At that time Ahwatukee was considered outside of South Phoenix and no one travelled below south Phoenix but Indians and explorers like Lewis and Clark. I like to explore so we went south 8 miles on the 10 freeway and started east on Riggs. The 202 didn’t exist in 2000 and it would be another 8 years in the making. After passing miles of cotton fields, corn fields, Dairy farms, stopping every section line for a 4 way sign; and after stopping 23 times in as many miles we hit Ellsworth. Finally we were in Queen Creek, but we still had 11 more miles to Johnson Ranch GC.
Back in 2000 Queen Creek had 1600 residents and even a fewer number of homes. Half of them had wheels. Gilbert was the fastest growing city in the US and Gilbert was considered the edge of civilization.
As we approached the course we could see beautiful greens, nicer fairways but dirt cart paths. The Club House was a trailer. As we tee’d off I could see the first green and the first three homes being framed. Aside from a few mobile homes and a small ranch house, these were the first homes we had seen since we left Sun Lakes.
Try to imagine, no freeway, no homes, no auto malls, no Banner Hospital, no San Tan Village, no San Tan Flats, no nothing from the 10 Freeway to Ellsworth.
We had not seen a gas station since we left Bashes at Sun Lakes. “If the gas station downtown Ocotillo and Ellsworth did not have it you just didn’t need it.”
2002, I recall reading in the Arizona Republic, “Queen Creek had the second highest income per capita in Arizona”, second only to Paradise Valley. Remember those QC farmers were selling their family ranches to speculators, developers, and builders. In 2003 the building continued in an exponential rate, bigger than life, and banks were excited to loan on homes and raw land. At one point in time you could borrow 50% LTV (loan to value) on raw land. In 2003 I was sitting in the lobby of a golf course in the East San Francisco Bay area when I read in a large golf magazine a full page advertising Johnson Ranch the “New Hot Spot.”
By 2005 Queen Creek became the fastest growing city in the US. Gilbert was almost built out and Chandler was 90% built out. In 5 years Queen Creek grew from 1000 homes to 78,000 homes.
In 2005 the joke was if you could fog a mirror you could get a home loan. Only the joke turned out to be not so funny.
Then in 2006 it all came to a slow stop. No new homes but we still needed stuff. We still needed banks, and malls, and new roads, so commercial slowed but continued at a less than stellar pace; but it continued.
By 2008 Queen Creek had the dubious honor of having the highest inventory of bank owned homes in the nation. Google search Forbes Magazine Queen Creek to read about our town. In March of 2008 we started to sell bank homes. We had 3200 homes on the market and 2200 were bank owned homes. In Jan 2008 we were selling 100 homes per month and that meant we had a 32 month inventory.
By Jan 2009 we were selling 800 homes per month and we had dropped to 1600 homes on the market. We now had a 2 month inventory of homes. We had gone from the highest to the lowest and shortest inventory of homes in the valley.
2200 bank owned out of 80,000 homes is less than 3 %.
“But I heard the number of homes in foreclosure was about 50%.” Or “I heard over ½ the homes are upside down in their mortgages.”
Fortunately, most of the homes in foreclosure never go to auction and never become a bank owned home. The homeowners will in many cases get caught up or they will get the bank to renegotiate their loans or they may sell as a short sale.
Actually in a normal market about .05% or ½ percent of the homes are foreclosed and become a bank owned home. People lose their jobs or get divorced or pass away. So when ½% bank home increases to 2% it is written in the papers as 300% increase in foreclosures or 4 times as many homes are in foreclosure. The truth is Queen Creek had 2200 bank owned and today we have less than 240. But this is good news and the problem is, bad news sells papers.
In 2010 Queen Creek has seen Banner Hospital open. Cathy and I have three daughters and Blessed to say all are pregnant with our #6, #7 and #8 grandchildren. Two of them will deliver at the new Banner. We also have a $3,000,000 (three million dollar) tunnel being built under Ellsworth just below Riggs Rd. The tunnel will get horses and people across the road to the new $17,000,000 Horse Shoe Equestrian Center.
