Home Builders Association of Central Arizona holds ‘Condos Are Back’ forum

A record crowd assembled Wednesday to hear about the surging condominium market.

“Condos are back” was the theme, and Jim Belfiore provided information indicating 25 attached new home communities are active today in the Metro Phoenix area.  In one year, this number is expected to nearly double.

Kirsten Brown, Vice President, Butte Companies, Michael “Frenchy” IllesCremieux, Regional Vice President of Land Acquisitions, Meritage Homes, Rob Lyles, Founder, Deco Communities and Jim Belfiore, President, Belfiore Real Estate Consulting participated on a lively (and sometime outright hilarious) panel moderated by Jordan Rose, President and Founder, Rose Law Group pc.

Meritage’s Michael “Frenchy” IllesCremieux said “Condos are available” would be a more appropriate way to characterize the upturn in activity, as the condo market in Arizona has really never surged before.

Metro 12 Loft Condos
Metro 12 Loft Condos

The panelists each had a different buyer profile in mind for their pending condo deals.  Brown, who sells to what she termed the “wealth box” – generally older buyers who want luxury but more of a “lock and leave lifestyle” – noted these buyers have very few choices in the north Scottsdale/Carefree market today.  Rob Lyles is working on a project in the heart of downtown Scottsdale’s entertainment district and profiled his buyer as “the Kardashians.”

Both Brown and Lyles spoke about a “whisper campaign” to their market segment that will find them great success as “the place to move.” IllesCremieux indicated his buyer might be a single professional, such as a lawyer or a single parent with partial custody of children. These buyers can generally afford more than they are paying for the condo and often put down more than the minimum for the mortgage.

Belfiore noted, “Condominium and townhome activity is not only picking up where we left it at the end of Phoenix’s last building boom, it’s extending beyond.  We’re seeing projects planned throughout the Metro Phoenix area.  The number of active, attached communities will double over the next 12 months and grow further into the first half of 2015.”

Rose, who presided over the raucous discussion noted land use cases for condos, whether they be in Scottsdale, Avondale or Eloy, seem to bring out a lot of uncertainty in neighbors and elected officials as the Arizona marketplace does not yet fully understand what kind of buyer a condo project attracts.

“We have had cases where neighbors are screaming the condos will bring in an “unwanted element” to the neighborhood and don’t fully understand these are ownership units, attracting a segment of the population that doesn’t want or need a yard.  There is still a lot of education that must take place in entering a zoning discussion on condos.”

Congratulations to Connie Wilhelm and the HBACA for yet another riveting breakfast!

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November 2013