Both larger banks and mortgage companies say business is very good. “In the past 10 years, we have never done as many loans per month as we are doing right now,” says Tim Disbrow, regional sales manager for Wells Fargo Bank. “We are the No. 1 lender by a longshot for all mortgages across the state, including Fannie and Freddie and FHA.”

Although some in the lending industry say big banks are moving very slowly in making home loans and can’t keep up with the volume, Disbrow disputed that. “Consumers who go to banks for mortgages are just being asked to document their savings, job history and salaries, something that they weren’t asked to do in the boom years,” he says.

The same rules apply with all lenders now, he says, whether they are banks or mortgage companies. Customers everywhere have to meet the same requirements based on Fannie and Freddie guidelines.

For conventional conforming mortgages of $417,000 or less that are insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, down payments must be 5 percent or more. Down payments for FHA loans are 3.5 percent. Jumbo loans also seem to be widely available, but lenders generally do not sell them to Fannie Mae and Freddie.

“The big difference between us and mortgage companies is that customers may have to pay other loan originators more in fees,” Disbrow says.

Foreigners are helping fuel the rising demand for homes in the Phoenix area, but plenty of Americans are buying as well. Canada, New Zealand and Australia are well represented. Many foreign buyers pay cash, but some mortgage companies offer loan programs for them. Buyers are often investors attracted to the housing market by low home prices and the potential for high rents.

Eric Bowlby, president of AmeriFirst Financial in Mesa, estimated that about 40 percent of the homebuyers in Maricopa County are cash buyers, while 60 percent get mortgages.

Surprisingly, even those who lost their homes in a foreclosure or short sale can finance homes with mortgages, but they must put down fairly substantial down payments. They can even get an FHA-insured loan from three to five years after losing their previous home.

But to get a Fannie Mae-backed mortgage or one from Freddie Mac, someone who had a foreclosure has to wait from five to seven years. However, if a buyer can verify that some hardship led him or her to walk away from their property – like the loss of a job or an illness – they may get relief from the time requirements.

According to Bowlby, even if someone was upside down in their mortgage and walked away, AmeriFirst has a hard money hedge fund that will finance mortgages almost immediately for those who have the income to qualify and make a 25 percent down payment.

“Even those who are one day out of foreclosure or bankruptcy may be able to qualify,” he says, “but the interest rate is 12 percent.

The rate may be high, he says, but it’s still cheaper to buy than to rent because of the homeowner’s tax deduction and the current increases in rental rates.


Recently, Wells Fargo announced that it is bringing a new pilot program to Phoenix in an effort to help stabilize housing markets.

The Neighborhood LIFT program, already available in Atlanta and Los Angeles, is designed to help communities attract qualified prospective homebuyers to neighborhoods that are struggling with high inventories of unsold homes.

In Phoenix, the bank has a five-year goal of making $3 billion in such loans. Prospective homebuyers can qualify for down payment assistance grants of up to $15,000, covering home and renovation financing and will also participate in home buyer seminars and tours of properties for sale. There are limits on the amount of income families can have and limits on the size of loans.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012



Real Estate Guru Tanya Marchiol Draws On Athletic Background

When athletes suffer catastrophic injuries, it’s usually a game changer. Real estate guru Tanya Marchiol — a collegiate volleyball star who played professionally in Italy — was no exception.

“I was working as a golf cart girl, trying to figure out what to do with my life,” Tanya Marchiol recalls. “One day, the cart flipped and crushed my ankle. I ended up in the hospital for six months, and doctors had to completely reconstruct my leg.”

To help her daughter pass the time and give her some direction while she was on bed rest, Marchiol’s mother gave her some real estate books to read, and a passion was born.
“I brought everything I learned playing volleyball — work ethic, teamwork, problem-solving skills — to real estate,” Marchiol says.

It paid off. After an agonizing six months of surgeries, Marchiol took her real estate exam and started buying and selling properties. Her neighbor at the time, Justin Lucas of the Arizona Cardinals, heard about what she was doing and asked for her help. That year, he bought 13 houses and Marchiol’s company — Phoenix-based TEAM Investments — was born. Marchiol developed a system for educating and empowering athletes — including quarterback Donovan McNabb, former ASU and Miami Heat star Eddie House, and baseball star Bengie Molina — to intelligently handle their financial and business matters.

