Market Update September 2020

Needless to say, our market has been as hot as our summer weather! In reference to the real estate market in Maricopa County for the month of July, Tom Ruff, The Information Market Data Analyst for ARMLS recently stated, “Day after day the news plays like a broken record, but when we look at the July sales data (as reported by ARMLS), it’s all about smashing records. The 10,303 home sales were not only the highest number of sales ever in July, but one of the highest monthly totals ever. Sales normally don’t peak in Phoenix in July; they almost always subside. The high-water mark for sales usually occurs in March, April, May or June. It is now clear that Covid-19 only paused sales, which in turn created pent-up demand. Our market has shown remarkable resiliency.”

The data for August was almost just as impressive. Per Tina Tamboer, Data Analyst for the Cromford Report, the past August was the third biggest August on record just behind August of 2004 which was a close 2nd to August of 2005.

With records being shattered and things changing so rapidly in this market, our clients are relying on us to stay as up to date as possible with the statistics. Here are some of the most recent questions our agents have been receiving from their clients and our answers to those questions:

Is this another bubble? That is a common question we are getting from clients these days. According to many experts in the field, the answer is no. In her weekly Zoom talks with area REALTORS®, Tamboer explains this by introducing the idea that the demand we saw in 2004 and 2005, prior to the burst of the bubble, was not real demand at all. The demand was driven by people purchasing properties under the guise that they would be living in them, when, in fact, they never intended to do so. Because of the number of properties that had been built prior to the bubble bursting as well as the investors buying up properties around the valley, we ended up with a glut of excess homes. Things are different now. Currently, inventory in ARMLS is shockingly low while the data from the Cromford Report shows that demand is staying slightly above normal.

What is fueling the current market? The shortage of supply coupled with excess demand is the perfect recipe to fuel the current market. Experts are saying that they think demand is holding strong because of the low interest rates currently available to buyers. Another interesting thing that could possibly fueling the current market in Maricopa County is the proposed tax increase on the wealthy in California as well as other states. In a recent National Review article, Robert Gutierrez, the President of the California Taxpayers Association said, “The tax hikes would be the tipping point for many taxpayers prompting them to book a one-way trip to one of the 49 states with lower taxes.” Many experts believe that the surrounding states such as Arizona and Nevada would and may already be benefiting from this “wealth flight”.

I have been thinking about selling my home. Is now a good time? Definitely! According to Danielle Hale, Realtor.com®’s Chief Economist, “Sellers are calling the shots in today’s market. Prices are rising and housing inventory is vanishing almost as fast as it appears.” In the same article for REALTOR® Magazine, Hale mentions possible changes coming to the market with the dynamics of uncertainty surrounding the pandemic as well as upcoming election in our country. If you have thinking about selling, we, as well as many expert, would recommend doing it now!

I would like to purchase a home. Is now a good time to buy? Surprisingly, YES! Even though supply is low, homes are still affordable. If you are in the market to purchase a home, now is the time to do it. In a recent article from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), NAR’s chief economist Lawrence Yun stated, “Although housing prices have consistently moved higher, when the favorable mortgage rates are factored in, an overall home purchase was more affordable in 2020’s second quarter compared to one year ago.”

We hope that you found the information in this post to be helpful. If you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out to us via email at info@azarchitecture.com. We would be happy to help you navigate this crazy market. It is what we do, and we love our job!

HOME+WORK with Brent Kendle, AIA – Part Three 

This final conversation of the three-part series entitled HOME+WORK, Scott Jarson pondered life without office and garnered the input from three top design leaders to share their experiences and wisdom. Eddie Jones, FAIA, of Jones Studio, and Luis Ibarra, of Ibarra Rosano Design Architects, were previously interviewed for this blog feature. Scott posited the same five set questions to each of them:

-What are you enjoying most about the space you are working in?

-How have you made things work under the current circumstances?

-Based on your recent time spent there, are there any changes you’re dying to make to your current design?

-With your recent experiences, how do you think this will affect the future advice and design concepts you’d want to share with clients?

-Do you feel that the pandemic experience in America may affect the future of urban design in the U.S. and even influence a return to suburbia?

He wanted to know how this time may have affected their approach, and how they think the future of design may be impacted as a result of recent experiences.

Our final installation of the series features insights from Architect Brent Kendle. Kendle Design Collaborative designs homes that are inspired by the natural beauty of our area and they work in an interesting arts compound on Cattletrack Road in Scottsdale.

SJ: Brent – Your studio is at the Ellis property on Cattletrack Road.  What are you enjoying most about the space you are working in?

BK: Yes. It’s laid back, casual and historic with adobe walls and concrete floors. It’s the antithesis of “corporate office”. It feels like going to your cabin on Mondays instead of heading to the office. It is surrounded by creative artists within an historic artist compound.

SJ: How have you made things work under the current circumstances?

BK: Our staff, except two of us, have been working from home. We collaborate with both staff and clients and interview with potential clients using platforms such as GoToMeeting, Zoom and FaceTime. Rather than sitting at a desk and sketching things while sitting next to my staff, I find I redline drawings and 3D model images, photograph them with my phone and send them to my staff who are working remotely. It’s pretty efficient really.

SJ: Based on your recent time spent there, are there any changes you’re dying to make to your current design?

BK: Dying to make? Not really. I can always think of improvements I’d like to make given time and money, but nothing needed right now out of any necessities caused by the pandemic.

SJ: With your recent experiences, how do you think this will affect the future advice and design concepts you’d want to share with clients?

BK: I think people are thinking more about the importance of a well-designed home since they are spending more time there. They are longing for those experiences they might find at their favorite restaurant, club, resort or other social gathering spot and wishing they had a way to create that in their homes.

