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Builders bullish on local housing market

Article by Catherine Reagor – The Arizona Republic

Metro Phoenix’s housing-market recovery has spread to the new-home market. Building permits, new-home sales and prices have been climbing steadily this year. All are long-awaited positive signs for one of Arizona’s biggest and most-important industries.

Last week, seven builders finalized deals to spend more than $50 million on home lots in the new Mesa community Eastmark, a project being developed by DMB Associates.

The executives visited The Republic to offer details on the project, but the conversation was much broader, including forecasts for the Arizona housing market, homebuyers’ evolving needs, homebuilding’s economic impact and the construction industry’s future. Some of the key points made by the group:

The number of new homes built across metro Phoenix is expected to nearly double this year compared with 2011, to 14,000.

The construction of one new home creates two to three jobs.

Metro Phoenix’s housing market has become a bellwether for a national real-estate recovery.

The group included: Charley Freericks, president of Scottsdale-based DMB; Dea McDonald, general manager of Eastmark; Charlie Enochs, division president, Taylor Morrison; Michael IlesCremieux, vice president of land acquisitions at Meritage Homes Corp.; Paul Kroff, division manager of Woodside; and Andy Warren, president of Maracay Homes.

Question: Describe the state of Phoenix’s housing market now. How does this region’s recovery compare to the rest of the nation?

Enochs: “Phoenix is definitely on the leading edge of the recovery. We have seen remarkable sales velocity and price increases.”

Warren: “We are very fortunate in Phoenix because investor demand has cleared out the backlog of foreclosures. That has helped us transition out of a distressed market to more healthy one quicker than other parts of the country.”

IlesCremieux: “Many investors locally and nationally are saying Phoenix is the bellwether for a homebuilding market coming out of the recession.”

Kroff: “We are bullish on Phoenix’s homebuilding market. We knew the pendulum would swing back, and investor demand for foreclosures helped the market recover faster.”

Freericks: “It’s always easy to over judge Phoenix on the upswings and downswings. But now we are seeing positive signs on every front (of real estate).”

McDonald: “There is shift from resales to new-home sales. We don’t manufacture the market. We follow builders closely to see what deals they can do and what makes sense for their business and homebuyers.”

Read article: www.azcentral.com