The Arizona Republic
Camelot shines in Scottsdale
Higher prices, mortgage rates cooling market
One of the first builders to bring garages, sunken fire pits and Roman columns to metro Phoenix’s housing market recently won several awards at a top industry competition for constructing the best home of the year.
Scottsdale-based Camelot Homes built the award-winning house in north Scottsdale in a community called White Horse.
Camelot, founded almost 60 years ago, has set many trends for the Valley’s housing market, including having women leaders. It was founded by Arizona’s first licensed contractor, J.W. Hancock, and his wife Maggi, who became the company matriarch.
The Hancocks started in the 1960s by building semicustom homes near 32nd Street and Shea Boulevard, where tract homes were then the only option.
When their son Mark, who is now a managing director at the company, saw the movie “Camelot” in 1967, he asked if the company could be renamed because a line from the movie talked about it being
the happiest place to live. Maggi Hancock agreed.
Camelot is one of Arizona’s oldest family-owned homebuilders. Maggi Hancock, who was highly respected in the real estate industry, died this past summer at age 97.
“She was a dynamo and took me in. She taught me so much about real estate,” said Mark’s wife, Julie Hancock, also a managing director of Camelot. “I often turned to her over the years, and she shared her great wisdom.”
It seems fitting that a homebuilder named Camelot would take top honors for a new community called White Horse.
The development, on former Arizona state land near DC Ranch, won for Home of the Year, Best Single-Family Detached home and Best Indoor/Outdoor Lifestyle for a Home at this year’s Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference in San Francisco.
The competition is tough at the annual conference, which has been around for 56 years.
Judges described the award-winning house as “a project that’s not only architecturally beautiful, but one that would
WASHINGTON – U.S. home sales fell for the sixth straight month in September, a sign that housing has increasingly become a weak spot for the economy.
The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales declined 3.4 percent last month, the biggest drop in 2½ years, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million. That’s the lowest sales pace since November 2015.
Hurricane Florence dragged sales in North Carolina, but even excluding the storm’s effects, sales would have fallen more than 2 percent, the NAR said. After reaching the highest level in a decade last year, sales of existing homes have declined steadily in 2018 amid rapid price increases, higher mortgage rates and a tight supply of available houses.
Still, analysts are mostly optimistic about the broader economy. Most forecast growth will top 3 percent at an annual rate in the July-September quarter, after a robust expansion of 4.2 percent in the second quarter.
“Housing is no longer a tail wind for the economy, but the headwinds are blowing very gently,” said Michelle Meyer, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, before the report was released.
Housing will likely weaken further in the coming months. September’s weakness came before mortgage rates jumped this month to their highest levels in seven years. Sales fell 4.1 percent in September from a year ago.
“Without a doubt there is a clear shift in the market,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.
One sign of the shift is that demand for existing homes is slowing. Home prices are rising at a slower rate and the supply of available houses, while low, is increasing. Buyer traffic has also declined, Yun said.
And with rents also stabilizing in many cities, many would-be buyers may not feel as much pressure to buy a new home.
“Renting itself may be seen as a better bargain as rising mortgage interest rates, still-rising home prices and sluggish wage growth dent the affordability advantage of a typical mortgage,” said Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at real estate data provider Zillow.
Sales have fallen by the most in the West, where most of the nation’s hottest real estate markets are located and where prices have soared for several years. Sales tumbled 12.2 percent in that region in the past year, compared with just 5.6 percent in the Northeast and 1.5 percent in the Midwest. They dropped just 0.5 percent in the South from a year earlier, despite a sharp decline in September due to Hurricane Florence.