from" /> More Phoenix Area Homes Sport Million Dollar Price Tags As Housing Prices Recover

More Phoenix Area Homes Sport Million Dollar Price Tags As Housing Prices Recover

More Phoenix Area Homes Sport Million Dollar Price Tags As Housing Prices Recover

Sun Nov 3, 2013 11:51 PM
By Catherine Reagor and Ronald J. Hansen
The Republic |

Click Here to Search all Million Dollar Arizona Homes

Like the economy, the supply of million-dollar homes in metro Phoenix is bouncing back.There are 7,400 such houses in the Valley, according to the latestdata from the Maricopa County assessor. Most are in Paradise Valley and north Scottsdale, but mini-mansions and sprawling estates also are popping up again in Peoria and Glendale. In the southeast Valley, almost 200 houses are worth $1 million or more.Condominiums worth seven figures are located in Scottsdale, Tempe and central Phoenix.Before the housing crash, there were more than 18,000 million-dollar homes in the county. Although these priciest of homes belong to familiar faces and occupy outsize spaces, million-dollar properties remain a rare commodity in Maricopa County.Just 0.6 percent of residential parcels in the county have been assessed at $1 million or more, based on market values in 2012, anArizona Republic analysis of the assessor’s data shows. That varies, however, from Paradise Valley, where one in three homes carries such lofty value, to Surprise, where only one of the 46,000 homes there is worth the biggest bucks.Among those who own metro Phoenix houses worth more than $1 million are professional athletes, sports-team owners and agents; rock stars like Alice Cooper; heirs to large businesses including Walmart, Campbell’s Soup and Spam; politicians such as Sarah Palin; TV commentators including Joe Garagiola and Hugh Downs; entrepreneurs like the founder of; and manybusiness executives.Multiple kitchens and pools, more bathrooms than bedrooms, rare-stone facades, huge garages, guest houses, mini movie theaters, wine cellars, indoor athletic courts and extreme alarm systems are the norm in most of the Valley’s million-dollar homes.The Republic’s analysis broke down the prices to see how many mansions cost more than $2 million, $3 million, $4 million and $5 million — and where.Sixty-seven homes in metro Phoenix are worth more than $5 million.“There are a lot more million-dollar homes in the Valley, and we are drawing buyers from around the world,” said Cheryl Solano, an agent with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty in north Scottsdale.She has the listing for the historic 52,000-square-foot McCune Mansion in Paradise Valley, which ranks No. 9 on The Republic’s latest list of most expensive homes.Priciest mansionsA review of the 12 priciest houses in Maricopa County shows most are in Paradise Valley, nestled within blocks of each other. There is, perhaps, no more exclusive area than Cameldale Way, where all eight of the homes are worth between $2 million and nearly $11 million each.The most valuable home in metro Phoenix is worth $16.95 million, with views of both Mummy and Camelback mountains.The 31,000-square-foot Paradise Valley mansion first topped the list of most expensive houses in 2006. At the end of the housing boom, it was worth $28 million, according to property records. The estate was built and is still owned by Robert and Robin Sussman. Robert Sussman is president of the New York City-based hedge-fund company Bentley Capital Management.The home has an 18-car garage and a water walkway connecting the pool at the back of the main house to a guest house.Two of the 12 most expensive houses are in north Scottsdale’s high-end housing community of Silverleaf in DC Ranch. Trucking executives and brothers Kevin and Keith Knight have homes valued at more than $10 million less than a half-mile from each other.Valuations for this year’s list are based on the most updated data, which is from 2012. Already, home prices have climbed 30 percent in 2013, so the number of million-dollar homes in the Valley could jump next year.“As prices increase, an $800,000 home can easily become a $1 million home and make the list,” said Mike Orr, real-estate analyst with the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “So the counts are definitely getting bigger.”There are 4,600 homes worth from $800,000 to just under $1 million. Also, seven new homes were built in September in metro Phoenix that cost more than $1 million, Orr said.During the housing crash, it was rare for a seven-figure house to be built.$1 million in cashMost metro Phoenix million-dollar homes are now bought with cash. Before the crash, many people counting on prices to continue to climb put very little down and took out huge mortgages.Many of these homebuyers with big mortgages lost their homes to foreclosure or were forced to sell through a short sale. There are still a few $1 million foreclosure homes.In 2011, a Paradise Valley house worth $10.5 million was owned by M&I Bank. The house’s previous owner, former Taser International Chairman Phillips Smith, had given it back to the lender.This year, the priciest foreclosure home is worth $9.3 million and was taken back by JP Morgan Chase Bank. The house had been owned by Richard and Nancy Joaquim.Financing for jumbo mortgages has been tough to find until recently. Now, the rate for a five-year adjustable-rate mortgage is below 3 percent. A year ago, the rate was above 5percent. During the crash, few investors or banks were willing to make jumbo loans.“The many cash buyers for luxury homes have made it easier for buyers who need mortgages,” said Jay Luber, president of Phoenix-based Galaxy Lending.

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