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Map of the Month – January 2011

Pending Solar Projects


Solar Farm Proliferation! 

On a recent appraisal/consulting assignment we were amazed at the number of potential solar projects just in (western) Maricopa County. We have no idea how real each of these proposed projects is; but according to public records as mapped, 135,000 acres, 210 Sections, or almost 6 Townships are in play.

  To download map click here:  Solar Farm Poliferation! (PDF)





Map of the Month – February 2011

Ranking Metro Phoenix High Schools, 2003 - 2010


The first complete examination based on AIMS ( Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards) testing was given in 2002.


This month’s map compares 2010’s high school performance with 2003’s. As shown, comparative high school rankings haven’t changed in 8 years. However, the 3 lowest ranking high schools (based solely on AIMS test scores) have improved dramatically with at least 50% meeting or exceeding the standard in 2010.

The flip side is that, over 40% have not.


(Maps & Facts has been mapping school test scores by attendance boundaries since 1997)


To download map click here: Top-Bottom 3 High Schools (PDF)




Map of the Month – March 2011

Percent Change in FCV 2011-2012


This month’s map depicts the reduction in Maricopa County’s median Full Cash Values (FCV) by city.  This doesn’t mean your taxes will go down!  Your taxes are a function of both FCV and the budgets necessary to run our governments.


I want to acknowledge and thank Keith Russell, MAI our County Assessor for presenting this information.  It is available on the assessor’s website at:


It is also important to recognize that these Full Cash Values are based upon transactions, including REO (Real Estate Owned) prior to January 1, 2010.  The appeal deadline for administrative appeals is April 26th.  Alternatively, a property owner can appeal directly to the Arizona Tax Court by December 15th.


To download map click here: Percent Change in FCV 2011-2012 (PDF)



Map of the Month – April 2011

10,000 Home Sales in March!


ARMLS reported there were 9,996 house sales in Maricopa and Pinal Counties in March.  A welcome and positive showing.  This month's Map of the Month shows where the most sales are located based on Maricopa County Recorder records.  All price ranges were comparatively well represented, ie: from $5,800 to $4,000,000, and, all parts of the Valley were active. 


To download map click here: March 2011 Home Sales (PDF)






Map of the Month – May 2011

School Test Scores as a Proxy


School Test Scores: A Proxy for Non-Residential Real Estate Decision Making


From time to time friends and clients ask: Why we track residential data including our 20 year running “ Best Schools / School Performance Maps”?  Other than the data's educational interest, we consider comparative school test scores to be an indicator of broader indices and trends at the submarket level.


This months Map of the Month highlights Median Household Income within selected high school attendance boundaries.  As shown, the high schools with highest AIMS scores also represent sub-markets with high Median Household Income.  Conversely, and unfortunately, high schools with the lowest AIMS scores represent submarkets with low Median Household Income.


Our point is that there is a high correlation between school performance and other non-residential data including commercial real estate prices, rents, occupancy, absorption, marketability, capitalization rates, financing, crime rates, and more. 



To download map click here: School Test Scores as a Proxy (PDF)




Map of the Month – June 2011

Change in Full Cash Values: 2008 through 2012


This month’s map depicts the change in median Full Cash Values (FCV) from 2008, the peak tax year, to 2012 the most recent year.




1.      The Assessor’s FCV is based on market conditions as of January 1 of the prior tax year; i.e. tax year 2008 is based on market conditions as of January 1, 2007 which, of course, is based on 2006 and older sales.  2012 is based on market conditions preceding January 1, 2011


2.      But, real estate taxes do not go down!  The tax rate is adjusted to offset decreases in FCV.  All things being equal, if the budget stays the same, and if FCV remains the same, individual property taxes will remain the same.


3.    At MAPSANDFACTS.COM we have a chart depicting median FCV for each year from 2006 through 2012.  While not a paired or repeat sales database, it is a gross proxy for changes in value.



To download map click here: Change in FCV 2008-2012 (PDF)






 Map of the Month – July 2011

Class A Office Vacancy %


Earnings Season!


It is always fascinating to observe the stock market. After each quarter, publicly traded companies report their earnings and the market reacts overnight i.e.: Apple vs. BAC. However, there is always a story behind each and by the next quarter the stars will have aligned differently! Real Estate appears to do the same. The July 27th Wall Street Journal, Business Day (Page B-6), discusses how the classifications of office buildings in Manhattan (Trophy, “A”, “B”, & “C”) vary from firm to firm, and implicitly geographically and quarterly, making most historic comparisons perilous. Like the stock market, real estate observers have to look at the bigger picture over time.


This month’s map depicts CoStar’s Class “A” 2Q 2011 office vacancy rate by submarket and number of buildings showing this quarters “Apple's”, i.e. Chandler/Deer Valley; and “BAC's”, i.e. Glendale. However, Valley wide the Class “A” office vacancy rate hasn’t changed from 2nd Quarter 2010: 25.1% vs. 24.9% in 2011.


