The Carefree Times blog      

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 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"


Today's Quiz?????

Who was the first pilot to land at Carefree Skyranch and why did it attract media attention?                   (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 Windows Media: Blooper
Give us your comment: Email us your thoughts on the area and real estate trends to:




















check out
Welcome Back!

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. 

Who is this guy writing the blog?


Quiz Answer: First pilot to land at Skyranch was Today Show host Hugh Downs!

Answer:  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 communities.

Real Estate Stat Box
Maricopa County Active Listings:  53,728
Maricopa County Actives Last mo.  54,735
Carefree Active Homes (last mo 130)  135
Carefree Homes Under Contract          7  
Cave Creek Active Homes                 486
Cave Creek Homes Under Contract     46 
Scottsdale Zip Code 85262 Actives      880
Scottsdale Zip 85262 Under Contract    35
Paradise Valley Active Listings          533
Paradise Valley  Under Contract          18
Paradise Valley short sale/fore prop     26
Most Expensive P.V. Home listed$18.9mil
Homes sold in the last 30 days/1 year ago: Carefree-7/4, Cave Creek 25/25 Scottsdale zip 85262- 27/37, Paradise Valley  11/14
Current Carefree foreclosure/short sales 8 Carefree stayed the same, Cave Creek short sale and foreclosure total down. Cave Creek foreclosures/short sales    97  




Real Estate Hot Tips

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 empty-handed.
















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

Realty Times

Real Estate Outlook:

Sales Picking Up Tempo
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