Arizona Real Estate News

Category: News

Top 10 Cities & States for Job Growth

Unemployment and job growth continue to capture attention as the U.S. economy rebounds from the Great Recession. This week, the final, revised numbers on state and city job growth for the year 2013 as a whole are out. Research Professor Lee McPheters of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University provides rankings and analysis of the winners and losers, based on the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Top 10+ cities and surrounding metro areas (1 million or more workers) for non-agricultural job growth, comparing 2013 to 2012:


      1. Riverside, Calif. – up 4 percent
      2. San Francisco – up 3.9 percent
      3. Denver – up 3.6 percent
      4. Houston – up 3.5 percent
      5. Orlando, Fla. – up 3.2 percent
      6. Seattle – up 2.8 percent
      7. Phoenix – up 2.7 percent
      8. Dallas – up 2.6 percent (four-way tie)
        Los Angeles – up 2.6 percent
        Miami – up 2.6 percent
        San Diego – up 2.6 percent

Top 10 states for non-agricultural job growth, comparing 2013 to 2012:

              1. North Dakota – up 3.6 percent
              2. Utah – up 3.2 percent
              3. California – up 3 percent
              4. Colorado – up 2.9 percent (tie)
                Texas – up 2.9 percent
              5. Nevada – up 2.7 percent
              6. Idaho – up 2.6 percent
              7. Florida – up 2.5 percent
              8. Washington – up 2.2 percent
              9. Arizona – up 2.1 percent



Overall, the job-growth rate for the United States in 2013 was an increase of 1.7 percent, the same pace we saw in 2012. The number of jobs added nationwide last year was 2.26 million.

On the state list, North Dakota continues to dominate, having ranked No. 1 for multiple years in a row, largely thanks to its oil and gas production. However, a total of 12 states showed job growth of at least 2 percent last year.

“Several newcomers made the Top 10 job-growth states list this time,” says McPheters, director of the JPMorgan Chase Economic Outlook Center at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Nevada, Idaho, Florida and Washington all hadn’t made the Top 10 in 2012. Nevada, in particular, is finally demonstrating a good rebound, cracking the Top 10 for the first time since the recession and taking the biggest leap up from No. 19 to No. 6. It led all states in the rate of new construction-job growth, with a gain of nearly 10 percent.”

The bottom 10 states for 2013 are South Dakota, Virginia, Maine, New Mexico, Vermont, Wyoming, Alaska, Pennsylvania, Arkansas and West Virginia. The only state that actually lost jobs was West Virginia at No. 50. Mining employment there fell by 5 percent, and they also had losses in construction and manufacturing.

McPheters notes very high interest in state economic performance right now because 31 governors are up for reelection, including those in Top-10 states California, Nevada, Idaho and Florida. Incumbents are also eligible for reelection in seven of the bottom 10 states: South Dakota, Maine, New Mexico, Vermont, Wyoming, Alaska and Pennsylvania.

On the Top 10 cities list, certain states have multiple winners.

“California is well-represented among the fastest-growing major metro labor markets with four cities, including Riverside and San Francisco in the top two spots,” explains McPheters. “Florida and Texas each have two large metro areas in the Top 10.”

Five big metro areas achieved job growth of at least 3 percent: Riverside, Calif.; San Francisco; Denver; Houston and Orlando, Fla. McPheters says the Riverside area was one of the most dynamic in 2013, leading all metro areas in the job-growth rate for construction, wholesale trade, warehousing and health care.

McPheters adds the biggest surprise may be what drove 2013 growth in the No. 7 Phoenix area, which was hit very hard by the recession. Phoenix led all large metro areas in information-sector and finance job-growth rates. In fact, Phoenix created the same number of information jobs in 2013 as the San Francisco area (2,000). Phoenix was also first nationwide in both the growth-rate percentage (5.6 percent) and absolute number of finance jobs added (8,400).

