More excellent reporting from Gren Credo of the Arizona Republic. I sure wish "rolodex of realtors" Catherine Reagor would read his stuff and learn. Reporting the new reality from the street-view is so much better than dialing up your realtor buddies to ask for spin.
Here's highlights of his excellent report today on the housing disaster unfolding in bubble-ground-zero Phoenix:
As Valley home market cools, emotions heat up
Real estate agent Neil Brooks was getting the feeling that his client was about to completely lose it. He'd seen it before. He had just broken some bad news about her house deal, and she wasn't taking it well. She was pacing, yelling and swearing at him, tossing a cellphone from hand to hand. "I was thinking, 'OK, here we go,' " said Brooks, who's with Century 21 Arizona Foothills. "Something's going to happen. Something's going to blow."
He was right. The client whirled suddenly and whipped the phone at him. But he was ready. He ducked, and the phone shattered against the wall behind him. The client stormed out of the house.Brooks wasn't mad, and he wasn't offended. The business of buying and selling houses provokes extreme emotional outbursts.
The stress, the financial worries, the personal feelings people have about their homes - sometimes it's too much to take. People yell, they lose sleep, they cry, they're stricken with buyer's and seller's remorse.
That's especially true these days in metropolitan Phoenix's post-boom housing market, where nearly everything has reversed since last year's frenzy.
Home prices have become a touchy subject. Builders are discounting speculative homes, and resale prices are flat, or down, in a lot of neighborhoods. Buyers are submitting lowball offers. Even some sellers and their agents are having trouble agreeing how much similar homes in the same neighborhood are worth.
Two houses on the same north Valley street, similar in size and age, are for sale. One lists for $749,000 and the other for $775,000. A third house came on the market on the same street a few doors from the other two. The new listing was similar to the others in size and age but priced at $659,000.
Reaction: outrage."The neighbors were really mad," said Thomas Stornelli, principal of Global Network of Homes in Scottsdale. "They knocked on the door and asked, 'What are you thinking?'
Suddenly, angry neighbors were confronting them. One night, someone tore down their for-sale sign.
There was a lot of talk about how investors cashed in on the Phoenix market when home values were soaring. That euphoria convinced less-experienced people to try the investment game. Some were hurt.
A woman walked into Barry's Realty Executives office about nine weeks ago, sat down and began crying. She said she bought two houses last year, fixed them up and quickly sold them, making a $50,000 profit on each.
She was a novice investor, but it all looked easy. She took her profits, threw in some extra money and bought five more houses. She spent money fixing them up, but when she put the houses on the market, she realized she had bought at the peak, Barry said."Her eyes just started to well up, and she just started bawling," Barry said. "She said she couldn't sell them for what she bought them for. She said her monthly payments were about $20,000."
July 30, 2006
It's all falling apart now: Anger, frustration, violence against realtors and neighbors turning against neighbor as real estate melts down
Posted by blogger at 7/30/2006