The Carefree Times blog      

Today's Forecast Sunny. Hi 75 Never Windy

Volume 3, January 2010 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.

















































Cave Creek Home featured by the Wall Street Journal  Cave Creek, AZ (PW)-

One of the great homes in Arizona was selected to be featured by the Wall Street Journal, which profiles the greatest residences in America for their online series.  This 10,000 sq. ft. Tuscan mansion on it's own mountain is visible all over the area, offering the most land you can get with any home in the entire Phoenix area, 75 acres.  With antique oak hardwood floors, a gourmet outdoor kitchen perched on a hill by the pool, it's own private nature trail, it even features a bedroom that spans the top of the mountain for sunrises on one side and sunsets on the other. The home has also been featured by Fox10 News, where the commentator exclaimed "this has got to be the greatest home we've ever featured.  The home had been listed for sale for over $ 16 million dollars and has now been reduced to $ 11.75 million. An aerial photo (below) outlines the approximate property boundries for the estate.

Coming next time:  History of the Carefree Studios.  Why Hollywood flew over the crews every week to tape the "New Dick Van Dyke Show".  The studios are gone now, but we'll show you what was there, then. . .and now!
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Quiz Answer: No, there was no snow in Carefree this year, despite the fact that on Jan 21, we had the worst rainstorm in 17 years with over 3 inches of precipitation. This snow bank is leftover from the wildly-popular Winter Carnival activities held right before Christmas and the huge Electric Light parade, which drew thousands! Snow was brought in for the children to play in one morning.
Real Estate Stat Box
Maricopa County Active Listings: 34,835
Maricopa County Actives, in 7/09  31,400
Carefree Active Homes (July,09 117)  120
Carefree Homes Under Contract         14  
Cave Creek Active Homes(7/09 360)    365 
Cave Creek Homes Under Contract     365 
Scottsdale Zip Code 85262 Actives      616
Scottsdale Zip 85262 Under Contract    94
Paradise Valley Active Listings          440
Paradise Valley  Under Contract          56
Paradise Valley short sale/fore prop     52
Most Expensive P.V. Home listed$27.5mil
Homes sold in the last 30 days/1 year ago: Carefree-8/2, Cave Creek 45/35 Scottsdale zip 85262- 51/19, Paradise Valley  27/11
Current Carefree foreclosure/short sales 20,  (14 in 7/09) , Cave Creek short sale and foreclosure  116  (84 in July, 2009)

Today's Quiz:  So how much did it really snow in Carefree this winter? (see below for quiz answer photo taken on Easy St)

Real Estate Hot Tips

The Buyer Light is ON!   Carefree/CaveCreek     Commentary from Preston Westmoreland

I knew things were changing when a couple wanted to see a bank-owned home that just came on the market in Carefree for $ 470,000.  It had been priced in the $ 800,000 range before the summer as a short sale.  We got down to the home, in a desirable gated community,  to find other Realtor cars lined up to go in.  "It's already sold" one yelled out at me.  It was amazing to see a bank get such a strong offer in one day, they didn't even want a back up offer.  So we left to look elsewhere.  I had seen the same kind of frenzy with a bank-owned home we listed a while back, in Estancia, Scottsdale's best address.  It was was a brand-new high end 6,600 sq. ft. home with all the bells and whistles, listed for $ 1.3 million. Fox TV cameras even came out to do a story.  We sold that in one day, way over the asking price,  and had about 45 Realtors in 3 days call us. I still get several calls a day on the home, months later! One high-end real estate office in Carefree closed over   $ 12 million in property the first two weeks of January, more than any full month ALL last year.  This year, unlike the last two, has a huge buying season beginning.  Every agent I've talked with reports incredible buyer interest right now.  Yes, loans, especially jumbo, are tough to get, but these are wise buyers who have the cash to make it happen, and what deals they are getting! Will we see you?  Hope so.






















A Tale of Two Cities, the plot between Carefree and Cave Creek-"they own the same sunsets, but that's about all!"  by Thomas Ropp, The Arizona Republic

Cave Creek: A local historian insists the town's incorporation 25 years ago was forced by "threats" of being scarfed up by neighboring Carefree, not Phoenix or Scottsdale as commonly believed.   "Back then, Phoenix and Scottsdale were still a long way off," said Beverly Brooks. "But the Carefree Development Company had it's sights on Cave Creek."

Brooks,  the Cave Creek Museum's historian and local resident since 1958, appeared before the Cave Creek Town Council and presented a 30-minute history of Cave Creek.  Most of her report focused on Machiavellian schemes cooked up by the founders of Carefree to eliminate Cave Creek.

    "The Carefree Development Company portrayed Cave Creek residents as peasants who would serve Carefree," said Brooks.  According to Brooks, the Carefree founders literally tried to wipe Cave Creek off the map by submitting information to map publishers showing an expanded Carefree and no mention of Cave Creek. She said they also tried to have the Cave Creek Post Office relocated to Carefree by inundating the regional postal office with lies about poor service from Cave Creek residents.

"But one of the worst assaults," Brooks said, "was when the Carefree Development Co. bribed the county board of supervisors with $ 20 to change the name of Black Mountain Road to Carefree Highway, over protests from Cave Creek residents.   "The only good thing to come of this was songwriter Gordon Lightfoots song Carefree Highway," Brooks said.  The song has sold millions of copies worldwide and made Carefree famous.

    Former Carefree Mayor Ed Morgan said he's never heard these stories and he would have, when he visited the area in the 1960's, when Carefree was just beginning to be built.  "Hopefully, our modern day relations are much better," Morgan said.

     Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francis said he has heard the stories but never in the kind of detail elucidated in Brooks report.

    "Miss Beverly is a community treasure," Francia said.  "She is the Arc of the Covenant when it comes to Cave Creek history.  Today, Francia characterizes relations with Carefree as "good" but admits there is still a little bad blood residue which sometimes comes through in local jokes."

Two distinct communities. Cave Creek's Big Earl's  Greasy Eats (above) and Carefree's private airport at Skyranch (below) , show how different the two adjoining communities are..


2009 Sales Pace driven mainly by foreclosures

by J. Craig Anderson - Jan. 15, 2010 02:01 PM
The Arizona Republic

Lenders in 2009 foreclosed on about 41,000 single-family detached homes in Maricopa County, according to a report from Arizona State University. That's more foreclosures than the Valley has seen during any previous year on record, accounting for more than 35 percent of all existing-home transactions, the report said.

Its author, Jay Butler, associate professor of real estate at the W.P. Carey School of Business, said overall home-resale volume in 2009 rivaled that of the real-estate boom's peak year of 2005, but for all the wrong reasons.

"That (2005 sales volume) was ... due to rising home values and a type of euphoria about real-estate investment

," Butler said. "Now we're seeing a totally different type of activity driven by foreclosures." 

Foreclosures were up in December, at 4,060, compared with the previous month's total of 2,985, and the median single-family home price decreased to $140,000 from $143,000 in November, according to the ASU report.

Home resales increased, with 5,740 sales in December compared with 5,350 sales the previous month.

Compared with December 2008, foreclosures increased about 31 percent, the median resale price was down 4 percent, and resale volume was up 33 percent.

Some local analysts include parts of Pinal County in their data, but ASU's data include strictly Maricopa County. Both data sets showed similar trends.

Reach  the reporter at:

craig or 602-444-8681.