Queen Creek is getting an Olive Garden. Yum! How Cosmopolitan!
Around Williams Field now called Mesa Gateway is the beginning of the largest commerce park in the state of Arizona. It is about 5% built. Allegiance Airline flies MN Farmers, Canadian and other snow birds into QC. This is a boom for our little town.
Retired Marine General William Lyons was the developer of Coto De Caza in Orange County. If you happen to watch TV and saw The Real Housewives of Orange County, they live in Coto. In 2009 William Lyons bought Hastings Farms from the bank and is laying pipe and finishing block walls. He plans to sell 940 new homes. William Lyons is a very good and smart developer. He knows Queen Creek is a better place to build homes than Southern California. Why do we not hear about this on the news or read about this in the papers?
Queen Creek and Gilbert were first into this mess and appear to be the first out. Cathy and I were at the Town Planning last month and discovered 9200 homes to be built in Queen Creek starting in 2011.
In 2007 all the new home builders closed their models. Some builders lost the models to the banks. Cathy and I bought one last year on Morning Sun Circle. Today, all the models that closed are open again and a dozen new homebuilders say they are each selling 5 to 10 homes per month. We just leased option our building downtown to an Italian Bakery. Palma will be baking cakes, serving pastries and lattes with a warm friendly smile. Now that’s International!
You might ask, why is our little town building new homes?
For the last 5 years California has lost about 50,000 of its population each year to Arizona and Texas. In 2010 over 1500 businesses left California for Texas and cheaper taxes.
Arizona has grown in population by over 1,300,000 since 2000! Last year alone, we had 263,000 people move to Arizona and had 50,000 leave for a net gain of 213,000 people.
“But why is the south east valley building ahead of the rest?”
Water, we have underground water and you have to have water to build homes.
We have the Salt River to the north, the Queen Creek and the Gila Rivers through the south. If you go to the west valley you will only see dry dirt where we have green belts, parks and lakes. Look at the entrance to San Tan Heights. Each of those lakes have their own pumping station that takes water out of the ground and back into their lakes.
What will we see next? Gaylord is building a convention center, golf course and Hotel north on Ellsworth to be started in 2012. Gaylord bought the GM proving ground and will be big for QC. The yellow sign on the middle of Ellsworth just above Pecos reads Future 802 freeways. This will touch the bottom of Gaylord’s Hotel.
ADOT won’t place these signs until they have the land bought and ready to start. Gaylord won’t build until they have a freeway. Maricopa county and neighboring cities want this to happen for tax revenue.
To the east are the new Superstition Vistas; State lands being sold to developers for a master planned community much like The Irvine Company in Orange County California. Remember we have a ¼ million people moving to Az and we need three things to build homes, land, electricity and water.
83% of Arizona is owned by Federal, State and Indian Reservations. Only 17% can be bought and sold. Of the remainder only ½ or about 8% of the entire state has water. The Cap Canal water is already allotted so you need our underground water to build homes.
Last year Az built 500 KV lines 7 miles east of town along the Cap Canal, Superstition Vistas, and the future 802 /303 freeways. These 500KV lines seem to bisect into an empty desert. Look for homes to follow in the next 10 years; Homes from Queen Creek to Highway 79 and down to Oro Valley then connecting to Tucson.
“But I read they expect houses to drop another 20 to 30% in 2011.” Honestly, I do too. I think that places like California, NY, and Hawaii will continue the same way we went 4 years ago. They have about 30% to catch up with Arizona. We hit bottom in March of 2008 and once we hit 50% discount we were at the bottom.
The truth is nobody knows for sure but I suspect we will be first out of the current crisis!
Now you know why I am so excited, I believe in the next 5 years more millionaires will be created and sadly some of them lost a home last year or may have had to file bankruptcy.
“When the times get tough, the tough get going!” - REV. SCHULLER
“If you think you can or think you can’t your right!” - HENRY FORD
“Government will always do the right thing once they exhaust every other option.” - WINSTON CHURCHILL
My family and I wish you a great 2011!