SJ: Do you feel that the pandemic experience in America may affect the future of urban design in the U.S. and even influence a return to suburbia?

BK: I have to believe it will change many of the things we have taken for granted. Restaurants in particular.

When a top chef finds, out of necessity, that they can successfully and profitably run an upscale food delivery service out of their kitchen without the expense of renting dining space and the associated help cost, will they decide to do that instead of returning to their former restaurant? When a non-profit finds, out of necessity, to hold online fundraisers rather than the costly renting of ballrooms and the associated staff and hassle, will they opt for that, leaving venues like our upscale conference hotels to have to change their model?

Certainly offices will realize that they can collaborate with staff and clients from a distance, lowering their need to expand their space in order to take on new staff. And, that staff will feel emboldened to request more work-from-home options of their employers who previously felt the need to have their staff under one roof.

…..

A huge thanks to Brent Kendle, AIA, LEED AP, of Kendle Design Collaborative in Scottsdale for helping to round out this three part HOME+WORK series. We are extremely grateful for Brent Kendle, Luis Ibarra and Eddie Jones for each taking time out of their busy schedules to share their insights and wisdom with us.

HOME+WORK with Luis Ibarra – Part Two 

Welcome to part two of a three-part series entitled HOME+WORK. In this series, Scott Jarson pondered life without an office and garnered the input from three top design leaders to share their experiences and wisdom. Scott posited the same five questions to each of them:

-What are you enjoying most about the space you are working in?

-How have you made things work under the current circumstances?

-Based on your recent time spent there, are there any changes you’re dying to make to your current design?

-With your recent experiences, how do you think this will affect the future advice and design concepts you’d want to share with clients?

-Do you feel that the pandemic experience in America may affect the future of urban design in the U.S. and even influence a return to suburbia?

He wanted to know how this time may have affected their approach, and how they think the future of design may be impacted as a result of recent experiences.

Today, Part Two features insights from architectural designer Luis Ibarra who with Teresa Rosano, are based in Tucson, Arizona.  Since 1999, Ibarra Rosano Design Architects has grown to become an internationally recognized award-winning architecture design firm.  Here is Luis’s unique perspective…

SJ: Luis, we’ve all been spending more time in our homes and perhaps isolated in office/studios.  What are you enjoying most about the space you are working in?

LI: We began our careers modeling our firm on the philosophies and practices of my mentor, world renown Australian architect Glenn Murcutt.

He is decisive in keeping his practice a one-man-band. But, as a married couple, we were already off-script — and with several associates too. Yet, his method for staying true to his principles and choosing the best projects by running a lean business has always been at the core of Ibarra Rosano’s strategy. Back then, we were lucky to find a large, inexpensive midtown lot with a tiny little house, upon which we cut our teeth and tested our knowledge.

We built a standalone design studio and rebuilt the tiny house bigger. For two recent architecture graduates, our property proved to be the best finishing school. It has also served us as a great backstop for weathering terrible events and economic storms. We’ve been through many: 9/11, the great recession, and now Covid 19. In spite of the constant uncertainty, we still have in the back of our minds to move to a commercial place, but our midtown quarter-acre property continues to serve us well. Clients who visit the studio enjoy seeing all the experiments we’ve tried on ourselves. And, knowing that we have had our hands on those experiments boosts our clients’ confidence in the constructibility of our ideas.

So, for us, it’s business as usual in our 900 square foot studio in the back lot…Well, kind of.

SJ: How have you made things work under the current circumstances?

LI: The unfortunate loss has been the face-to-face meetings with consultants and clients. We are a personable firm that likes to gather with clients, collaborators and colleagues. Covid has definitely changed that. That said, since our firm has a national reach, we were already meeting remotely with several clients. I guess the silver lining in all this is virtual meetings are now easier to have because newly-improved technology has stepped up to serve necessity, and we are all growing more comfortable with it.

This comfort is expanding our teaming/collaborating possibilities. As more and more consultants, creators, and creatives become available on networks and social apps, the more expansive our services and expertise offerings. We are able to offer clients the top engineers and expert consultants, because the cost of travel is a non issue. As the technology improves, the difference between having a collaborator at my shoulder or across the planet will become less and less noticeable. It’s quite remarkable. And probably a better use of the planet’s resources.

That said, I really miss the day’s end round of beers at the neighborhood pub.

SJ: Based on your recent time spent there, are there any changes you’re dying to make to your current design?

LI: Since we built it as a serious studio, the studio is professional, and well-equipped with several stations and work spaces. I wish it had more space to exhibit our models, awards, and publications, but, other than that, it works quite well — at least for now.

SJ: With your recent experiences, how do you think this will affect the future advice and design concepts you’d want to share with clients?

LI: We have always enjoyed designing homes. Of course, we have already branched out into hospitality, multi-family housing, a gallery, a church, and other civic spaces. But, we have always believed in the power of a well-designed house. I can imagine that homeowners are now beginning to understand that idea as well. When a home is truly well-considered, it can be a great servant, providing for many of our human needs. When it is not well considered, its limited set of opportunities can feel like a trap, leaving us feeling ‘safe’ but stuck. For those who are lucky to live in well-considered spaces, no matter what size or what cost, the home can be both a source of productivity and repose.

Architecture is the instrument through which we make connections, connections between people and their place, between people and each other, and between people and themselves. Whether you are in a big city, a suburb, or out in the middle of nowhere, it’s these connections that we yearn for as humans. Ibarra Rosano’s most important mission is to help people make these connections through architecture.

We are already seeing an influx of clients asking for help in strengthening these connections in their daily lives. Some are asking us to modify their places of work at home, others to create new places that work exactly as they should. These momentous challenges force us to reflect and realize that time is our greatest wealth. And we should spend it wisely.