“No one was really teaching athletes how to use real estate in their portfolios to create income,” Marchiol says. “Most athletes — particularly football players who have an average professional career of three years — will have to do something when they are done playing. I can help them invest in a way that they know they’re going to have an extra $10,000 a month coming in if they get hurt or their career comes to an end.”

Tanya Marchiol AZ Business May/June 2012

It’s not just athletes who have benefited from Marchiol’s advice and guidance. Marchiol teaches entrepreneurs, investors and individuals how to not only maintain their current financial status but also create generational wealth. Her expertise has led to appearances on the NFL Network, Fox News, CNN, FOX Business News, and most recently as a recurring personality on HGTV.

“As a woman who grew up in a family of powerful men, I know what it takes to walk into a room, command respect and get the deal done,” Marchiol says. “Women need to understand the power that they have. They need to believe in themselves and create an air of confidence. When they do that, being a woman becomes an asset in any industry you want to tackle.”

For more information on Tanya Marchiol and Team Investments, visit Team Investments’ website at teaminvestmentsinc.com.


Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

Michael Pollack - Real Estate Investments

Michael Pollack, Real Estate Investments

Michael Pollack discusses his experience in the real estate industry in Arizona.

Michael Pollack

Title: President and Founder
Company: Real Estate Investments

What was it about the real estate industry that attracted you?

My grandfather and father were in the real estate industry. Growing up, all I really knew was real estate. When I was in the fourth grade, I gave a presentation on how to read working blueprints. So I’ve been doing this a long time.

Video by Cory Bergquist

What qualities helped you become successful in your industry?

I believe that you have to be honest, you have to have integrity, and you have to work really hard. This is not a business that is easy. You have to be able to roll up your sleeves and work really hard.

What qualities do you think a successful CEO needs to possess?

I work sometimes seven days a week and four or five nights a week. But it’s not working to just work, it’s working smart. It’s important that you lead by example.

Are there any obstacles to working in Arizona that you might not face in other states?

We’re still not compared equally with metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago or San Francisco. They are seen much more as financial hubs. Our state leaders really need to focus on what’s important today: employment and diversification. We built this state on construction. We built the economy by building homes to house the construction workers. Now, we need to diversify so that we build a more sustainable economy.

How has your industry changed since you started?

When I started, you could do a residential contract on one page. So it’s changed a lot in that it takes a lot more paper to do essentially the same thing.

How do you think your industry is going to change in the next 10 years?

One of the things that is going to be very important going forward is the lessons learned — hopefully — in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. That lesson is that you cannot have the attitude of “build it, and they will come.” We have to build for a reason. Hopefully, that lesson will be in the forefront as we emerge from what has been some very dark days. The other big change is that we are going to see retailers getting smaller again. They grew into these supermega-sized boxes that were so big you needed a golf cart to go through them. That’s going to shrink. We’ve learned that the biggest is not necessarily the best anymore.

What has been your most significant challenge as CEO of your company?

The biggest challenge of my career was not getting carried away with the hype and exuberance of the marketplace in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 to the point where I could have easily over-leveraged and put myself in a position where I would be unable to make a recovery during the economic downturn. I watched so many friends and colleagues feasting on debt and getting to do all these projects while I watched from sidelines, telling myself, “This does not making economic sense.” Having the discipline to do that was the biggest challenge of my career.

What achievement are you most proud of?

I think we’ve truly been able to make a difference in the communities that we have worked in. Some of our redevelopment projects have changed neighborhoods and changed areas of our cities. My goal is to continue to make the communities we work in a better place one day and one project at a time.

Vital Stats: Michael Pollack

  • Has been involved in more than 11 million square feet of projects.
  • Is the drummer for Corporate Affair, a band that plays charitable events.
  • The Pollack family business began in 1937 in San Jose, Calif., when Sidney Gambord,
    Michael Pollack’s grandfather, decided to enter the real estate development business.
  • Entered the real estate business in 1973 while he was still in his teens, building
    single-family homes.
  • Began doing business in Arizona in 1991 with the purchase of a 23,623-square-foot
    shopping center that was 90 percent vacant. Within months, the occupancy rate climbed to
    more than 90 percent.

Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2012


Arizona’s Top Lawyers 2012 – Mergers & Acquisitions – Real Estate

Arizona Business Magazine used its own research, solicited input from legal experts, and referenced professional ratings and rankings to determine the legal professionals who made the 2012 Top Lawyers list.

