Thursday, November 13, 2008

Historic downtown Phoenix - A 1.5 mile self-guided walking tour

Historic downtown Phoenix - A 1.5 mile self-guided walking tour

Barbara Yost ~ The Arizona Republic

The Rossen House

In 1867, the U.S. General Land Office began surveying Arizona and the Salt River Valley into townships, and by 1870 the location of Phoenix was selected and named.

Early Phoenix desert was surrounded by irrigated farmland, which used a canal system (similar to prehistoric Hohokam canals) built between 1867-1885.

This canal system allowed homesteaders, businessmen, investors and promoters to reclaim the desert and transformed it into fields of alfalfa, grains, vegetables and, eventually, citrus and cotton. Because the water supply was unpredictable in 1911, Roosevelt Dam was built to ensure a consistent supply.

By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, Phoenix had railroad connections to two transcontinental lines and had become a major distribution center, not only for agriculture but for mining and manufacturing, too.

Downtown Phoenix kept its 1920's identity well into the late 1960's, when the face of the city changed with the construction of office towers in the central core. Fortunately, many of the key commercial and civic buildings from the 1920s remain.

Other attractions in the area:
1. Fry Building, northwest corner of Second and Washington streets - is the earliest known intact commercial building in Phoenix. This two-story building was built in 1885. In 1904, the north addition of the Fry Building was erected and the storefronts were remodeled in 1950.

2. Hanny's Building, 44 N. First St. - was built in 1947 by Vic Hanny, a local businessman. This store brought the International/Moderate Style influence to Phoenix and sparked a major face lift in the downtown area.

3. Professional Building, 137 N. Central Ave. - provided centrally located medical offices for the first time in Phoenix. It was built in 1931. This is the largest limestone-sheathed building in Arizona and is an Art Deco/Moderne Style skyscraper. The top story was added in 1958.

The San Carlos Hotel

4. San Carlos Hotel, 202 N. Central Ave. - inspired by the rapid growth of tourism in Phoenix, was completed in 1928. The hotel was a gathering place for residents and Hollywood movie stars. This Renaissance Revival building was one of the first hotels to have steam heat, elevators and air-cooling.

5. The Security Building, 234 N. Central Ave. - with a Renaissance Revival design , this was built in 1928.

6. Title and Trust Building, 114 W. Adams St. - when constructed in 1931, it was the largest office building in Arizona. It was designed by prominent local architects Lescher and Mahoney. The building is a Moderne style featuring travertine and marble floors and etched glass.

7. The Orpheum Theater, 203 W. Adams St. - was built by Henry Nace who arrived in Phoenix in 1910 as an acrobat with a circus. This theater is Phoenix's most architecturally intact and largest remaining theater. It is a unique example of Spanish Colonial revival architecture. It underwent a majr restoration in 1997.

8. Walker Building/Central Arizona Light and Power, 302 W. Washington St. - was constructed in 1920. Built of concrete and hollow tile; an example of Neo-Classic Revival Style. J.C. Penney's was the tenant until 1926, then it housed the offices of Central Arizona Light and Power Company until the 1940s.

9. Historic City Hall/Maricopa County Courthouse, 125 W. Washington St. - was completed in 1928. The courthouse has a combination of Art Deco, Moderne, Spanish Colonial Revival and Renaissance motifs.

The Luhrs Tower

10. Luhrs Tower, 45 W. Jefferson St. - At the time of its construction, the tower and Luhrs Building were the tallest buildings in Arizona. The buildings stand on their original site and are unaltered.

11. Luhrs Building, 13 W. Jefferson St. - was built in 1923-24 (and Luhrs Tower in 1929) by George Luhrs, a prominent Phoenix businessman. This building is an example of Second Renaissance Revival style.

12. The Rosson House/Historic Heritage Square, 115 N. Sixth St. - Designed in 1894 by Phoenix Architect A.P. Petit, this house is a Victorian style. The house, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is part of Heritage Square, which is a downtown display of homes from the original townsite of Phoenix.

13. New Phoenix City Hall, 200 W. Washington St. - This 20-story structure was completed in 1993. It is built of colored, cast-in-place concrete, with tinted double-pane windows.

Search for a historic Phoenix home near any of these sites.

Banks must start lending: Senate panel

Committee grills bankers over $700 billion bailout. Dodd: 'We want to see more progress.'

