Culture, Taxes and Real Estate

Not just a pretty face… Sedona’s got “cultcha.”

In the eleven years since Sedona was declared #1 of the “Top Ten Most Beautiful Places in the

World” by USA Today, our town has been well represented in a variety of “best lists” from art

destinations to places to retire. Now comes the latest kudos*. Sedona has nabbed the #8 spot

in Smithsonian Magazine’s, “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014.” What distinguishes

the Smithsonian list is that the criteria were primarily cultural. Weather certainly didn’t factor

in; Chautauqua in Upstate NY (near my old stomping grounds) garnered first place. I’ll grant

Chautauqua that one; wonderful place. I’m just not tough enough to suffer through that climate

anymore. In any case, it’s nice to see Sedona getting more well-deserved credit for its bountiful

intellectual, spiritual, architectural, musical, and artistic offerings and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

And, if natural beauty, climate, and culture weren’t enough to attract smart and sophisticated

people, how about low taxes? Turns out, according to the Arizona Republic, that Arizona ranks

34th out of the 50 states for combined state and local taxes. New York, of course, is #1. Our state

income tax maximum rate is 4.54% and that’s the second lowest among states with tax brackets.

Finally, with the Sedona Real Estate Market’s pendulum swinging back toward buyers again,

for a while anyway, visitors have yet another reason to stay and make a home here. After all,

according to the National Association of Realtors, sales of vacation homes jumped 30% in 2013.

And, 31% of those buyers planned to make those homes their primary residence in the future. My

guess is that those figures would be considerably higher for Sedona if we were to track them.

So, how’s the Sedona Real Estate Market doing so far in 2014? At the end of April, sales of

single family homes were down 9% from April 2013. Prices were mixed. The Median Recorded

Selling Price was down 3.5%, to $385,000, but the Average Price per Square Foot was up 6%, to

$207. So, a bit of a wash. By way of comparison, the peak was 2006 when the MRSP was about

$600,000. Best news for buyers: home inventory was up 25%, to 320. Best news for sellers:

Cumulative Days on Market for the homes sold was down 30%, to 185 days.

Condo/townhomes sales were a bright spot for sellers, up 18% over 2013, although prices were

virtually the same year-to-year.

The real estate star, though, was Vacant Land. That sector showed, roughly, both a 32% increase

in the number of sales and a 32% increase in the Median Recorded Selling Price of those sales.

The latter figure, $175,000, is still a far-cry from the $520,000 peak we saw in 2006, but it’s the

best we’ve seen in the past five years and 45% above the Land Price Bottom in 2012. And, it

appears that the momentum is picking up, especially in the higher end of that market.

Dr. Roy Eleutherios Grimm is the Head of the Buyer’s Broker Team at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s

International Realty, serving the Sedona and Flagstaff areas… For questions or comments email Roy

at [email protected] or visit for the full statistical details.