SJ: Do you feel that the pandemic experience in America may affect the future of urban design in the U.S. and even influence a return to suburbia?

LI: Covid as a justification for sprawl? I hope not. Suburbia has its place as all things do, but the civic cost is tremendous.

Ironically, as we can already see, suburbanites insist on being separated and independent, but, as soon as you obligate them to do so, they can’t wait to rush back in and be closer than they should be to people who could be ill.

But that’s just proof of our human nature. We have a need to connect, to be a part of each other’s lives. I think architecture is the stage where that can happen. I think designers, architects, engineers, and artists have a tremendous role to play in the making of great civic space that allows all of us to share our lives with each other — safely, respectfully, responsibly, and with great equity.

This current calamity will one day pass and leave a great lesson in its wake. If we awaken to it, we will be smarter for it. If not, it or something like it, will unfortunately come again. I hope we take this opportunity to learn and be ready.

…….

A huge thanks to Luis Ibarra, Principal Designer & Co-Founder of Ibarra Rosano Design Architects in Tucson for joining us in Part Two of this blog. Stay tuned for part three featuring architect Brent Kendle.

To Be Concluded…

HOME+WORK with Eddie Jones, FAIA – Part One

As part of a three-part series entitled HOME+WORK, Scott Jarson ponders life without an office and garnered input from three top design leaders to share their experiences and wisdom. Enjoy!

Part One: There will come a time, self-imposed or peer-pressure mandated, that we will begin to return to our workplaces in Arizona.  Many have already done so, the pull of the routine is strong. With our collective work situation changed and changing, we may very well end up back in semi-isolation once again. These experiences redefined the way we work, and as we ponder a future return, we just may draw new conclusions from our recent experiences.

However, this natural longing to return to routine, and the communal disruption to our engrained life-patterns had me thinking about what others have experienced, how they are coping, what changes to their routine might have been made, and where they think our future lay in regards to the concepts of home, and office, and the balance between life and work.

To learn more I reached out to architects and designers whose work and friendships I respect, each of which keep their studios in diverse and creative settings. I posited the same set of questions to each of them:

-What are you enjoying most about the space you are working in?

-How have you made things work under the current circumstances?

-Based on your recent time spent there, are there any changes you’re dying to make to your current design?

-With your recent experiences, how do you think this will affect the future advice and design concepts you’d want to share with clients?

-Do you feel that the pandemic experience in America may affect the future of urban design in the U.S. and even influence a return to suburbia?

I wanted to know how this time may have affected their approach, and how they think the future of design may be impacted as a result of recent experiences.

Our friends Eddie Jones, Luis Ibarra and Brent Kendle offered generous, interesting and heartfelt responses.  We begin with our friend Eddie Jones FAIA in Part One of this blog.  Part Two will feature architectural designer Luis Ibarra, and we will wrap-up in Part Three with architect Brent Kendle. I think you’ll find their insights interesting, I know I did.

We begin today with a conversation with Eddie Jones, FAIA of Jones Studio, Tempe…

SJ:  Eddie, We’ve all been spending more time in our homes and perhaps isolated in office/studios. What are you enjoying most about the space you are working in? 

EJ: Jones Studio is on its 3rd year in our new Studio building. Most everyone works from home until June. We are all anxious to get back to our one big happy family in Studio. We miss the direct and more efficient collaboration. I work and live in beautiful rooms surrounded by nature.

I never not notice my good fortune. The Studio has amber tinted glass surrounding our roof top deck and each morning the low eastern sun casts a beautiful golden shadow, curb to curb, directly in front of our building. I stop my glass topped Tesla in the shadow before turning into my tree lined DG parking area just to “bath in the golden light”. That’s how I begin my day!

SJ: How have you made things work under the current circumstances?

EJ: At 70, I have happily and proudly become quite proficient with my little laptop communicator.

SJ: Based on your recent time spent there, are there any changes you’re dying (perhaps this was a very bad choice of words on my part! -SJ) to make to your current design?

EJ: Can’t be dying when you are reborn every day in architecture and a garden!

SJ: With your recent experiences, how do you think this will affect the future advice and design concepts you’d want to share with clients? 

EJ: My young partner, Brian Farling, said it best the first week into the stay at home quarantine. During one of our many video conference meetings I complimented him on his home space backdrop…wall lined with books, soft north daylight (I have been there many times). He said, “I am so glad I designed my house so I did not have to stay home in crap!” Scott, did you notice the mediocrity back dropping 99.9% of the TV news casters, late night talk show hosts and comedians? Therefore, my design advice will include something about a personal image projecting a personally authentic space.

SJ: Do you feel that the pandemic experience in America may affect the future of urban design in the U.S. and even influence a return to suburbia?

EJ: Urban lifestyles give more than they take. Suburbia just takes. It will all work out for the better.

…..

A huge thanks to Eddie Jones of Jones Studio in Tempe for joining us in Part One of this blog. Stay tuned for parts two and three featuring architectural designer Luis Ibarra and architect Brent Kendle.

To Be Continued…

Market Update July 2020

First off, we must apologize. Over the past few months, the market has changing much more rapidly than ever before. We did not post a monthly market report in May and June because of the weekly shifts that were occurring. We pride ourselves on putting out the most current, up to date information, and did not feel we could do that over those hectic months. However, as real estate agents living living and working through this pandemic, we often hear the same questions over and over from our clients: What is happening with the housing market? Do you think it’s going to crash? Do you think prices are going to go down? At this point in the pandemic, we feel that we owe it to you to catch you up on what has been happening in the market as well as what is being forecasted to happen.