By Tami Luhby, senior writer
Last Updated: November 13, 2008

NEW YORK ( - Lawmakers pressed bank executives on Thursday to explain how they were using the billions of dollars they've received from the federal government as part of the $700 billion bailout.

Banks are failing to use public funds to make credit more available and to help troubled homeowners, said Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Congress did not pass the bailout plan so banks could hoard the money or use it to scoop up faltering rivals, he said.

"We want to see more progress from our friends in the financial sector, more progress in foreclosure mitigation, in affordable lending, and in curbing excessive compensation," Dodd said. "And if that progress is not forthcoming, we are prepared to legislate."

Members of Dodd's committee covered much of the same ground as they have in recent weeks, demanding that banks use the capital they are receiving from the rescue plan to help stimulate the economy through lending and assist homeowners facing foreclosure. They also renewed calls to amend the bankruptcy law to allow judges to modify loan terms on primary homes. And they voiced support for Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair's plan to help homeowners by having the government backstop a portion of the modified loan.

Bank executives once again pointed to their efforts to increase lending and to work with delinquent homeowners.

JPMorgan Chase, for instance, is lending billions to consumers, businesses, non-profits and municipalities, said Barry Zubrow, executive vice president at JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500). In addition, since early 2007, Chase has helped about 250,000 families avoid foreclosure, and a new program announced last month will aid another 400,000 people. The bank plans to open 24 regional counseling centers to provide borrowers with face-to-face help in areas with high delinquency.

"The [Capital Purchase Program] enhances our ability to lend to consumers and businesses, large and small," he said. "In short, we have been and continue to be open to new business."

That said, JPMorgan Chase will maintain prudent underwriting standards, since irresponsible lending is a main reason America is in its current situation, Zubrow said.

Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500), meanwhile, originated more than $50 billion in mortgage loans and more than $6 billion home equity loans in the third quarter, said Anne Finucane, the institution's global marketing and corporate affairs executive.

Overall, the funding of new loan commitments has increased by 6% this year over previous year, Finucane said. The bank is also actively buying mortgage-backed securities, adding liquidity to this market that's crucial to funding new loans.

At Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500), commercial loans made to mid-sized company are up 24% since a year ago, while consumer loans are up almost 9% in the third quarter compared to a year ago, said Jon Campbell, Wells' regional banking president.

Addressing the 9,000 daily foreclosure filings Senators also heard from consumer advocates who said that banks' foreclosure mitigation efforts haven't done enough. Dodd noted that 9,000 homes a day are still going into foreclosure.

"Voluntary efforts haven't worked," said Nancy Zirkin, public policy director, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights.

Bank executives defended their modification programs and said they are working with investors of securitized mortgages to get their approval to change loan terms.

But they roundly opposed allowing bankruptcy judges to modify loans on primary homes, a measure many Democrats support. Such a change would further drive away investors, who are already skittish about putting money into the mortgage-backed securities market.

"While we need to find a way to stimulate the housing market, do we want to put at risk that market by taking that step," Campbell said.

Addressing lawmakers' anger over lofty executive compensation levels, witnesses also said bonuses and payment packages will be skimpier this year as the economy and corporate performance weaken.

"Compensation also will be down very significantly this year across the firm, particularly at senior levels," said Gregory Palm, general counsel at Goldman Sachs (GS, Fortune 500). "We get it."

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been critical of the Treasury Department's implementation of the bailout of the financial sector.

Democrats are concerned that banks are not increasing their lending, despite getting capital infusions from the government. They also want to move faster to help the homeowner.

On Thursday, lawmakers pressed bank executives on whether they intend to use the bailout funds to pay dividends to shareholders or to acquire healthy banks. They answered no to both.

Republicans, meanwhile, want more disclosure on how the Treasury Department is carrying out the plan.

"Real transparency and accountability are critical to the success of the economic rescue plan, and taxpayers have every right to know how the federal government is allocating tax dollars as part of the program," House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio., said in a statement Wednesday.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday that the government would broaden the reach of the plan to support non-bank financial institutions that provide consumer credit, such as credit cards and auto loans.

In this second stage of the bailout, officials also hope to attract private capital, possibly through matching investments, to give the government's injections more heft.

Paulson also said the government is no longer planning to buy troubled mortgage assets, the original goal of the plan. Therefore, it must come up with new ways to help homeowners and slow the tide of foreclosures, which it had hoped to do once it owned the troubled loans.