“Metro Phoenix economic-development efforts seem to be paying off, since both of these industries pay nationally competitive salaries and attract college-educated workers,” says McPheters. “This growth is happening in Phoenix more rapidly than anywhere else.”

The bottom cities for job growth in 2013 were Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Cleveland, which all added less than 1 percent. Pittsburgh took last place.

The full 50-state ranking and other job-growth data from McPheters can be found at the W. P. Carey School of Business “Job Growth USA website: IMPORTANT: For the annual numbers, select “Total Nonfarm,” “12-Month Moving Avg.,” “December” and “2013.”

RE/MAX Broker Uses ‘Drone’ Tech to Help Buyers and Sellers Connect

A hobby and new way to show houses. “Drones have been used for military reasons for 20 to 30 years, but in the last five years costs are coming down,” said Derek Tye, president of The Tye Group, adding it has increased their popularity. In the last two years, the real estate industry has started to use drones. The practice is most popular in California.

After hearing about drones being used for home tours out west, Tye bought a remote control helicopter, attached a GoPro camera to it and started making videos from the sky of properties he was selling. The helicopter tours are a way to show more of the property than a regular tour, Tye said as he flew the drone over a house for sale on Deerfield Road in Montgomery.

Tye cuts the footage into videos that he narrates and uploads to and The Tye Group’s YouTube channel. While in California drone tours are used mostly for cliff-side homes to get a view from all sides, Tye has used his helicopter to show potential buyers the whole neighborhood or large properties.

“It’s also useful for land with many acres that is wooded or that has steep ravines that are not walkable or drivable,” The Tye Group office manager Claudia Hrinda said in an email, adding it was an easier way to show all of a multiple-acre horse farm that is being sold in Okeana. The Federal Aviation Administration restricted drones from being used for commercial purposes until 2012, when a federal law was enacted to allow for more uses.

Restrictions on someone flying a model aircraft, such as Tye, are rather simple. The model aircraft is not allowed to go more than 400 feet in the air and should not be flown around noise-sensitive areas, such as schools and hospitals, according to the FAA. A model aircraft can range in price from $300 to $1,000. Restrictions on larger drones, which can have the same wing span as a Boeing 747 and can fly up to 50,000 feet, are stricter.

Tye said he has started to get requests from sellers for him to make a video for their property. Tye said he was contacted by students in the Anderson High School Theatre Department, who saw his videos on YouTube. Tye made a video representing a mouse being carried across a field by a bird for their production of “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.” Tye said he enjoys being a part of the emergence of drones in commercial industries and discovering their many uses.

“I’m excited about the technology and it is fun to try something new in the industry,” he said.

Phoenix-area Housing Market Officially in Slowdown

Expect those big price increases we’ve seen for Phoenix-area homes to slow down, possibly even stop or reverse a little this year. A new report from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University predicts two-plus years of large gains to come to an end in 2014. The latest data for Maricopa and Pinal counties, as of December, reveals:


  • The median single-family-home sale price was still up 25 percent from December 2012.
  • However, demand was already falling sharply, with home and condo sales activity down 16 percent from the previous December.
  • Investors are showing less interest in the market, and construction-permit numbers remain small by historic standards.


Phoenix-area home prices have been going up since they hit a low point in September 2011, but the increases have been slowing down in recent months. The median single-family-home sales price was up 25 percent – $164,000 to $205,000 – from December 2012 to December 2013. Realtors will note the average price per square foot went up about 20 percent. The median townhouse/condo price rose 20 percent, to $120,000. However, those annual gains don’t accurately reflect the cooling pattern that started in July.

“We are seeing a big drop in demand compared with the last two years, and there are ominous indications of a softening market when we dig deep into the numbers,” says the report’s author, Mike Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “Sales of single-family homes were down 17 percent from December 2012 to this December. Townhome/condo sales were down 11 percent.”

The supply of homes available for sale also fell in a normal seasonal pattern in December. However, the number of active listings was still up 36 percent from Jan. 1, 2013 to Jan. 1, 2014.

