Ahwatukee Foothills has a great mix of housing products from condominiums to million-dollar custom estates. The overall market has seen an incredible bounce back in the last 12 months. The “Luxury Market” was the last to be hit and has been the last to recover. You may wonder how this segment of the market fares in comparison to performance across median single-family homes across the Valley.

First, what constitutes the Luxury Market? Luxury real estate across the United States typically encompasses real property with an appraised value of more than $1 million dollars. Of course, a “luxury” classification also varies according to location, and, often considers the presence of surrounding homes, amenities, views, waterfronts, home customizations and historical or architectural significance. According to Mike Salyer, managing broker for Keller Williams Sonoran Living, “Traditionally, we consider the Luxury Market in any area to be the home sales that are in the top 10 percent of the market by price. For Ahwatukee the Luxury Market in the last year would be homes that sold for approximately $500,000 and above. In the last 12 months there have been 15 homes sold over $1,000,000 and a total of 150 homes that have sold for over $500,000.”

For years we saw many luxury homes languish following the market downturn. But this summer, the Luxury Market enjoyed the highest sales volume of any summer season in six years. A good sign! According to the Arizona Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Ahwatukee Foothills yielded a total of nine sales in 2012 exceeding 1 million dollars, the highest of which was $1,650,000. The highest sales price per square foot for 2012 was $286.00.

In 2103, 13 homes over one million have sold year to date — three of which closed in August alone. The highest sale YTD closed at $2,300,000 in Ahwatukee Custom Estates. The high sale price per square foot was just logged for a 6,000-square-foot home in the Foothills Sanctuary at $316.00 per feet, or $1,900,000. This home attracted multiple bidders, achieving the highest price per square foot sale in Ahwatukee since 2009.

So while overall the residential housing market appreciated by more than 20 percent due to the lack of supply versus demand, the Luxury Market is catching up, but at a slower rate. So what criteria shape the luxury residential property market in the year to come?

• Limited supply. High-net-worth-individuals are continuing to invest in real estate, often in second or vacation homes.

• A pool of robust international buyers. Our neighbors to the north are generally more inclined to invest in a recovering market than in their native country for vacation homes, and Arizona’s climate is particularly attractive.

• Cash transactions. Many luxury property acquisitions have been bought with cash by the “recession-proof” buyer, and will likely continue.

• Jumbo loans are back. Increased availability of bank financing for jumbo loans at competitive interest rates also spurred the increase in luxury market sales.

So, for buyers, sellers, lenders and those with ancillary real estate businesses — what does this mean for us in Ahwatukee? Remember — cities often determine the fate of the markets. The Luxury Market in Ahwatukee Foothills should continue to appreciate as new businesses launch in the area, and the expansion of existing companies like Intel relocate executives and families here. The infrastructure of the Foothills helps, with its award-winning schools, restaurants and shops in close proximity.

Finally, the availability of just a small inventory of custom homes in Ahwatukee Foothills gives us an advantage when homes arrive on the market here.

Overall, the future’s looking bright for Ahwatukee’s Luxury Market.

• Bonny Holland is with Keller Williams, Sonoran Living in Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach her at (602) 369-1085, www.leadingluxuryexperts.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

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