In Phoenix, million dollar homes can’t sell fast enough

Elliot Swart spent his last day in Boston in June packing his Jeep Wrangler for a four-day one-way trip to Phoenix.

Mr Swart was renting a one-bedroom apartment at the Prudential Center, where 3Derm, the medical software startup he co-founded, was also based. When the coronavirus pandemic closed his office, Mr Swart, in the process of building a permanent remote engineering team, saw the opportunity for a major restart.

“I always knew I loved Phoenix,” said Mr. Swart, who is 29 and now the chief architect of Digital Diagnostics, which acquired 3Derm in August. “I like off-roading, I like the desert. I wanted to stop living in hard mode, but at the same time, I still wanted a city with all the finery of modernity.

Just before New Years Eve, he closed a four-bedroom house built into a mountain bluff overlooking downtown Phoenix for $ 932,000. The home, in a gated community near North Mountain Park, has vaulted ceilings, a master suite with balcony, and a large wraparound patio with a cascading waterfall.

“It’s near Sunnyslope, an area with very good socio-economic diversity and plenty of shops and places to eat within five to seven minutes,” Mr. Swart said. “As a multiracial person myself, it’s nice to be in a place where I don’t stand out like a sore thumb.”

The fifth most populous city in the United States, Phoenix is ​​also one of the most dynamic. Between 2010 and 2019, it experienced the largest numerical increase in population of any city, according to the US Census Bureau. Almost 1.7 million people lived there in 2019.

Phoenix continued to attract new residents during the pandemic, in part due to levels of job growth and wages well above the national average, according to the nonprofit Milken, an economic think tank. . Housing permits in the Phoenix metropolitan area, which includes Mesa and Scottsdale, were up nearly 30% in September from a year earlier.

Now, Phoenix is ​​attracting record numbers of luxury home buyers, even as the summers get hotter and hotter. Temperatures reached 100 degrees and above, a record 145 days last year.

Many, like Mr. Swart, move to other parts of the country where comparable home prices are much higher. “In Boston, you pretty much have to open a stock company to buy a nice house and feel comfortable,” he said. “I pay less for the mortgage than for the rent of my one bedroom. ”

Mr Swart now has space for a home office and heirlooms, like the desk made from a swing that once hung inside his great-grandparents’ house in India.

In 2020, 3,233 homes valued at $ 1 million or more were sold in the Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale metro area, a 56% jump from 2019, according to These sales greatly exceeded other single-family home sales, which saw overall growth of 8%. (News Corp,

owner of The Wall Street Journal, also operates under license from the National Association of Realtors.)

Overall, prices for luxury homes, the richest 5% in the market, have jumped almost 40% since 2015. And the competition for these homes is fierce.

“I have never seen active stocks as low as in the last six months,” said Jay Macklin, a broker-owner of Corcoran Platinum Living in Scottsdale, who said more than 40% of home buyers luxuries that it is that we now work with come from other states, especially California and Oregon.

“There’s a lot of escalation – bidding on asking price, waiving inspections, waiving evaluations,” he added. “These are not good ideas, but people are willing to do a lot right now to find a home.”

Mr. Macklin also goes the extra mile: he created a dozen custom video cards that he started sending out to owners of wanted properties that aren’t on the market, with a personalized appeal to consider selling. “We put it in a FedEx package with a letter from a buyer – ‘I’m looking in your neighborhood, your house is exactly what I’m looking for’ – and an offer,” he said. “We are trying to think outside the box. “

Loot from a Phoenix bidding war

Jared Peterson paid $ 1.9 million for the four-bedroom house in Cave Creek

Mr. Peterson paid $ 1.9 million for the four bedroom house.

Bees on the list

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Shaw nielsen

Jared Peterson, regional vice president of Bay Equity Home Loans in Grand Junction, Colorado, closed a $ 1.9 million home in the Phoenix suburb of Cave Creek in late March after a fierce bidding war. Mr Peterson, 48, a single parent, bought the four-bedroom home as a winter getaway after initially considering vacation homes in Fort Myers, Florida.

