Arizona’s Housing Market Improving, Despite Controversies

Posted By Mike Padgett

May 17, 2010

PHOENIX – Random thoughts from Arizona’s business and political sidelines:

• A new report from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University shows the median price of single-family housing in metro Phoenix is up 5.5 percent so far this calendar year. In January, the median price was $136,500. In April, it was $144,000. But whether the momentum will continue, or whether it is the result of short-term factors, is unknown. The full report from Associate Professor of Real Estate Jay Butler is at

• Can the housing market in Arizona improve in the shadows of controversial state politics and historic budget troubles? What astute out-of-state buyer or employer will relocate to a state whose leaders approved a controversial immigration law that is facing legal challenges?

• With today’s voice mail systems, just who is answering their phones when pollsters call about the topic de jour? Is that audience a true cross-section of the American public? How familiar are the respondents with the topic, beyond what they learn from headlines and ranting radio commentators? It is too easy to formulate questions to get answers supporting any set of beliefs.

• For many years, Arizona has ranked near the bottom of the 50 states in terms of annual spending per student in the K-12 grades. The anti-education sentiment is abundant in Arizona, like a persistent weed. Arizona employers struggle to find qualified workers locally when the worker pool is filled with graduates of one of the nation’s bottom-tier education systems.

• I don’t remember any public vote on photo radar in Arizona. Officials have decided to let the contract expire because of the program’s vocal opponents. But do the opponents constitute a majority? Critics often are vocal, but do they constitute a majority? What about the program’s silent supporters, those who see other motorists punch the accelerator and speed weave through traffic as soon as they pass the photo radar sites? After the photo radar program ends this summer, we should expect to see an uptick in traffic accidents. Or worse.

• I don’t understand the need for a new Arizona law allowing any adult to carry a concealed weapon. What’s the purpose?

• When opponents of any new proposal get organized and demonstrate in the streets, do they genuinely believe in their efforts? Maybe they are participating because they have nothing else to do. Whatever reason, I wish they would use correct grammar and spelling on their placards and t-shirts. If they cannot spell, they should expect to be ignored.

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May 17th, 2010

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