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Banking Healthcare
Business/Corporate Law Intellectual Property
Construction Litigation Mergers and Acquisitions
Real Estate
Environmental Law Securities and Corporate Finance
Estate and Trust Litigation Tax



Charles R. Berry ◆ Polsinelli Shughart PC
602-650-2030 ◆ polsinelli.com
Berry has extensive experience in securities regulation, public offerings, business mergers, acquisitions and sales.

Brian H. Blaney ◆ Greenberg Traurig, LLP
602-445-8322 ◆ gtlaw.com
Blaney concentrates his practice on corporate and securities law, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity investments.

Joseph M. Crabb ◆ Squire, Sanders & Dempsey
602-528-4084 ◆ squiresanders.com
Crabb focuses his practice on corporate finance and securities matters including merger and acquisition transactions, public and private securities offerings, and counseling corporate officers and directors.

Matthew P. Feeney ◆ Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.
602-382-6239 ◆ swlaw.com
Feeney’s practice is concentrated in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, securities offerings, SEC reporting and compliance, and corporate governance matters.

William M. Hardin ◆ Osborn Maledon PA
602-640-9322 ◆ omlaw.com
Hardin’s practice includes representing public and private companies in mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity financing, securities offerings and other significant business transactions.

Karen C. McConnell ◆ Ballard Spahr LLP
602-798-5403 ◆ ballardspahr.com
McConnell is a partner in the business and finance department and practice leader of the mergers and acquisitions/private equity group.

Bruce E. Macdonough ◆ Greenberg Traurig, LLP
602-445-8305 ◆ gtlaw.com
For more than 25 years, Macdonough’s practice has concentrated on mergers and acquisitions, public and private securities offerings, and providing general corporate counsel to public and private companies.

Thomas J. Morgan ◆ Lewis and Roca LLP
602-262-5712 ◆ lrlaw.com
Morgan practices in the areas of securities, with emphasis in public and private securities offerings, private equity fundings, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory compliance, commercial transactions and general tax planning.

Steven D. Pidgeon ◆ DLA Piper LLP
480-606-5124 ◆ dlapiper.com
Pidgeon concentrates his practice on securities offerings, mergers and acquisitions, recapitalizations, and private equity and venture capital investments.

Susan E. Wells ◆ Jaburg & Wilk P.C.
602-248-1034 ◆ jaburgwilk.com
Wells’ 30 years of practice include mergers and acquisitions and securities at large law firms in Phoenix and New York City.


Edwin C. Bull ◆ Burch & Cracchiolo, P.A.
602-234-9913 ◆ bcattorneys.com
Martindale-Hubbell rated 5.0, Bull’s practice includes zoning, general plan amendments, specific area plan approvals and amendments, variances, development impact fees and real estate transactions.

J. Scott Burns ◆ Burns and Burns, P.C.
602-264-3227 ◆ b-blaw.com
Burns is a Board Certified Real Estate Law Specialist with a practice area emphasizing the acquisition and disposition of commercial and industrial properties, title review, landlord tenant issues and commercial lease negotiations.

Christopher A. Combs ◆ Combs Law Group
602-957-9810 ◆ combslawgroup.com
Combs writes a regular column for Arizona REALTOR Digest and is a former member of the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league baseball organization.

Mark Dioguardi ◆ Dioguardi Flynn LLP
480-970-2430 ◆ dioguardiflynn.com
Mark has 31 years of extensive practice in the fields of real estate law and private venture finance including in the areas of development, acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, finance, leasing, syndications, and zoning and entitlements.

Gerald L. Jaco ◆ Gust Rosenfeld PLC
602-257-7436 ◆ gustlaw.com
Jacobs has focused almost his entire 47-year legal career on real estate transactions and related areas.

Steven L. Lisker ◆ Squire, Sanders & Dempsey LLP
602-528-4023 ◆ squiresanders.com
Lisker is a certified specialist in real property law by the State Bar of Arizona, represents real estate developers and builders in the review, planning, acquisition, development, financing, sale, leasing and regulatory compliance of real estate projects.

J. Lawrence McCormley ◆ Tiffany & Bosco
602-255-6005 ◆ tblaw.com
McCormley has extensive transactional real estate, bankruptcy, and litigation experience.

Don J. Miner ◆ Fennemore Craig PC
602-916-5000 ◆ fclaw.com
Miner was the buyer’s counsel in sale of a portfolio of $101 million of loans secured by residential real estate mortgages.