We shouldn’t get excited about a trophy “recovery” until market wide occupancy increases over at least several quarters in multiple sub-markets with corroborating support from jobs and net population (household) increases. So far, total occupancy is still flat. Stay tuned.


To download map click here: Class A Office Vacancy % (PDF)







Map of the Month –August 2011

Good News: Update for Lender Owned Listings



Our December 2008 Map of the Month depicted the 5000 + Lender Owned Properties (ARMLS Listings) in Maricopa County.  This month’s update depicts only about 3,000 Lender Owned Listings (LOL): a decline of about 2,000. Interestingly, at least 1,500 of the 2,000 are located west of I-17: a 75% reduction from the 2008 numbers. Our take is that the spot decline in LOL’s from 5,000 to 3,000 is very good news especially for the west side of I-17, and, for entry level priced housing which is the foundation of the housing pyramid. The bad news is that the LOI’s to the east of I-17 only declined by 25%. Again, our take is that median prices east of I-17 are generally higher and therefore harder for investors to cash flow and harder for qualified buyers to finance even at today’s historically low interest rates.

This is just a snapshot, but it portends improvement for all classes of real estate.


To download map click here: Update in Lender Owned Listings (PDF)




Map of the Month –September 2011

Institutional Quality Transactions Since January 1, 2011 



If you are new to Map of the Month, this is our 41st monthly map! Many of our maps are proxies for real estate and demographic trends.  If you have a particular subject you would like mapped, call and we’ll see what we can do. Others may have similar interests.


Institutional Quality Transactions Since January 2011:

This month’s map explores arms length, one off, commercial and industrial transactions over $10,000,000; an arbitrary starting point for "institutional quality" real estate. Since January 2011 there have been eight (8) such transactions; identified below and shown on this month's Map of the Month:



80 E. Rio Salado Parkway         Hayden Ferry Lakeside (REIT)                    $39,400,000

2550 W. Union Hills Dr.             Union Hills Office Plaza (REIT)                    $27,075,000

4750 W. Lower Buckeye Rd.    Riverside Business Center (REIT)                 $24,000,000

7499 E. Paradise Lane               Ryan Airpark II (REIT)                                $21,400,000

7373 N. Scottsdale Rd.             Scottsdale Centre (Equity Fund)                   $20,800,000

6991 E. Camelback Rd             Camelback Executive Park (Equity Fund)     $19,000,000

444 N. 44th Street                    Four Gateway   (Equity Fund)                       $12,300,000

6900 E. Camelback Road         Camelback Tower (Equity Fund)                   $10,035,000


Six (6) were office, two (2) were industrial.  Five (5) were 54% or less occupied. The predominant Buyer Profile was a regional, national, or Canadian REIT or Equity Fund.


Institutionally, Phoenix is still in intensive care.


To download map click here: Institutional Quality Transactions 2011 (PDF)








Map of the Month – October 2011

2010 Population "Inside the Loops"


Now that the 2010 Census data is slowly being released, we can start to map a few highlights!  This month's map shows the 10 census tracts with the highest 2010 population counts inside the 2 major freeway loops (101 & 202).


Because census tract size is a function of population, not all census tracts are the same geographic size.  Most are 1 square mile but notice the 4 square mile tract in the East Valley and 3 square mile tract in the West Valley.


We tried to stay "Inside the Loops" where most of the census tracts are 1 or 2 square miles.


To download map click here:  2010 Population "Inside the Loops" (PDF)





Map of the Month – November 2011

Where to Stay & Play in The Valley


4 & 5 Diamond Hotels & Resorts


As we all know, AAA ranks hospitality venues by Diamonds. They just added Three (3) new Four (4) Diamond properties in the Valley.


There are 124 Five (5) Diamond Resorts in the US. Only 3 have had their Five (5) Diamond status since ranking began 35 years ago! The Broadmoor, The Greenbrier, and our Camelback Inn!


The Five (5) Diamond Phoenician & The Canyon Suites at the Phoenician have two (2) Four (4) Diamond Restaurants on property. All of the Five (5) Diamond Resorts have at least one Four (4) Diamond Restaurants and golf courses on site or in close proximity.


To download map click here: 4 & 5 Diamond Hotels & Resorts (PDF)




Map of the Month – December 2011

Not All Apartment Markets Are Coming Back!


For several years now, the national and local real estate press have been championing the strong return of the apartment market.  In keeping with our interest in small area analysis, we have mapped the change in apartment vacancy rates from the 3rd quarter 2005 to the 3rd quarter 2011; 6 years.


Obviously, there have been changes in inventory but the pattern is clear.  5 districts are now at or below their 2005 lows.  Probably no surprise there.  However, the other 25 districts still have higher vacancy rates, some much higher, i.e. Northwest Phoenix and Uptown, districts where the apartment inventory is older and perhaps "tired".  Location still matters!


To download map click here: 6 Year Vacancy Rates - Apartments (PDF)






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