Today's Forecast Sunny. Hi 75 Never Windy
Volume 1, December 2008 Edition
Commentary and Perspective from one of
America's most unique small town areas, edited by Preston Westmoreland of
Russ Lyon Sotheby's International Realty.
Was there Really a UFO Crash in Cave Creek?
An Update of last month's column
Upper reaches of the Go John Mine (grey area) were supposedly
the place that locals watched the U.S Government recover the crashed saucer
along Carefree Highway
A Carefreetimes.com exclusive by Preston Westmoreland
I was reading a column by Richard Nilson in the
Arizona Republic about the curious story behind Dreamy Draw, site of a
recreation park and containment dam in Phoenix. Richard gave the theory
behind the naming--that mercury miners, using harsh chemicals to separate
the metal from the ore Cinnabar, suffered neurological effects and went mad.
Some referred to them as "dreamy" and hence the name. He also touched
on the rumors about a UFO crashing in the area. This story has a Cave Creek
connection. Several years ago, a grizzled miner came up to me one night in
Cave Creek, after I emceed a "Meet the Candidates" forum, and what he said shocked me. "You're
not going to believe this," he said, "but a friend of mine watched some
government agents back in the late 1940's, recover and truck away wreckage
of what looked like a flying saucer. They even used one of the
man's freezers to store the bodies in. "Wow, just another night in Cave
Creek," I thought. He told me to look it up in
the book by Timothy Good "Above Top Secret." Sure enough, on
page 394, there it was, a description of a UFO crash just south of the present-day Carefree
Highway. So the story goes, the Cave Creek landfill was placed there to
cover the site. The landfill is closed now.
Debris along with dirt were trucked down to be placed in the
Dreamy Draw Dam along Northern Avenue, a dam that many experts say was never
necessary, and finally, Cave Creek Road was "bent" or aligned further to the
east. I was equally astonished when I told then Phoenix
city-councilwoman Francis Barwood about this and she decided to investigate.
She called me soon afterwards to tell me that many of the records involving
whatever had happened were no longer available or had been destroyed!
There were markings on the old quadrangle map that showed the alignment for
Cave Creek Road moved, an alignment that would have taken it toward the
crash site. Decide for yourself, here's a link to a rare interview done by Mufon,
with the last surviving witness, Paradise Valley businessman and pilot Selmon Graves, who has since passed
away. As a young man, he was the one sitting by the Go John Mine, watching
what must have been an incredible sight. Click on the box below to launch the
video. Please be patient while it loads"
Who was the first pilot to land at Carefree Skyranch and why did it attract
(scroll down for answer)
Moving to the Desert? Would you know which
cactus can tell you direction? A quick and easy way to get help, what
poisonous creatures can be found with a black light? Take the desert
survival quiz and see highlights of the program Stay Alive-A Guide to
Survival in the Desert Southwest. Taped in the Carefree area
Pardon me, While I blow my own horn!Tempe, Az-What a thrill it was to recently be
inducted into the Arizona Broadcaster's Hall of Fame. At a recent dinner at Marriott's resort at the Buttes, I was
introduced by my long-time KTAR friend and host, Pat Mahon (right), who played the
most famous blooper we did together of all. (look below for a link to hear this blooper "how did you learn about sex."
It's a classic. Pat explained to the audience how my radio career at KTAR went 26 years, lasted through 4 companies, 3 buildings, 9 general
managers and 8 program directors. I am very proud of the fact that when I
left and entered real estate, I was still number one in the afternoons in
the Phoenix market. I was able to interview over 27,000 guests,
including Senator John McCain over 35 times and for every office he ran for
in the state. The Senator and Cindy even co-hosted with me for a week
in New Orleans at the Republican Convention. One of the highlights of
my radio career was to fly with the Blue Angels, spend the day underwater on
a nuclear sub, and land on an aircraft carrier. NOW, back to the real
work, and real estate! Here's that link to the best blooper, it will play in
Greetings again to all our
returning visitors and friends. The Christmas season was a busy one in
the area, with luminarias stretching out for miles, serving as markers
for a variety of races and walks, and Christmas pageants. . Downtown
merchants in Carefree were ecstatic with the 5,000 people who turned out
for the new Carefree Festival of Lights, double the number of people
that was expected, in a route going alongside the new gas lamp district.
Next year promises to be bigger, better, with a longer route. The
huge Hidden in the Hills art tour, sponsored by the Sonoran Arts League,
attracted thousands at a variety of stops in the area. The homes of 43
artists were open to tour, with almost 150 artists taking part in
demonstrations and exhibits. Down in the valley, there's anticipation of
the Phoenix area's Light Rail system opening up Dec. 26th. Riders
can check out the new 20-mile-long route for free, the rest of the year.
First pilot to land at
Skyranch was Today Show host Hugh Downs!