James R. Nearhood ◆ Nearhood Law Offices PLC
480-269-8979 ◆ nearhoodlaw.com
For more than 20 years, Nearhood has been one of a small elite group of attorneys certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a Real Estate Specialist.

Michael E. Tiffany ◆ Tiffany & Bosco PA
602-255-6000 ◆ tblaw.com
Tiffany concentrates in the area of commercial transactions, primarily in real estate and finance.

Arizona Business Magazine has used its best efforts in assembling material for this list, but does not warrant that the information contained herein is a complete or exhaustive list of the top lawyers in Arizona, and hereby disclaims any liability to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions herein.

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

real estate - expanding to california

Valley Real Estate Company Branches Out Of Arizona

Local real estate brokerage firm HomeSmart is continuing to grow by opening franchises in California. The nationwide company based in Phoenix recently began making its way to other cities across the United States offering one of the most attractive business models in the real estate industry.

Since opening in January 2000, HomeSmart has had tremendous success by growing to over 4,300 agents in Arizona. Such unparalleled growth has catapulted HomeSmart to rank as the largest real estate brokerage in the southwestern United States and among the top ten brokerages in the country.

This month, HomeSmart has launched franchises in California including Santa Rosa, Modesto, and Palm Springs, as well as local offices in Ahwatukee and Green Valley. The real estate brokerage also has international operations in Beijing, China. Their goal is to open franchises in the top metropolitan cities in the U.S.

“We are excited to grow nationwide and for the future of HomeSmart,” said Founder Matt Widdows, who ranks in the Top Five National Independent Companies. “Our strong growth has driven us to begin franchising a year ago and we have seen our model and technology work in both small and large markets. We have built our reputation on exceptional customer service with our unique franchise package that gives our real estate brokers and agents a competitive advantage in this industry.”

HomeSmart’s proprietary software puts its franchise partners ahead of the curve. Developed by Widdows and his development team, the reputable systems are proven to save business owners huge costs attributed to web hosting, lead generation and back office systems. This allows the franchise owners to provide the technology to their agents for free while allowing them to keep 100 percent of their commissions. Other advantages to HomeSmart’s franchise program include a virtual receptionist, generous fee structure, and a full suite of branding and marketing products.

HomeSmart prides itself on successfully blending technology with a personal touch, something that is often lost in the industry. They continue to implement new technologies that empower its agents to provide outstanding service to their clients. This summer, HomeSmart will launch a new mobile application allowing residents to access market information at their fingertips. Users can take notes, rank properties, and share properties they like on social networking sites with friends.

The local brokerage donates time and money to many local charities, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Back to School 4 Kids, American Diabetes, Make a Wish Foundation and more.

For more information on HomeSmart, its franchise opportunities, and community outreach, please visit www.homesmartinternational.com. Follow HomeSmart on Facebook at www.facebook.com/homesmart.

AREA Awards

AREA Awards 2012 Winners, Finalists & Photos

A night full of networking, laughs and recognition, the first annual Arizona Real Estate Achievement, AREA Awards ceremony was held on May 3, 2012 at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix.

The Arizona Real Estate Achievement (AREA) Awards are selected by a panel of industry experts and honor the state’s best and brightest real estate companies, real estate agents, real estate brokers, mortgage companies, bankers, home builders, individuals who give back to the community, and those in the real estate business whose careers have left an indelible mark on the community and on the industry.

Comedian Travis Thurman made a special appearance at this year’s AREA Awards as our opening introduction. And the keynote speaker, Paul Blue, Chief of Staff for the Office of the Mayor informed the attendees of the importance of the real estate industry, neighborhood safety, education and much more.

Congratulations to all of the finalists, honorable mentions and winners!

View photos from the event on our Facebook:

AREA 2012 Snapshots

Photos: Cory Bergquist

Congratulations to all of our winners:


Winner: Russell Shaw, Realty One Group
Honorable Mention:
Curtis Johnson, Curtis Johnson Realty


Winner: Deems Dickenson, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International
Honorable Mention:
Dale Hillard, West USA Realty


Winner: TEAM Investments
Honorable Mention:
Kirans & Associates


Winner: Keller Williams Legacy One Realty
Honorable Mention:
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


Winner: Bill Rogers, Homeowners Financial Group
Honorable Mention:


Winner: AmeriFirst Financial
Honorable Mention:
CNN Mortgage


Winner: Tiffany & Bosco
Honorable Mention:
Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner


