Articles – Sedona Monthly Article May 2008

Sedona Monthly
Article #11
28 May 2008
O Canada
Roy E. Grimm, PhD

“When I’m calling you…ou…ou…., will you answer true…ou…ou?”

If you listen carefully, you might hear strains of the Canadian Love Song coming from the Sedona and Verde Valley real estate market these days. Canadians certainly appear to be being tuning in and heading our way. Their response is giving a lift to beleaguered sellers here.

Fortified by unprecedented strength of the Canadian dollar (aka, the loonie – from the loon depicted on the coin) relative to the U.S. greenback, combined with tanking prices for local real estate, our neighbors to the north are showing up in significant numbers to take advantage of the opportunity. We’ve always had a small number of Canadian clients over the years, but the phenomenon began to spike last fall when the value of the loonie shot up dramatically against the U.S. dollar. At first, we saw tentative feelers from the north. Those inquiries have continued to increase. Over 10% of requests for information are coming from north of the border and now they’re turning into actual sales. So far, the most dramatic example in Arizona was the March purchase of a $14 million Paradise Valley home by Ontario attorney, Jeffrey Slopen. In Sedona, our company sales to Canadians have ranged from inexpensive condos to luxury homes. We even have serious interest from a Canadian investment group considering a major commercial investment here.

By and large, the Canadians I’ve met are gracious people that I am delighted to have as friends and neighbors, but don’t expect them to be naïve. They’re canny investors looking for genuine value. They do their homework, study the comps, and negotiate shrewdly from a position of strength.

Although there are no figures available from the Sedona-Verde Valley Association of Realtors that track such purchases, anecdotal evidence from our colleagues in the area indicate that our experience is not isolated.

So, are the Mounties riding in to save the day for besieged sellers? Well, they certainly have made the day for a number of home-sellers already. Dudley Do-Right is not, however, likely to turn the entire tide. The reinforcements help, though. And, as more Canadians discover the delights of life in Sedona, they are telling their friends. So, we should see increased future positive impacts from this friendly invasion – certainly as long as the loonie is strong and our prices are low, compared with competing destinations. Maybe it’s time for Sedonans to be learning to sing a few refrains from “O Canada.”

Sedona Area Market Stats Snapshot

Single Family Homes:
# SOLD: 1 Jan – 28 May 2007: 120
Median Recorded Sales Price: $573,500
Price per sq. ft.: $280

# SOLD: 1 Jan – 28 May 2008: 85
Median Recorded Sales Price: $490,000
Price per sq. ft.: $245

Vacant Land:
# SOLD: 1 Jan – 28 May 2007: 29
MRSP: $285,000

# SOLD: 1 Jan – 28 May 2008: 23
MRSP: $332,500