Carefree resident and Skyranch pilot Hugh Downs downed a leather flying
helmet and flew into the field in a vintage biplane. The airstrip was
dirt at the time. Today, Carefree Skyranch, with it's array of hangars,
homes and townhomes, is one of the country's most respected fly-in
|Maricopa County Active Listings:
|Maricopa County Actives Last mo.
|Carefree Active Homes (last mo
|Carefree Homes Under Contract
|Cave Creek Active Homes
|Cave Creek Homes Under Contract
|Scottsdale Zip Code 85262 Actives
|Scottsdale Zip 85262 Under Contract
|Paradise Valley Active Listings
|Paradise Valley Under Contract
|Paradise Valley short sale/fore prop
|Most Expensive P.V. Home
|Homes sold in
the last 30 days/1 year ago: Carefree-7/4, Cave Creek
zip 85262- 27/37, Paradise Valley 11/14
Carefree foreclosure/short sales 8 Carefree stayed the same, Cave Creek
short sale and foreclosure total down.
Cave Creek foreclosures/short sales 97
Dead in the Water? An apt description of
the market...unless you're a buyer!Carefee/Cave Creek by Preston Westmoreland
At first blush, it's bleak. A contingent of
heavy-weight developers, who fought to get their bids accepted on huge tracts of
State Trust Land near Desert Ridge, now throw the keys back to the bank, and
defaulted on the purchase. The State Land department takes the land back and
tries to decide what to do. Experts also cite 5,000 spec homes waiting to
be sold, and the available supply of homes, stays the same, around 55,000.
But wait--there's more, at least for buyers. Plunging interest rates, and
desperate sellers, finally waking-up, are giving shoppers with cash the
equivalent of a supermarket shopping spree. One wealthy developer went
around with his favorite Realtor, traveling through the southeast and northwest
parts of the valley, where a glut of new homes remain, pointing at the depressed
properties he wanted to buy. "This one, and over here, that one," he would
announce feverishly, and by the time he was finished, he had purchased an
astounding 150 homes for abut 30 cents on the dollar! But, a warning. .
.don't believe everything you read. The stronger areas of Cave Creek and
Carefree, are not such an easy mark. True, stories are out there about the
woman who bilked medical insurance companies of $ 3 billion dollars, then fled
to South America and parts unknown. Her home, on a prime 10 acre
parcel in Carefree, was appraised for around $ 4 million, and just got snatched
up by a buyer for $ 2,020,000. It can happen, but it takes research. I've
taken a number of buyers around, who insisted on offering 50% off a listed
price, and wouldn't listen to my advice, and most have left the valley
Seller Tips-Act Now on these!!
• Today we are in a declining residential
real estate market.
• More accurately, what we see is a trend
where as prices decline sales are increasing.
• However, the sheer weight of unsold
inventory suggests we haven’t yet hit bottom.
• Add to this the concerns about the
national and world economy looking forward.
• We can reasonably expect it will be many
months if not years before market values return to today’s values.
• In real estate, time is of the
essence. Today we might say time is the enemy.
• Bottom line: To get top dollar today
sellers need to immediately price their house as the next best one in their
market segment of competing properties.
Not a bad time to
be a Buyer, says
by Kenneth R. Harney
Here's a key question about the current market: Do you look at home prices
to figure out where we are in the real estate recovery cycle, or do you
focus on sales?
In an economy where an estimated 35 to 40 percent of all home transactions
are foreclosures or short sales - distress situations in other words --
prices won't really guide you much beyond the conclusion that: We're still
"correcting” the excesses of the boom years, still peeling back those wild
and unsustainable hyperinflationary price run ups.
So it's no surprise that median prices are down, year to year, in a majority
of large markets across the country.
Sales statistics, on the other hand, tell you how fast buyers are responding
to those lower prices -- and greatly improved affordability.
Right now, in market after market, sales are picking up tempo -- especially
in places where prices once spiraled out of control.
Third quarter sales of existing homes in the U.S. were up by 2.6 percent
over second quarter 2008 levels, according to the National Association of
Realtors' latest study.
That's not spectacular -- but let's face it: It's forward movement … and
we're in a recession.
In the Western states, sales were up by 13.1 percent in the third quarter!
In Florida, sales jumped by 5 percent from year earlier levels, while median
selling prices were down by 20 percent.
In a majority of Florida's metropolitan markets, sales were up, year over
year. For example, Orlando sales were 10 percent higher this October than
the year before. Sales were up strongly as well in hard-hit Ft. Myers and
much of the west coast of the state, and Fort Lauderdale, north of Miami.
Similar recent upturns in sales are occurring in many of the California
markets where prices have plummeted during the past two years.
No question that a high proportion of these sales are distress situations.
But that's what the bottom of a real estate cycle looks like: Value-savvy
buyers see the opportunities, move in and mop up the mess left over after
the big party.
Happily, in this cycle, they're getting real help from the capital markets:
Mortgage money is at historically-attractive low levels, and is readily
available to anyone with a down payment and reasonable credit.
Rates fell again last week to an average 6.16 percent for 30-year fixed
loans, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association, and to 5.87 percent on
average for 15 year loans.
If you can spot the opportunities -- and have the resources -- it's not a
bad time to be a buyer.
Published: November 25, 2008.