Winner: Lennar


Winner: Cullum Homes


Winner: Erica Curtin, HomeSmart Realty
Honorable Mention: Kent Rini, CrimeBusters AZ


Winner: Walt Danley, Walt Danley Realty


Winner: Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


  • Erica Curtin, HomeSmart Realty
  • Walt Danley, Walt Danley Realty
  • Don Dickinson, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty
  • Dale Hillard, West USA Realty
  • Curtis Johnson, Curtis Johnson Realty
  • Tanya Marchiol, TEAM Investments
  • Kent Rini, Crimebusters of AZ
  • Russell Shaw, Realty ONE Group
  • Kiran Vedantam, Kirans & Associates
  • Keller Williams Legacy One Realty
  • AmeriFirst Financial Inc.
  • Coldwell Banker
  • CNN Mortgage
  • Cullum Homes
  • Homeowners Financial Group
  • Lennar Arizona, Inc.
  • NOVA Home Loans
  • Nussbaum Gillis & Dinner, P.Cc
  • Tiffany & Bosco

Presenting Sponsor:

Great American Title Agency


Event Partner:

Phoenix Association of Realtors WEMAR

equal pay

Equal Pay For An Equal Day’s Work Remains Elusive, Study Shows

Tuesday, April 17 is Equal Pay Day, a day to mark the fact that women still only earn 77 percent for each dollar earned annually by men and 82 percent of each dollar earned weekly. A new fact sheet released today by the at Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) shows that the gender wage gap is a common feature of women’s working lives in nearly all of the most common occupations for women and men.

The fact sheet, based on an analysis of median weekly earnings data across occupations for full-time workers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is  released annually by IWPR. It reviews the gender wage gap in the 20 most common occupations for women and for men, and provides earnings data by sex, race, and ethnicity across the seven major occupational groups in the labor force.

IWPR’s research finds that women have lower median earnings than men in all but one of the 20 most common occupations for women, ‘bookkeeping and auditing clerks,’ where women and men have the same median earnings. In one of the twenty most common male occupations, ‘stock clerks and order fillers,’ women out-earned men by 3 percent of median male earnings.

Women working as “property, real estate, and community association managers” face the largest gender earnings gap of all occupations: in 2011 their median full-time weekly earnings were only 61 percent of men in that occupation, $728 compared to $1201 per week. Among the 20 most common occupations for women, “financial managers” face the largest earnings gap ($991 compared to $1,504, an earnings ratio of 65.9 percent). Women who are “chief executives” face the largest earnings gap ($1,464 per week earned by women compared to $2,122) in the 20 most common occupations for men.

“These gender wage gaps are not about women choosing to work less than men — the analysis is comparing apples to apples, men and women who all work full time — and we see that across these 40 common occupations, men nearly always earn more than women,” said Ariane Hegewisch, a Study Director at IWPR. “Discrimination law cases provide us with some insights on the reasons that the wage gap persists: women are less likely to be hired into the most lucrative jobs, and — when they work side by side with men — they may get hired at a lower rate, and receive lower pay increases over the years. Discrimination in who gets hired for the best jobs hits all women but particularly black and Hispanic women.”

Three of the most common occupations for women and two for men have median weekly earnings that, after a full year of full-time work, are still too low to keep a family of four out of poverty. More than twice as many women as men and four out of ten Hispanic women work in occupations that pay poverty wages.

“It is shocking that important occupations such as teaching assistants or nurses, psychiatric and home health aides — stressful and responsible jobs that are critical to the well-being of our society — are likely to leave a woman unable to support her family even when she works full time and year round,” said Dr. Heidi Hartmann, President of IWPR.

Financial Statements

Using Financial Statements, Tools To Plan Your Future

Know what you have before planning the future using specific financial tools and financial statements.

There are many famous quotes about the importance of enjoying the present and not focusing too much on the past or the future. We do this in our personal lives and with many of our responsibilities, such as work, education and our finances. As a financial planner, I meet with many people seeking assistance with meeting specific financial goals and find that many times they have ideas of what they want and what they have already done. This is great, but before planning the future, it is important to know what you have now, a snapshot of your current situation. This is a critical piece, not only for individuals, but businesses, too.

