Gay Realty Watch: Tucson, Arizona

Gay Tucson Real EstateWe continue our look into local real estate markets with large gay and lesbian communities. Today, my hometown – Tucson, Arizona – politically Blue where Phoenix is red, friendly, and really diverse.  Tucson is a very gay friendly town – we were back there in 2009, and found a number of gay bars, gay owned and friendly restaurants, and of course many gay and lesbian owned accommodations.  Here’s what’s going on in Tucson real estate this month:

As many houses stand vacant, water thieves tapping in - The housing crisis has left a lot of Tucson homeowners underwater, and that has left a lot of people treading water. Now, apparently, some people have started stealing water from foreclosed homes.  How often does this happen? No one knows. How much water is being stolen? Again, no one knows. But two Long Realty foreclosure-listing properties recently had their lines illegally tapped. Tucson Water statistics certainly hint at a jump in tampering cases – although the numbers are incomplete, with no clear explanation of the reason.

Phoenix real estate strategy of ‘flopping’ examined - As more houses in metro Phoenix go on the market for short sales, some investors have begun buying and reselling them quickly for a profit, using strategies that some in the housing industry say could be unethical or worse. The deals work in a variety of ways, but all involve the same basic strategy. An investor persuades a lender to agree to a short sale, buying a house for less than what the lender is owed. But the investor has another buyer lined up who is willing to pay more.

Tucson Real Estate - SALES: 3544 E. Ft. Lowell LLC, doing business as Mintec Inc., purchased a 20,271-square-foot building at 3602 to 3616 E. Fort Lowell Road from Jorge V. Hansen for $2.1 million. Nancy McClure of CB Richard Ellis represented the seller and Neal Manning of the Neal Manning Co. represented the buyer.

Real estate: Recovery outlook varies by sector - When it comes to real estate, Tucson is not Phoenix. “Tucson, it doesn’t change very much, and in some ways that’s good and in some ways that’s bad,” said Robert Sarver, the majority owner of the Phoenix Suns basketball team and founder of the National Bank of Arizona. “I don’t think it’s been hit as hard as Phoenix was, but I don’t think it’s going to recover as fast.”

Tucson man sentenced for mortgage fraud and tax evasion - Chris Nero, 44, of Tucson was sentenced to 58 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson. Nero, also known as Christopher Sisneros, pleaded guilty to three counts of Felony Attempted Evasion of Income Taxes. Nero was originally indicted June 11, 2008, on charges related to his involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme. From 2003 through 2005, Nero and a co-defendant conspired to commit mortgage fraud in Tucson. Co-defendant, Roy Fife, a former real estate agent, is scheduled for guilty plea, sentencing and restitution hearing on December 12, 2010.

Housing market remained bleak through October - Tucson’s housing market remained grim through October, according to data from two monthly reports. Prices continued to slide after seeing some stabilization in the summer months, Tucson Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service statistics show.  The median sale price in October was $140,000, down about 22 percent when compared with the same month last year. The price also showed a month-over-month decrease of about 4 percent. September’s median sale price also saw decreases in monthly and yearly comparisons.

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