I love it down here. I really do. The weather is great, it is clean, the shopping is fantastic and everyone is pursuing the American Dream.

Real Estate is in turmoil, foreclosures are a daily event, bankruptcy is the norm and yet everybody keeps spending. Lord help them when they stop.

When ever Colleen and I travel we look at real estate. It has been that way for 20 years and we aren’t going to change. It is part of the vacation, trying to see if you could fit into that location. Over the years we have made a few purchases so it’s not like we do it in vain.

So it was only natural that we have been looking at real estate here in Arizona since we arrived (on-line before we left really). We have looked at everything from condos in Peoria and Mesa to houses in Maricopa, Queen Creek and Sun City West. We have looked at homes with prices from under 100k to over 400k. There is something for everyone down here.

Most recently we have focused our attention on a small town south of Phoenix called Maricopa. Maricopa was incorporated as a city about 5 years ago. Up till then it was a sleepy little town of a couple hundred people living a quiet life just off the Pinal Indian Reservation. By December 31, 2005 it had a population of 15,934 and by December 31, 2006 the population was over 30,000.

This “Hyper Growth” was spurred on by it’s close proximity to Phoenix an abundance of jobs and it’s inexpensive cost of housing ( relative to Phoenix). The town turned into a small city literally over night.

When the Sub-Prime fiasco hit Arizona, Maricopa would not be spared. When mortgages came due for renewal at a higher rate, people just turned in their keys loaded up their cars and left their dreams behind.

Today Maricopa stands quiet. It’s neighborhoods have been left empty in the desert with literally thousands of homes up for sale or in foreclosure. Prices have dropped 20-30% in the last year alone. And it’s along way from being over. And yet they keep building and selling the dream to new home buyers.

That’s right, the game goes on. With all the media awareness, the crashing stock markets, the foreclosure’s and bankruptcies the best deals to be had are in New Built Homes.

So how is it that so many young couples can move right into their dream home with little or no money down? That is the easy part. First the builders set a price on their homes. The full prices are actually a pretty fair price considering where I live. Then they offer massive “incentives” to the buyer 20- 35% of the initial cost. Then they make the down payment available.

An example would be a house selling for $149,000 would have approximately $35,000 in incentives and upgrades allowed for it (bringing the price down to approx. $110,000). If the buyer has no money to put down, the builder makes a donation to a NON-Profit organization (that has been set up for just this purpose). The non-profit organization then makes an outright gift to the buyers , in the amount of the down payment required, in order to help young Americans reach their dreams. What ever money the builder has donated to the non-profit organization would come off their incentives. Bang! They are in. No money down and no invested interested in the home. When the rates or payments get too high just walk.

So the New Home market is doing just fine in Maricopa thank you very much. Thousands of 2 and 3 year old homes sit vacant in the desert but if you really want a deal, check out the New Built homes in Maricopa.

The market will turn around someday and Maricopa will once again be a vibrant little city south of Phoenix. There are some great deals to be had and I just may take advantage of one of them. It is obvious the builders, developers and lenders are not prepared to straighten things out on their own. It will take government intervention with more lending rules and penalties for those that don’t follow the rules.

Oh, by the way Queen Creek, Arizona City and a few others tell the same story.

Just something I thought you would like to know.

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