The best, and only, way to answer these questions is by looking at the data we currently have and comparing it to historical data. Initially, we thought this pandemic was going to lead to a pretty hefty recession and thus a possible real estate crash; however, based on the recent data on the economy, unemployment, as well as the real estate market, many economists have revised their forecasts for the remainder of 2020 – and the outlook is actually extremely encouraging! We have compiled for you the following quotes from a few national experts as well as some local data from the Cromford Report to show you exactly what people are thinking about the housing market throughout the end of 2020 and moving into 2021.

According to the Economic & Housing Research Forecast put out by Freddie Mac, “Going forward, we forecast the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage to remain low, falling to a yearly average of 3.4% in 2020 and 3.2% in 2021.” These extremely low interest rates are helping spur affordability in spite of rising prices which certainly is nice for buyers. (http://www.freddiemac.com/fmac-resources/research/pdf/202006-Forecast.pdf)

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Research for the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) says, “Sales completed in May reflect contract signings in March and April – during the strictest times of the pandemic lockdown and hence the cyclical low point. Home sales will surely rise in the upcoming months with the economy reopening, and could even surpass one-year-ago figures in the second half of the year.” (https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-fall-9-7-in-may-while-nar-expects-strong-rebound-in-coming-months)

Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and Industry Forecasting for the Mortgage Bankers Association says, “The recovery in housing is happening faster than expected. We anticipated a drop-off in Q3. But, we don’t think that’s the case anymore. We revised our Q3 numbers higher. Before, we predicted a 2 percent decline in purchase originations in 2020, now we think there will be 2 percent growth this year.” (https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/summer-housing-market-off-to-strong-start/)

While it’s great to see things looking up from a national standpoint, we realize that the most important market to our clients is their own! What are we seeing on a local level you might ask? With employment rising sharply over the past month, things are starting to look up in the Phoenix Metro area too!

In her most recent recap on July 5th, Tina Tamboer, Senior Housing Analyst for the Cromford Report, mentioned that while the number of residential real estate contracts weakened this month, they are still up 11.5% over this exact week last year. Tina did indicate that housing supply, however, is down about 42% from this time last year. Per Tina and the Cromford Report, the statistics show that the real estate market in Maricopa County is no where near balanced right now. In fact, due to the short supply of homes available, there are certain areas in the valley that have as many as eight times the amount of properties under contract than they do for sale. Needless to say, the current real estate market in Maricopa County heavily favors the seller right now. It is, in no uncertain terms, a “sellers market”.

So, what does this mean for you? Well, if you take into consideration the optimistic outlook of the economists mentioned above and the current market statistics from Maricopa County, it means that NOW is a great time to sell! If you happen to be a buyer looking for a home, low interest rates are helping to keep payments low amidst rising home prices; however, because of the low housing supply, it is more important than ever to have a good REALTOR® on your side to make sure you secure the home of your dreams. You will need a seasoned pro, like one of the fabulous agents here at azarchitecture, to help you write an offer that will stand out amongst the competition!

If you have been thinking about listing your property, please reach out to us. We can conduct a thorough evaluation to help you price your property appropriately. We will also determine the precautions that we will take to keep you and your family as safe as possible while your home is on the market, and, last but not least, we will develop a marketing plan that will help ensure you get top dollar for your home in the shortest amount of time. Our ultimate goal is to make this a quick and easy process for you!

If you would like to set up a free home evaluation to find out what your home is currently worth, please contact us at info@azarchitecture.com today!

What makes Scottsdale so great?

Known for its relaxing spas, high end resorts and spectacular golf courses, Scottsdale is an desert city located just east of Phoenix, Arizona. Situated close enough to Phoenix to enjoy “big city” amenities such as professional sports teams and an international airport, but far enough to give you a taste of a serene, desert landscape, Scottsdale has so much to offer!

Downtown’s “Old Town Scottsdale” has buildings from the 1920’s as well as 19th-century olive trees while farther north, scenic trails wind through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a 30,500 acre desert-scape of hills, rock formations and cacti.

If you are an architecture buff, Scottsdale has that too as architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s former winter home and studio, Taliesin West is located within Scottsdale’s 85260 zip code.

While certain areas of Scottsdale are quiet enough to hear the birds chirp, other areas of Scottsdale, such as Old Town, have quite the nightlife scene. This is especially true during the Spring months when Major League Baseball holds their Spring Training Camp, known as the Cactus League in various cities throughout the Valley of the Sun, including Scottsdale.

With big city amenities and a friendly, laid back, Old West vibe, Scottsdale is the go-to place for many vacationers and retirees alike. We believe that it is for these reasons and many more that Scottsdale has attracted the attention of many national news outlets and has recently been voted:

The Happiest City

The Best Place to Quarantine

The Best Place to Staycation

The Best Place to Retire

The Best Place in America to Find a Job (for the 2nd year in a row)

The Best Place to Live

So, if you are looking for the best place to live, quarantine, staycation, retire or work, look no further! Scottsdale is the place to be! Lucky for you, azarchitecture was co-founded by Scottsdale native, Scott Jarson. Scott and the team at azarchitecture know the benefits of living in Scottsdale better than anyone, and we would be happy to show you the in’s and out’s of our lovely home while we help you find the perfect place to do whatever it is you want to do in Scottsdale. Scott and Debbie Jarson have been helping people like you find their unique home in the Valley of the Sun since 1990. So, whether you want to watch an Arizona Diamondbacks game, go mountain biking, visit a museum or have a fancy dinner, we promise to show you everything Scottsdale has to offer as we help you find the home of your dreams! Click here to contact us.

