Lots of mentions of Phoenix real estate in the mainstream media today. . .
In a story no one in their right mind wants to hear, the Standard & Poors Case-Shiller Home Price Index for August came out today. Phoenix is at the top of the list for home price declines — prices in the Phoenix metro area dropped 30.7 percent year-over-year (from August 2007 to August 2008).
20 metro areas are reported in the Case-Shiller. None showed an increase in home value YOY.
And in local homebuilder news, Tempe based Brown Family Communities closed their doors, laying off “about 55 employees” (they don’t know exactly how many worked there?).
[Dave] Brown [founder and CEO] said there are 31 partially completed houses dotting his neighborhoods. He expects that they will be taken over by lenders and remain in an unfinished state until the value of the properties rises and lenders can sell them at a profit.
The situation shows that the massive bailout of the financial industry engineered by the Bush administration has not yet filtered down to borrowers, he said.
Federal officials “are giving $700 billion to the banks, but nothing is coming out,” he said.
Brown expressed bitterness that his lenders will no longer support him, even though he has survived several market downturns in the past. The difference this time is “the lending environment,” he said.
“I’m sick over the whole thing, obviously. It’s a tragedy. Washington and the financial community have no ethical response. They have just told (borrowers) to go to hell.”
Brown said that he has been able to pay refunds to buyers who made down payments on homes that can’t be completed.
Well that’s all rather depressing.