Before focusing on investment news, what stocks are hot, politics and what might be a new trend in the investment world, investors should focus on understanding their current position. It is nearly impossible to determine the right mix of investments and what strategies may be appropriate without knowing this. Investors can use specific financial tools, including different financial statements, to help them identify what they have. These tools can apply to both individuals and businesses.

The first step is a data-gathering process. The second is imputing the information from various financial statements. For individuals, we would include a statement of financial position and a statement of cash flow. For business owners, we would include a balance sheet, income statement, statement of cash flow, and a pro forma statement. These are great tools that can help identify one’s financial position.

When creating a statement of financial position, one will clearly list his or hers assets and liabilities. Assets, such as real estate or other valuable items, should be considered at current market value (the price that one is willing to pay today for it). Assets should be categorized as cash and cash-equivalents, such as checking, savings, money market accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds and life insurance. Liabilities include credit cards, auto loans, unsecured loans, real estate mortgages, education loans and personal debts. This will provide individuals a balance sheet of assets at a particular point in time.

The next important piece is a statement of cash flow. Some of us may know this as an income statement. This statement will show inflow of income and outflow of income at a particular point in time. The inflow may include salaries, sale of assets, investment dividends, rent and bonuses. Outflows may include mortgage payments, auto payments, credit card payments, insurance, general living expenses and taxes. The statement of financial position and statement of cash flow are valuable tools to have before implementing an investment plan.

A pro forma statement is the last tool to use and includes future projections of the balance sheet and cash flow statement. This is important because as our economy and life situations change, we may need to adjustment our plan as needed. The same process also applies to business owners. However, the business entity will need to consider many more details regarding assets and liabilities, as well as inventory and staff.

Once the financial statement process has been completed, one will have a greater understanding of his or her position when beginning an investment plan. In addition, this process can improve the odds of success and allow more control in an investor’s decisions.

For more information about financial statements and financial planning, visit jacobgold.com.

Securities and investment advisory services offered through ING Financial Partners, Inc. Member SIPC. Jacob Gold & Associates, Inc. is not a subsidiary of nor controlled by ING Financial Partners, Inc.

This information was prepared by Michael Cochell of Jacob Gold & Associates Inc. and is for educational information only. The opinions/views expressed within are that of Michael Cochell of Jacob Gold & Associates Inc. and do not necessarily reflect those of ING Financial Partners or its representatives. In addition, they are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Neither ING Financial Partners nor its representatives provide tax or legal advice. You should consult with your financial professional, attorney, accountant or tax advisor regarding your individual situation prior to making any investment decisions.

Investment Products

Investment Products: Which Is Best For Me?

Investment Products: Which Is Best For Me?

The financial industry continues to develop innovative products and improve services. As consumers we can feel overwhelmed when faced with choosing a product for our needs.

There are many products for different needs, and when faced with choosing one, it can be difficult. Investors have many choices and can use different avenues to invest their money. These options include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, and real estate.

Types of Investment Products

Stocks: Stocks are an equity position in a corporation that can provide the possibility of investment growth.

Bonds: Bonds, on the other hand, are a debt instrument that is issued by the state, government, city, municipality or corporation, and can repay the original investment along with interest.

Mutual fund: An investment company that pools money from many investors and invests it based on specific investment goals.

Annuities: Annuities are financial products sold by an insurance company that is designed to help reach financial goals and can provide income.

Real estate: Lastly, real estate is another option that can be used by owning property or investing in real estate investment trust.

These are only some products that can help investors fulfill their investment needs.

(You should consider the investment objectives, risks and charges and expenses of mutual funds carefully before investing. The prospectuses contain this and other information, which can be obtained by contacting your representative. Please read the information carefully before investing. Add a standard risk disclosure due to the discussion of specific investments: Investments are not guaranteed and are subject to investment risk including the possible loss of principal. The investment return and principal value of the security will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than the original investment.)

Which investment product is right for me?

It depends on an investor’s goals, risk tolerance and time horizon. An investor should consider these factors and work with a financial professional to help decide the best product for him or her.

Each of these investment products has strengths and weaknesses depending on how they are used. It is also important to apply your personal situation and consider your objectives when deciding on an investment product.

Investors should be cautious when taking advice from marketing ads or television because these sources typically only present the product and its features. How they can apply to your specific situation is important to understand before investing. It is also critical to take the time to thoroughly analyze how each product can be beneficial and consider not only the benefits but also the potential downside risk.

For more information about investment products, visit jacobgold.com.