Arizona Falls: Where Art, History and Technology Meet

If you live in the Greater Metro Phoenix area, chances are you’ve been to one of the Valley’s many museums, the Phoenix Art Museum, Heard Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and many more. The Pueblo Grande Museum & Archaeological Park​​​​ serves as the archaeological repository for the City of Phoenix and is rich with artifacts covering over 1,500 years of Hohokam culture. Technology is booming in with companies such as GoDaddy (Scottsdale), Intel (Chandler) and many others have Arizona as their headquarters.

But where can one go to learn about art, history and technology, all in one simple, beautiful outdoor setting? Arizona Falls, along the Arizona Canal between 56th and 58th streets, is the perfect place! The Falls were originally formed by a natural 20-foot drop, and, in the late 1800s, Phoenicians enjoyed this spot for picnics, social gatherings, dancing; prior to air conditioning, this was literally one cool place! Utilizing the flowing water of the canal to produce power, Arizona Falls was also the site of the first hydroelectric plant in Phoenix. Originally built in 1902, the plant was rebuilt by SRP in 1911, began delivering power again in 1913 and was eventually shut down in 1950. As the years passed and more people moved to the Valley, Arizona Falls was almost forgotten as the place to gather — until today.

When the Falls reopened in 2003 as a restored hydroelectric plant, it rekindled the love and need for a neighborhood gathering place where visitors can learn, interact and reflect. The new Arizona Falls combines art, history and technology to generate clean electricity from the canal’s waterfall. The transformation of a historic waterfall by SRP, the Phoenix Arts Commission and the Arcadia neighborhood allows Phoenix-area residents to experience something old and something new.

Click here for more info.

Architecture and Creation in Sunnyslope (Part 2)

The second part in our two-part series about Sunnyslope. Part 1, which was titled ‘A Flyover Guide to Sunnyslope,’ was published on azarchitecture here

The origins of Sunnyslope are inadvertently routed in architecture and design, and they continue as many architects, from both the past and present, have left their mark on the area which lends to its rich eclectic nature.

Architect William R. Norton moved his family from San Francisco to Phoenix in 1907 to recover from the symptoms of black measles and pneumonia, which the dry air and warm climate offered to remedy. The desert landscape in Arizona was picturesque and plentiful — but also cheap.

The name “Sunnyslope” originates with Norton, specifically his daughter Alice. One day, according to legend, while she and her father were on horseback in North Mountain, one of the hills was suddenly bathed in sunlight, which inspired an off-handed comment about the “beautiful sunny slope” before them. The name stuck. So, in 1911 as he continued to expand his architectural firm, he took his daughter’s turn-of-phrase and branded and platted it, as a new 40-acre subdivision between Central and Dunlap Avenue.

At that time, the area’s character was impugned for its status as a tuberculosis camp for those to recover from their symptoms. Eventually Sunnyslope further populated and those once afflicted, but now cured, settled. Subsequently, the wartime workers stayed and then veterans moved in. Following World War II, the reputation of the area leveled out and attracted people you need to grow a community: architects and designers.

Architect Fred M. Guirey and builder John F. Long were two of several designers who built out a couple hundred dwellings in the blossoming North Central Heights, bordered just west of Central Avenue on Hatcher. If you’re on a self-guided tour through the area, Guirey’s homes are more easily identifiable through the pronounced patio space in front. In the 1970s, Paul Christian Yaeger, an accolade of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed a vaguely Usonian-looking house atop one of the area mountains, which azarchitecture listed and sold in 2015.

Flash forward to present and architects still flock to the Sunnyslope area for builds and remodels. James Trahan (of 180 Degrees), Wendell Burnette, Jerry Little (of SEAD Architecture) were responsible for notable, award-winning designs in Sunnyslope, while Eddie Jones (of Jones Studio) is also a fan of the area. Several of the designs, including the Dialogue House and Five Degrees Residence, azarchitecture has represented the past. The architectural office of Marlene Imirzian, with its neat desert landscaping and striking Modern remodel of its MidCentury structure, exists on the other side of Sunnyslope High School on Central Avenue.

If you travel east to the edge of the preserves on Mountain View Road, you’ll find the subdivision of Ocotillo Hills, where the lines between MidCentury and Modern blur alongside each other. Wherever you go, there’s little existence that beige and forgettable is the ethos for anything in the area.

It’s on the rise?

If there’s a thread that runs through the history of Sunnyslope, it’s a perpetual cycle of renewal whenever the more seedier elements threatened to envelope them. In 1999, during one such downturn cycles, salvation arrived in the form of a 12-acre neighborhood retail center, named “Sunnyslope Village Center,” symbolically in the same spot where Norton platted his Sunny Slope subdivision almost a century prior.

Behind the efforts were a mix of local business owners, community leaders and governance working to enhance the areas reputation through a mixture of grants, development and community policing. Anyone with the means of looking to move their business found easy allies in the varied community improvement and business coalitions — and it appears the outreach and revitalization is working (and people are finding Sunnyslope on their own).

“What you are seeing is the envelope being pushed,” said Larry Ortega, in a 2018 Phoenix Business Journal article. “People are starting to discover Sunnyslope has a lot of interesting business aspects.”

In the area, there is an eclectic mix of incomes, housing values, retail and restaurants.

Ortega and a business partner recently then-recently brokered the sale of the midcentury Walgreens Center at 8905 N. 7th St. for $3.3 million. The plaza resides in a high traffic area where three major roads, (7th Street, Cave Creek and Dunlap Road) intersect. In the last 18 months, Little Miss BBQ and a Planet Fitness moved into the same shopping center. As of this writing, a Salad ‘n’ Go, the ultimate sign of an area on the upswing, is set to be built on the spot of a shuttered Jack in the Box.

