How retirees are fueling the housing market in Phoenix - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Real Estate

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How retirees are fueling the housing market in Phoenix

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Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013 5:45 am

Once again, the sun is shining on the housing market in Phoenix. Arizona is attractive once again to buyers with retirement, and a warmer climate, on the horizon. In 2012, domestic migration climbed high as it had been in the past five years as Arizona welcomed 26,000 migrants from other states. Across the state, as mortgage rates are decreasing and home values rising, the housing market is enjoying an influx as baby boomers choose our sunny skies. Even local retirees are opting to downsize, placing their current homes up for sale in favor of less maintenance.

In search of smaller living spaces, the demand for turnkey housing in Arizona is on the rise. Retirees are glad to give up a little square footage so they can spend less time cleaning the pool and more time lounging by it. The impact is a win-win — their home sales increase inventory for those looking for larger ones, and, purchasing their own new space fuels the local economy.

If you’re one of those lucky retiring boomers, at Arizona Mortgage Specialists, Inc., Mike Langs says it’s important for you to plan to purchase before you retire. Some plan years in advance, and purchase a home to use as a rental property, which only requires a 20 percent down payment. Then, you can opt to rent it out for five years, retire, and move in. Others purchase a second home, which only requires a 10 percent down payment.

Since September 2012, the Phoenix housing market has seen a recovery since the housing collapse that can only be described as robust. Housing prices have rebounded 30 percent here, in contrast with the national market increase of 11 percent during the same time period. Compared to other markets, the meteoric rise has been influenced by the decreased number of homes available, creating a leaner supply of homes on the market.

So what about right here in Ahwatukee? According to Mike Salyer, managing broker at Keller Williams Sonoran Living, there were 429 homes for sale here in September 2011, where 145 units commanded a median sales price of $170,000.00. But in September 2013, out of 346 available homes, 114 sold at a median price of $260,000.00. The decreased number of available homes in the Ahwatukee area has helped speed up the housing recovery overall. This rapid increase both in values and price have made Ahwatukee more attractive to sellers and buyers alike. While investors are still interested, there seems to be a shift towards more traditional owner-occupier, or second homebuyers, rather than investors.

A final positive indicator is the amount of new construction being launched in the Phoenix area. In recent times, home building, while increasing, has happened at a slower rate than in years past. The number of new builds increases each month; however, there is a decreased rate at which new projects are started.

Current trends, while positive overall, are beginning to move toward a more balanced level. The Phoenix housing market saw sharp swings during the housing crisis a few years back. Both buyers and sellers alike can rest easy, as it seems the Ahwatukee housing market is landing on stable ground. While many agree that at some point the supply will increase at a more rapid rate, it hasn’t happened just yet. One thing is for certain, the Ahwatukee housing market is showing signs of steady growth, which is good news for us all.

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

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Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing

For more information, visit

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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