Phoenix, just an hour’s flight from its home in Grand Junction, wowed it with its dry, sunny climate and cosmopolitan vibe. In addition, his girlfriend lives there.

“I am a foodie. There are good places to eat. And the retail business there is still amazing, ”he said. “Phoenix has the appeal of it all … but it doesn’t feel like it’s in a big city.”

Listing for the 4,121 square foot home, which includes a large room with retractable doors opening to shaded patios and a large saltwater pool, became active on the last night of a research trip to ‘a weeklong home that Mr. Peterson took with his two teenage boys. Although the Petersons planned to spend their last day by the pool, they rushed out.

Cave Creek home by Jared Peterson, overlooking the central courtyard.


Bees on the list (2)

“We went there on Sunday morning knowing [the seller] had already had two offers, one all in cash, ”Peterson said. “I was trying to keep my budget under $ 1.5 million… but the prices went up even during the eight days we were there. It turned into a bidding war, but we got it on Sunday night. ”

The popularity of Phoenix as a vacation destination has fueled the investment property market. “There are a lot of investors who buy luxury homes to list them on Airbnb,

Said Sacha Blanchet, real estate sales associate at Coldwell Banker Realty in Phoenix. There are few restrictions on short-term rentals, although vacation property owners must register with the city.

Chris Jones, a Brokery Phoenix real estate agent, and his partner purchased a 5,000 square foot home near the Phoenix Mountains Preserve for $ 1.675 million in July 2019, with plans to move there from San Francisco, where they own an apartment.

Mr Jones, 27, spent the next 18 months renovating the house, which includes four bedrooms, a large chef’s kitchen, a heated swimming pool and a putting green, at a cost of around $ 300,000. Now, instead of living there, he rents the house for $ 1,300 a night on Airbnb and crashes into his parents’ guesthouse in Phoenix.

“We would love to be here full time, but the rental market is too good, it’s absolute madness,” said Jones, who divides his time between Phoenix and San Francisco. “A lot of people come for extended vacations. There was less [Covid-related] restrictions and the weather is nice you can eat outside and go hiking.

Phoenix’s business climate was the main draw for Daxs Stadjuhar, 47, managing partner of a financial services company.

He moved with his wife, Kerry Stadjuhar, and their four children from Sacramento, Calif., To a $ 1.35 million home in North Scottsdale in March 2020.

Mr. Stadjuhar’s practice, based in northern California, was looking to expand to other parts of the country. Ms Stadjuhar, 46, home-schooled the children even before the pandemic, giving the family more flexibility to relocate.

“Phoenix was a great hub for doing business,” Stadjuhar said, adding that his parents also live there.

A $ 1.35 million find in North Scottsdale, Arizona.

Daxs Stadjuhar says he is attracted to the region for its business climate

The pool at the Stadjuhar house has a water feature which is a favorite of the couple’s four children.

Mark Lipczynski for the Wall Street Journal

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The Stadjuhar’s five-bedroom home, which has nearly 4,300 square feet of living space, a pool and in-ground trampoline, has been a safe haven throughout the pandemic.

The large room has been transformed into a classroom for the children. Mr. Stadjuhar’s office is at the other end of the house, “as far away as possible,” he said.

Children also spend part of the day doing their homework outside on the shaded terrace, where the Stadjuhars have set up a ping-pong table and a large magnetic chess board. Harris’ owls and hawks visit their backyards, and javelins occasionally wander there. Ms Stadjuhar said the children have become interested in learning more about the animals since the move.

“It’s really hot, but we do more outside here than in California,” she said. “We go out on foot more, and my daughter, two youngest sons and I have started horseback riding.”

The Home of the Stadjuhars is less than half an hour’s drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. Mr Stadjuhar had planned to spend much of last year traveling to recruit new clients, but it didn’t work out that way. “Half of the conversations I had, when people found out I lived in Scottsdale, [were], ‘Hey, I’m going to visit you,’ ”he said.

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