In 2017, Ladera Cantina opened up, under the same philosophy of Little Miss BBQ, bringing an upscale eatery to an area that normally wouldn’t naturally lend itself to such a business decision. It’s unknown if Tucker Woodbury and Jim Riley, the business partners behind Ladera, were aware that this was the same ethos behind the opening of Corbin’s Bar and Grill, which opened in the exact same building in 2005.

“We’ve done something a lot of people told us not to do,” Kevin McNeill, the owner of Corbin’s Bar and Grill, said, in a community video from 2007. “We’ve opened an upscale neighborhood bar and grill, in an area that people said, ‘Don’t make things too nice, this is Sunnyslope.’ I’m real happy I didn’t listen to them.”

A Flyover Guide to Sunnyslope (Part 1)

The first in our two-part series about Sunnyslope. Part 2, titled ‘Architecture and Creation in Sunnyslope,’ was published June 1st, on azarchitecture!

The luminance of Sunnyslope, an annexed-but-not-quite a town area within the City of Phoenix reveals itself from afar — in the form of a mountain. It’s a place that people from all over the valley have heard of or, at least, have spotted the mountain face from far away. How do they recognize a bluff, you ask? More on that later… The longer you observe, the more you can conclude this neighborhood, which generally spans from 19th Avenue to 16th Street and Cactus Road to Northern Avenue, exudes civic pride.

The history of Sunnyslope is notable enough that a citizen Historical Society and Museum, complete with a resident historian, operates within its boundaries. And, the more you study the area, the more you can understand why. As the spoils of places like Arcadia, Downtown and the Uptown Phoenix area on 7th Street are plundered and redeveloped, many transplants are beginning to find an underrated alternative in Sunnyslope. Now, more about that mountain…

Sunnyslope “S” Mountain

If you’re on approach coming into Sky Harbor Airport from the East side of the Valley, you can make out this 1,500ft mountain face (which is situated on the northern-most face of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve) with its distinctive bold white typeface marked with an ‘S.’ Similarly a trek up South Mountain reveals the ‘S’ to the hiker, as far away as 27 miles away, and maybe farther if your eye catches it at just the right moment while traveling west on the 202.

The origins of this landmark harken back to the early days of Sunnyslope High School. On a hot day in December 1954, a handful of Juniors and Seniors on Student Council, using old World War II walkie-talkies to coordinate, whitewashed the large letter onto the mountain to denote their school. A fever of school pride was a motivating factor, aided by the inspiration of seeing lettering belonging on different high schools everywhere but in the valley. The mountain became a landmark of sorts for students, cruising south on Central Avenue, acting as a North Star to guide them back home, if they got lost.

They accidentally started a tradition at the high school which continues to this day. Each year, freshmen climb the mountain and reapply the decades-thick white paint during homecoming week. You can mark your calendar for this time of year, usually around late September to October on a Thursday, where residents of the houses below can hear the faint, but audible commotion of the school’s freshmen painting their mountain white again.

By 2011, the young area of Sunnyslope marked their first centennial. To mark the occasion as a young, but growing community, the area’s Historical Society submitted the mountain for Historic Preservation designation status, which Phoenix City Council approved with a unanimous vote.

Prior to its historic designation, John Croteau, a resident and former principal of Sunnyslope High School, made the bold statement that ‘S’ Mountain was a secret to the neighborhood’s success and status. “That ‘S’ draws all eyes to our community,” he said, in the Phoenix New Times article, “and we don’t want it to fail.”

“You want the eateries, we got the eateries!”

A scrappy resourceful attitude has always influenced Sunnyslope’s direction. And for a state that’s valued the entrepreneurial spirit of small businesses which outnumber the chains, the neighborhood contributes to that same philosophy. The next stage of this is underway as the character of the neighborhood shifts toward the young professional and their family.

In 2019, a renowned local BBQ joint arrived in Sunnyslope: Little Miss BBQ. The Tempe institution expanded their brand to a high-traffic location, where the flow of the nearby major intersection, branches into five directions. For Scott Holmes, the chef and restauranteur behind Little Miss BBQ, who was already known for motivating people in to dine at areas off the beaten path, the underrated location was attractive to him. It also helped that Holmes already lived in the area.

“There’s a lot of great areas, but I also wanted to go somewhere where it was a bit underserved, which fits Sunnyslope to a tee,” he said in a Phoenix Business Journal story. “We just decided while the market’s really hot, why don’t we go somewhere that’s central where a lot of people live. Sunnyslope is a funny neighborhood, it’s one of those transitional neighborhoods.”

In the last decade this trickle of investment increased into a drizzle. Places like Timo’s, North Mountain Brewery, Il Posto, and Spoke & Wheel are the new neighborhood staples. These restauranteurs flocked to Sunnyslope as part of a new wave of dining, building upon the earlier successes of businesses, like Karl’s Bakery, Grinder’s CoffeeLos Reyes del la Torta and Via Delosantos.

Hold my spot in line — my kid needs to attend this school!

A strange sight happened at the area’s namesake high school in the first days of 2020. Sunnyslope High School, the impetus for a white ‘S’ permanently affixed on their nearby mountain, hosted a few hundred parents who lined up in front of the administration office. Their intention wasn’t to obtain tickets for the next big tentpole film, nor was it their desire to buy a new iPhone. For all the parents, who camped for 36 hours to stake a spot in line, the public school’s pedigree, both an “A” rating from Arizona’s Department of Education and one of Arizona and the nation’s perennially top-rated public high schools, promised superior education for their children that rivaled schools slightly less out of their way.

List with us!