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Securities and investment advisory services offered through ING Financial Partners, Inc. Member SIPC. Jacob Gold & Associates, Inc. is not a subsidiary of nor controlled by ING Financial Partners, Inc.

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Ed Robson, Founder of Robson Communities, AZ Business Magazine May/June 2011

Edward J. Robson of Robson Communities Talks First Jobs

Edward J. Robson
Title: Founder/Chairman
Company: Robson Communities

Describe your very first job and what you learned from it.
I had several first jobs growing up. I knew at a young age I wanted to make money, so I decided to go door-to-door offering to shovel snow in the winter time for just $2. Then, when it got warmer in the summertime, I went door-to-door offering to cut lawns. … I was also a paperboy. All of those jobs made me learn that if you do a good job, you will get hired back.

Describe your first job in your industry.
I was in high school and hand dug a cellar for a home. In other words, I worked in construction. When I moved to Arizona I got into real estate mainly because it was interesting and rewarding. I learned from my first job in the industry that if you don’t sell, you don’t get paid. I had a lot to lose since I was supporting my wife and kids, so I worked hard.

What were your salaries?
I made $2 per home shoveling snow and $5 per home cutting lawns. It didn’t matter how long it took, I still got paid that amount.

Who is your biggest mentor?
I worked directly for Del Webb for one year and learned a lot. Del Webb instilled confidence in myself and gave me a lot of responsibility at a young age. He truly believed in me.

What advice would you give to a person entering your  industry?
If a person wants to enter the industry and work for someone else, my advice is to be a producer! You can’t be afraid of admitting a mistake. Mistakes are part of learning.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?

This is a hard question for me because I believe that the sum of your choices directs your life. … I have no idea what I would be doing instead, but I know that whatever I ended up doing, I wanted to be successful.


Arizona Business Magazine May/June 2011

Kitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design

Have A Small Kitchen? Learn How To Make It Look Larger

Phoenix Metro is the 5th largest city in the United States, and we are seeing that more urban living optionsKitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design are growing. Unfortunately, these new smaller, urban living options — like lofts, condos and townhouses — are not as roomy as a traditional single-family home in the suburbs.

So, we end up compromising on some things — two bedrooms instead of three, tiny bathrooms, no wall space for your 32-inch plasma, and/or just enough room for a sink in the kitchen.

The kitchen is the heart of our home. Candlelit dinners, family brunches and birthday parties – they all begin here. A well laid out kitchen allows us to spend more time with loved ones; and a beautiful kitchen turns the cooking and baking hours into an enjoyable, warm experience.

Making the best use of a small space is tough, but it’s definitely achievable and well worth the initial planning you put into it. Smaller spaces just mean that you need to think a bit more creatively.


  • Think about choice of color.
  • Keeping walls and ceilings light and bright is always a top tip, especially if you have no windows.
  • Pay attention to the right type of flooring.
  • Sticking to the basics, choosing light cabinetry and opting for a darker bench top will create a flow between the walls, flooring and bench space and create an illusion of space.
  • The most expensive aspect of the kitchen is the appliances; try to stick with stainless steel or stainless steel finish products.
  • Think simple. Avoid cluttering this small space with too many counter-top appliances and accessories.

The exterior appearance of a small and well functioning kitchen is important. It is also just as important to feel happy in the space. The essentials to a kitchen are sometimes minimal, but without things like adequate bench space and the correct placement of appliances, you can become fairly dissatisfied pretty quickly.

Kitchen designed by Faizi Urban Design

Keep things simple and functional through cabinetry that has multi-leveled capabilities. Choose a trim-lined fridge and freezer systems, or chic, well-designed ovens and gas tops. Or, try open shelving with space for hooks and pot racks; these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to selecting the fun stuff for your small kitchen.

So, if you don’t have the imagination or time to lay out your smaller kitchen, let an interior designer do the work so you can save, enjoy and have endless family meals in your new kitchen space.

For more articles by Omer, please visit www.faiziurbandesign.com/blog


Median Price Not Full Story For Phoenix Market

The median price for resale homes in the Phoenix area has been edging up for several months. Does this signal that the market is approaching normalcy? Jay Butler, associate professor of real estate and author of the Realty Studies report from the W. P. Carey School of Business, talks about the factors affecting median price, including the still high number of foreclosure-related sales. It’s tempting to declare a market up-tilt based only on median price, he says, but because of that foreclosure activity, Phoenix is still far from a normal market. (13:09)