Don't wait for the bank and the government to loan you money. Check out how t0 get 100% financing in Phoenix, AZ with a private lender on foreclosures & close quickly with GREAT rates! You won't regret looking if you want to buy a home.

Weekly Commentary on Loans & Mortgages

Weekly Commentary - November 12th, 2008

Thumbnail Sketch: Interest rates bounce like jumping beans, without any trend other than continuing volatility. The reason? Most likely, the investment community is not persuaded that the economy’s continuing problems will do anything but continue, bail-out programs notwithstanding.

Next year, meanwhile, remains a guessing game. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO) recently added some areas to its list of expensive-housing markets, meaning they will qualify for the largest “expanded jumbo” loans. At the same time, though, some areas were demoted.

The important change to remain aware of is that the areas qualifying for this year’s $729,850 maximum “expanded jumbo” and FHA loans will slip back to a $625,500 maximum on January 1, 2009. Buyers wanting to take advantage of the higher ceiling should do so as soon as possible, before it falls.

In spite of buyers’ needs to act on the maximum ceiling for mortgages, the mortgage applications index to the left showed a marked decline in the week ending October 31 (before the presidential election, and therefore based less on politics than on economic conditions). Taken together, all applications for mortgages were down by a stunning 20.3%, with refis plummeting 28.3%. To pour salt in the wound, consider the fact that tough lending requirements mean a good percentage of these applications will end up on the “cutting room floor.”

This suggests, quite plainly, that the lending process has not received much of a boost from the attempted bail-outs. Lending is still a very strict process; few investors are interested in putting their money into the resulting loans and mortgage-backed investments; and the financial giants themselves appear to be more mindful at this point of engineering favorable mergers with ailing financial institutions (given the new tax advantage in doing so) than of re-entering the lending game, though there are some who are paying laudable attention to the continuing needs of distressed borrowers.

One suspects that we will see far stricter treatment by the federal government in the near future, with stronger programs designed to help those facing foreclosure and stronger requirements on lenders to make mortgages from the infusions of taxpayer-funded capital they are receiving. If it is correct that there are many reasons for the real estate market to continue improving—as we believe there are, though they are fragile—then such purposeful programs may result in (1) favorable responses in the investment markets and (2) a faster strengthening of the real estate market. It may be good to prepare for these possible eventualities.

Buying a foreclosure (REO), lender or bank owned property is the way to go. FEW lenders will do 100% fnancing anymore. ZERO down loans are a thing of the past, but there is ONE lender still allowing it. They are a private lender lending at stellar rates as long as you can prove you can afford the monthly payment. For more information, go to 100% financing. Zero down mortgages.

You may also contact Laura Boyajian with DPR Realty, LLC directly at 602-400-0008 and visit her award-winning website at

November 12, 2008


Gold $731.20/ounce [down]
Crude Oil (Brent) $55.77/brl
U.S. Dollar to…
Euro .7968 [up]
Japanese Yen 97.76 [down]
6-mo Treasury Bill Yield 0.91%
10-yr Treasury Note Yield 3.74%
[6-mo down 16 bps, 10-yr down 16 bps]
11th Dist Cost of Funds: 2.769%
30-yr Fixed-rate Mortgage 6.74%
15-yr Fixed-rate Mortgage 6.38%
1-yr ARM 6.26%
[HSH averages rates: 30-yr down 39 bps, 15-yr down 32 bps; 1-yr ARM up 8 bps]

Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Applications Index
week ending 10/31
379.9 (down 20.3%; up 16.8%
the week prior)
Purchase Money Loans
260.9 (down 13.9%; up 8.5%
the week prior)
Refinancing Loans
1075.4 (down 27.8%; up 28.5%
the week prior)

Weekly Jobless Claims 11/1 481,000 first computation –
485,000 prior week (with 6,000 upward revision)

Employment Report Oct
Payrolls down 240,000 (tenth consecutive monthly decline) – unemployment rate jumped to 6.5%

Consumer Credit Sept
Up 3.2% - revolving up 1.2% - non-revolving up 4.5%

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why Is Now a Great Time To Buy Phoenix Real Estate?

Why buying real estate now is incredible timing
October 29th, 2008

The data, especially for real estate, are teasing us at this point. Home prices continue to decline and sales numbers are rising in many areas, on-market inventory is easing, but consumer confidence has plunged.