You might be asking why you should contact us to sell your home. In a nutshell, our successful approach is to highlight the best elements of your home and present this directly to architectural buyers. AZ Architecture/Jarson & Jarson Real Estate is the only Real Estate firm in Arizona that specializes in the sale and marketing of Architecturally Unique Homes™ such as yours and has been helping people buy and sell unique homes since 1990! This marketing advantage allows us to bring committed design-oriented buyers directly to you. So, let’s talk about what it would really look like to list your home with us.

Our initial meeting will be just that: an initial meeting to get to know you and your home. No high pressure tactics here. We pride ourselves on being as honest and transparent as possible at all times. Once we have evaluated your home, our final value assessment will be based on the highest possible values and “best of class” comparable sales and active listings near your home. Based on this information we will give you an in-depth pricing opinion.

Once you choose us to represent you and your home, we will execute a listing agreement.

As soon as we have a listing agreement in place, we will begin crafting a marketing plan that highlights all of the special aspects of your home. In order to do this, we will work with you to create your homes individual and very unique story. This story will include all the things about your home that would compel someone to purchase it. This could include features and amenities, historic or architecture significance, and even location. If your home is in need of repairs, we can give you an opinion on how important that repair might be to the sale of your home, and we can even give you references for vendors that can help you make those repairs. We will also offer our professional advice on other aspects of listing a home such as staging, landscaping, inspections, etc.

As soon as necessary repairs are completed and your home is ready, we will begin creating content for marketing your home. Professional photos are a must if you want to sell your home quickly and for top dollar. We offer a variety of different professional photo options for your home as well as 360º Virtual Tours and video. We will work together to determine the media content that will work best for your home. We will use this media to create both digital and print marketing materials for your property.

As soon as the photos of your home are complete, we will list your home on MLS!

Upon activation in MLS, we can begin really marketing your property. Your property will be added to the listings on the azarchitecture listings page and media syndication/real estate portals such as a Zillow, Trulia, etc..

We typically market all of our properties with both print and digital media in order to gain maximum exposure. Depending on the property, and your comfort level, we may plan to schedule a Broker Open House and/or Public Open Houses. You will also receive exposure on all of our social media channels.

Once your listing is “Active” on MLS, we will remain diligent about keeping up with market trends. We will give you prompt feedback on these trends as well as feedback we receive about your home from showings and open houses. As the market changes, it may be necessary to give you suggestions and price opinions throughout the term of the listing. Again, we promise to be as honest and transparent as possible. Our ultimate goal is to get your home sold!

Once the offer or offers coming rolling in, we will be there to represent you during all contract negotiations and will help guide you through the entire selling process. This is part of what we do best! We are here for you!

Closing Day – We’re still here, by your side, making sure things go as smoothly as possible. As soon as everything is signed and recorded, we will also be there (albeit maybe virtually nowadays) to congratulate you on selling your home! So… congratulations! You did it! Now, let’s talk about buying a home with us…

If you are interested in knowing the current value of your home, or if you are interested in listing your home, contact us directly at info@azarchitecture.com to set up a listing appointment.

Seven Homes You Want to Virtually Tour Today!

Are you dreaming of a new place to call home? Perhaps a hip live/work environment would be the perfect space for you or maybe a stunning Spanish Revival style estate fits the bill better. If you are into Mid-Century architecture, you know we’ve got some of that too! Truthfully, there is a little something here for everyone, and you can tour them all virtually! Click on the photo to see the 360º Virtual Tour bought to you by azarchitecture and RICOH Tours!

Modern Gated Montecito Living4362 N. 27th Place, Phoenix, AZ 85016 |  $549,000.00
This highly upgraded 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath home is in the gated fourteen unit community of Montecito situated between The Biltmore, Town & Country and La Grande Orange. This corner unit has only one common wall and great views of Camelback and of Piestewa Peak. More here.

LOLOMA 5 Live/Work by Will Bruder Architect | 3707 N. Marshall Way, #2, Scottsdale, AZ 85251 | $650,000.00https://view.ricohtours.com/8a3767bf-2c68-41aa-a139-c944f78c381b/Located in the Arts District of Downtown Scottsdale, this award-winning and timeless architectural design by Will Bruder FAIA showcases a fabulous palette of materials. This home offers mixed-use commercial office space (or den), 2 bedrooms, roof terrace, and a view patio aligned with local street views. More here.


The Theurer Residence by William P. Bruder, FAIA
12236 S Tonalea Drive, Phoenix, AZ 85044 | $899,000.00 (Currently Under Contract. Accepting Back-up Offers!)

This significant home was originally designed by Will Bruder. The Theuer residence, or “Desert Shield” as it was named is curvilinear in plan. The home radiates in a sweeping curve that pivots from a single center-point 50’ into the garden, allowing the home to embrace the site, and every room to connect directly with views to the outdoors. More here.

Dreamy Draw Modern by Rothwell Architecture | 10046 N 23rd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85028 | $1,149,000.00

With timeless architecture by owner/Architect Susanne Rothwell, of Rothwell Architecture, this home captures light from every direction while maintaining a sense of shelter and privacy. This Mountain Preserve area home is located in TEN CLIFFS, a small community of custom homes conveniently located in the Dreamy Draw/Shea Corridor. More here.

Camelback Views on a Half-Acre Lot | 4438 E Arlington Road, Phoenix, AZ 85018 | $1,250,000.00

Beautiful Camelback mountain views on a private, secluded, corner lot, this home is hot, hot, hot! Perfect for a home-based business with six bedrooms in the main house and five separate exits. The guest house is fully functional with one bedroom, one bath, a walk-in closet and a full kitchen. More here.