Orr says one other bright spot is the luxury market – homes priced over $500,000. That end of the market is doing well, with activity up 21 percent from December 2012 to this December, as jumbo loans are readily available and the stock market is still near historic highs. At the low end of the spectrum, sales activity for homes priced under $150,000 is down an incredible 47 percent.

“Overall, buyers are enjoying less competition in bids for homes, but sellers should be prepared for possible cuts in asking price,” says Orr. “A larger portion of the population is simply choosing to rent, instead of buy. That includes much of the Millennial generation and those who lost their homes to foreclosure or short sale. They either prefer the rental lifestyle, don’t feel that secure in their jobs, or don’t have the credit history or down payment needed for a purchase.”

Orr says there’s more competition to get rental homes than homes for sale. He also says this could lead to rent increases over the next two years, especially since more owners are now institutional investors who will have less hesitation in raising rents than traditional mom-and-pop landlords.

Investors continue to lose interest in buying more in the Phoenix area, as better bargains can be found in other areas of the country. The percentage of residential properties purchased by investors was just 19.3 percent in December, down from the peak of 39.7 in July 2012.

Foreclosed homes aren’t plentiful anymore. Orr says Maricopa County was 19 percent below its normal, historic foreclosure-notice level in December. Foreclosure starts – owners receiving notice their lenders may foreclose in 90 days – were down 43 percent from December 2012 to December 2013. Completed foreclosures dropped 53 percent.

New-home sales had an excellent month, increasing their market share to 16 percent this December from 13 percent in December 2012. However, Orr says this was a normal seasonal bump. Construction-permit numbers remain low by historic standards.

Orr adds, “We’re seeing growing evidence the housing slowdown is also being experienced in other parts of the country, including southern California. If current conditions persist in the Phoenix area for several months, downward pressure on pricing will become hard to resist.”

Orr’s full report, including statistics, charts and a breakdown by different areas of the Valley, can be viewed and downloaded at A podcast with more analysis from Orr is also available from knowWPCarey, the business school’s online resource and newsletter, at

Catherine Dermody appointed to Brand Manager at Mark-Taylor

Catherine Dermody

Catherine Dermody

Catherine Dermody has been promoted to Brand Manager at Mark-Taylor Residential.

Dermody joined Mark-Taylor in 2006 as a leasing professional, quickly moving into community manager positions. After gaining property experience she moved into a marketing assistant position within the Mark-Taylor corporate team. As brand manager, she will be responsible for ensuring consistency across all Mark-Taylor communities as it relates to brand marketing programs, overseeing relationships with key partners and vendors. This includes implementation of companywide leasing campaigns, property-specific leasing programs and lease-up initiatives.

“This is a unique title in the multifamily industry, and a testament to Catherine’s ability to be an ambassador for the Mark-Taylor brand,” said Mark-Taylor Vice President of Marketing Kim Atkinson.

Dermody is a graduate of Arizona State University and Xavier College Prep in Phoenix. 

Russ Myers Promoted to Project Director at Kitchell

Russ Myers

Russ Myers

Kitchell is pleased to announce 15-year Kitchell veteran Russ Myers has been promoted to Project Director. Russ has played a key role in several of Kitchell’s signature construction projects, most notably, and most recently, the renovation of iconic Manzanita Hall at Arizona State University, his alma mater. Earlier projects include work on Biltmore Fashion Park, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Brophy College Preparatory high school, and Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine, among many others. 

“Russ embodies Kitchell’s vision and values,” said Kitchell Contractors President Dan Pierce. “His passion for each project is palpable and is a key reason he is such an admired leader within the company. His affable nature belies his ‘get-it-done-right-the-first time’ expectations. This is a well-deserved promotion and all of us at Kitchell, are proud of him.”

Russ graduated from ASU in 1996 with a B.S. in Construction Management. He received his LEED AP certification in 2009.