The headline for was: “Home prices fall by sharpest annual rate ever.” “Ever,” here, means that the Case-Shiller 10-city index fell a bit more than it ever has in its 21 years of existence. In other words, no, we’re not in Depression-era territory here. Meantime, the Case-Shiller index of homes in 20 cities produced a 16.6% decline, as against the 16.3% fall in July. As Aaron Smith and Ryan Sweet comment in Moody’s, “Although the year-over-year rate of decline in home prices grew larger, there are signs that the pace could soon moderate. Over the last three months, the year-over-year rate of change has fallen 0.9 percentage points.”

Meantime, the month-over-month price declines have about been cut in half. “With home sales set to weaken and the financial crisis deepening, though, the chance that prices will fall more quickly cannot be discounted, even if mortgage rates are lower.”

Though the news media continues to report on the real estate market with the assumption that prices will continue to fall for several more months and the market won't recover in the foreseeable future, the signs of gradual improvement continue to appear. Yes, there are investors picking up bargain-basement foreclosure properties--but yes, that's what needs to happen at this point. And the fact that there are buyers, sometimes multiple offers, for foreclosure properties suggests that we're nearing a floor upon which the future real estate market can be constructed.

Another indication that we're reaching that floor was the number of professionals who went to the recent California Association of Realtors convention, and the fact that there was such a positive buzz in the air. This has in the past proven to be an accurate early indicator of an improving market, as it almost certainly will again today.

It is very likely a great time to be buying properties, which is why seasoned investors are doing so, and a great time to be preparing for an improving, firming market. We will watch the developments closely. So far, they're running very true to form, despite the fact that this slowdown has been so unusual in so many ways.

Buying bank owned and lender owned properties is the way to go. The bargains are out there, even at 100% financing with certain, private lenders.

Check out for some homes for sale with 100% financing. That's right...ZERO down, even in today's lending market. Just take a look and see how it's done.

Reasons to Buy Phoenix, AZ Real Estate NOW

Reasons to Buy Phoenix, AZ Real Estate NOW
November 1st, 2008

As the market continues to adjust to the changing economy, a number of factors are coming together in the housing market to provide unique opportunities for homebuyers and investors. For those looking to take advantage of falling interest rates, excess inventory and government incentives, there’s no time like the present.

Increasing Down-Payment Requirements

One factor that’s leading many buyers to act now is the pending increase in minimum down payments required for HUD loans. On January 1st, 2009, the minimum down payment will jump from 3% to 3.5%. A half of a percentage point may not seem like much, but this change will add an average of $1,000 to the down payment on a new home.*

Increasing Rent

As more people move out of their homes and more potential homebuyers decide to wait, renters are facing higher prices and more competition for leases and apartments. As the costs of maintenance, repairs and utilities continue to rise, property owners, rental agencies and apartment complexes must raise their rates to stay aoat. As the cost of renting or leasing climbs, the stability of a xed mortgage payment becomes more appealing for many homebuyers.

Low Interest Rates

Despite the turmoil, interest rates remain steady at near-record lows. Compared to rates at the height of the real estate boom, this can mean substantially lower mortgage payments for those who buy now. Of course, lending standards are tighter now than they were a few years ago, but that means that lenders today are even more eager to work with buyers with good credit. As a result, new homebuyers can lock in at substantially lower rates now than they could have a few years ago, and existing owners can move up to a bigger and better home with little or no change in their monthly payment.

Competitive Home Prices

As the number of potential homebuyers declines, many homebuilders are facing a surplus of inventory homes. Throughout major markets and growth areas, average home prices rose faster than at any time in history. In many of these places, prices reach levels that the average buyer was unable or unwilling to pay, and home values began to drop.

As everyone adjusts to the current market conditions and builders compete for remaining buyers, these prices are returning to normal levels.

Great Selection

Another result of market growth and decline is the incredible selection of homes available. As new communities and developments cropped up throughout major growth areas, innovative floor plans, features and designs helped many builders differentiate themselves from the market. Today, many of those communities are filled with spec, models and a wide range of inventory homes, offering buyers a great opportunity to find the perfect home.

*Based on average home price of $200,000

Call Laura B. today, Downtown Phoenix Homes Specialist and Historic Phoenix Homes Specialist to purchase a Phoenix or Phoenix-Metro home, and, to purchase a lender owned home with ZERO DOWN. 100% Financing!

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