PV Mid-Century Modern with Camelback Views | 5343 E Lincoln Drive , Paradise Valley, AZ 85253 | $1,675,000.00This Mid-Century Modern gem was originally designed in 1956 by Architect Blaine Drake and carefully re-envisioned in 2010 with unifying design and thoughtful additions by Architect Jack Black, AIA. Completely updated, this home offers a wealth of high-design features in a turn-key package for the discerning buyer. More here.

Spanish Revival Retreat by Architect Barbara Csaki | 9110 N 70th Street, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253 | $2,595,000.00This Spanish Revival Retreat by Architect Barbara Csaki was fully rebuilt in 2006 on this pristine Paradise Valley lot. You see true artistry upon entering the round speakeasy door w/beamed & vaulted ceilings. The hand finished Venetian plaster, Canterra & imported tile from Spain exude old world elegance. Every corner has romance from the Hermosa Inn blue french doors, the sand cast tile roof, to the private rose garden & the many fireplaces. More here. 

If you would like a private tour of any of these homes, or any other properties we have listed on our site, please email us at info@azarchitecture.com. We would be happy to help you!

 

12 Questions with Alexis Magness!

GET TO KNOW THE AZA STAFF! We’re all in our own corner of the world right now, looking for human contact in the midst of Social Distancing!

We have a diverse and eclectic staff we’d like our friends and followers to meet! So, in the upcoming weeks, we will introduce them to YOU! They’re more than just a name and a face!

Where are you from?

“Born in Phoenix with a three-year stint in Sunnyslope, but raised in Gilbert, Arizona (go Tigers)!”

What do you do for fun?

“I love all things music, history, art and architecture and expanding my knowledge of all. I also love to cook — shout out to my husband, Patrick, for teaching me! He’s a rock star chef. He can make something spectacular out of a few ingredients. He taught me how to make a roux! I love crossword puzzles and gardening as well. I’m also a bit of a hoarder/collector/bargain hunter, so I LOVE shopping at thrift stores and yard sales. I also love accounting but hate math (go figure, pun intended). I’m a bit of an oxymoron, I guess!”

What is your favorite movie?

“I am TERRIBLE with favorites, but I’d have to say ‘Dumb and Dumber.’ Jim Carrey is my idol. I laugh harder every time I see it and I quote it more than any other movie. “You can’t triple stamp a double stamp!” and “You’ll have to excuse my friend. He’s a little slow. The town is back *that* way.” And who could forget “We got no food, we got no jobs… our PETS’ HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!” You can pretty much use these on a daily basis in the right conversation.”

What is your favorite restaurant?

“Another hard choice, but I love Chelsea’s Kitchen. You just can’t go wrong there. We tried to get them to ship a red velvet cake to us in Arkansas (don’t laugh, look up E. Fay Jones’ Thorncrown Chapel) for our wedding, it’s THAT good. I love the ambiance as well. It’s like having dinner at your friend’s house.”

What is your favorite favorite food?

“Well, what do you know, I DO have a favorite: PIZZA. Hands down. Thick, thin, soggy, crunchy, plain, loaded, cheap, pricey. Sounds like an Ariana Grande song… Let’s just say, if it’s got dough, sauce and cheese, it has my name written ALL over it.”

Who is your favorite sport/team?

“The Saints. I am a huge NOLA fan, Patrick and I visited and fell in love with all things New Orleans on our honeymoon.

True Story: I was never much of a sports fan until I started watching the NFL with Patrick. He’s from Chicago, so he’s a Bears fan, and I told him I needed a team (NOT the Cardinals). He said if he picked my team, I would have to support them. I agreed. He picked the Saints. I said, ‘Now that they’re my team, they’ll go to the Super Bowl!’ Patrick laughed and said they’re so bad, they’re called The Aint’s’! They ain’t going to the Super Bowl. I should have placed a bet (or two or ten) because they WON the Super Bowl that year. And they’ve been my team ever since 2010.”

Who is your favorite architect?

“Patrick Magness, my husband. He’ll say I’m biased but it’s true. I have too many runners up to list, but the fact that I told Patrick that the Burton Barr Central Library was one of my top three buildings in town when he asked me what they were, guaranteed a second date with him.”

What is your favorite quote?

“‘Let’s run it again! Run it again! Let’s go!’ — Katie Sowers, Offensive Asst. Coach for the San Francisco 49ers. I also love ‘Do you feel lucky? Well do you, punk?’ Yeah, I really do. And Clint Eastwood is another idol. I wanted to name my son Dirty Harry but I’m glad I named him Jordan instead.”

What is your favorite place to travel?

“London. I believe I was British in a former life. A close second is Scotland. Both have a deep, ancestral feeling that resonates with me.”

If you weren’t a real estate agent, what would you be doing for work?

“I actually left my rewarding job with azarchitecture as a Graphic Designer/Marketing Director to pursue full time sales, so that’s probably what I’d still be doing for work. Either that or I’d be working in an eel shop in London. ‘Can I interest you in adopting an eel, sir?’ No, not that kind of eel shop. A jellied eel shop. As in you eat them. I wanted to work at one when we lived in London but Patrick said, ‘You are NOT coming home smelling of eel!’ Point taken.”

What is the funniest thing that has happened to in your real estate career?

“It also happens to be the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me in my career. I was showing a house after a very LARGE cup of coffee and had to use the facilities. I excused myself, left my clients in the front of the house, and ran to the back bathroom just in time. I then discovered THE WATER WAS TURNED OFF. Fortunately, the clients were my sister and her significant other, otherwise this story would have been much, MUCH more embarrassing rather than funny. TMI I know. But you asked…”

What is your favorite part of the job?

“I live for doing what “can’t be done.” Closing a difficult or seemingly impossible transaction is so rewarding. I’m like a child because I haven’t been in the business very long. I don’t know any better so I always expect the best possible situation and believe in it with all my heart.’