The good news (to sellers): Millennials are – finally – buying their first homes. The bad news (to Phoenix, land of a thousand golf course lakes): Millennials aren’t that into golf.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the national homeownership rate for the fourth quarter of 2017 was 64.2 percent, the highest it’s been since 2014 and a good indicator the housing market is steadily rebounding. A November 2017 article in The Wall Street Journal purports this rise likely has something to do with millennials (those born roughly between 1980 and 2000) hitting their sweet spot age for starting a family and setting down roots.
Locally, 2017 was one of the Valley’s best-ever years for home sales. Citing the Phoenix real estate tracker The Cromford Report, the Arizona Republic reported about 93,500 homes were sold last year – 6 percent more than in 2016. Kristin Bickley, a realtor with Realty Executives Camelback, says first-time homebuyers make up a huge corner of that market, but they’re not buying like their parents did. “The millennials who came in were very thoughtful – they did not care about square footage, they did not want something large, they wanted something they could afford,” she says of when she opened the waiting list for Capitol Lofts, a new condominium development featuring affordable, loft-style homes going up near 10th Avenue and Washington Street. “They don’t have to have the luxury… they’re living their lives more simply, so they don’t need a separate office or five bedrooms.”
Bickley says this emphasis on affordability and needing less space means tough luck for the Valley’s classic luxury communities, such as those built along golf courses. Plus, the baby boomers who once flocked to these mini-mansions “are now empty nesters and downsizing.” Plus, golf just isn’t as cool as it once was – especially among younger generations who don’t have the disposable time and income. As a result, courses are closing by the hundreds, according to the National Golf Foundation.
So even though a record 719,000 inebriated people flocked to the Waste Management Phoenix Open in early February, they weren’t necessarily golf fans, and they certainly weren’t looking to buy property on a golf course. Instead, Bickley says, young homebuyers care more about “geography, walkability, [public transportation],” not a better tee time.
Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC. BackRub to Google. WWF to WWE. And now, Apache Junction + Chandler + Gilbert + Mesa + Queen Creek + Tempe to PHX East Valley. Will the East Valley Partnership’s rebrand place Phoenix’s eastern suburbs in the annals of ingenious marketing? Likely not… but it sure rolls off the tongue easier.
Dollar value that a modest 3.5 kilowatt rooftop solar panel kit (est. cost: $18,000) will add to your home, according to a 2015 study by ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. The figure applies only to “owned” panels; leased solar systems actually degrade a home’s value.
Smaller is better. So says the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association’s 2017 survey, in which boutique hotelier respondents singled out their intimate use of design – reflecting the local environment and building on, rather than razing, historical locations – as an area where they outperformed large chains. A look at new and in-the-works boutique hotels around the Valley:
Opened: Jan. 2018
Neighborhood: Old Town Scottsdale
Boutique brass tacks: $12 million renovation of former Scottsdale Inn; Palm Springs-esque cement breeze block entry; Mid-Century leather chaise in all 213 rooms; “WTF” neon sign.
Opening: Est. Oct. 2018
Neighborhood: Central Phoenix, next to The Newton on Camelback Road
Boutique brass tacks: $20 million adaptive reuse of two apartment buildings from the ’60s; third hotel from California-based Arrive Hotels & Restaurants, which brands its hotels as “built for the neighborhood”; poolside tacos; nautical-themed rooftop cocktail bar.
To-Be-Named Mesa Hotel
Neighborhood: Downtown Mesa
Boutique brass tacks: Habitat Metro, the developer behind the art-themed FOUND:RE Phoenix hotel, is planning something similar across the street from the Mesa Arts Center. Principal Tim Sprague says the 15-story building will contain apartments and hotel rooms, an events center and food hall.
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