Scottsdale condos defying real-estate market
by J. Craig Anderson
October 9, 2010
The owner of Optima Camelview Village condominiums in Scottsdale said sales and property values have been surprisingly resilient for the architectural-award-winning project.
While the new-condo market has long been declared dead by most real-estate analysts, Chicago-based Optima Realty Inc. owner David Hovey said buyer interest in the innovative complex, with its tiered, greenery-topped roofs and terraces, has remained steady.
Hovey said the company has begun work on Camelview Village's third and final phase. Of the 750 units originally planned when the project opened in September 2006, only 86 units remain.
Hovey said the ultimate total of individual residences would end up being closer to 675, because some buyers purchased two, or even three, adjacent units and combined them into a single residence.
While there has been some fluctuation in the price of new units at Camelview Village, Hovey said the project's sales history hardly resembled the free fall in price and demand that has occurred at other Valley condo communities.
"It has had less effect on our development than it did on any other condo development in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area," he said, referring to other projects that had yet to sell out before the condo-market crash of 2008.
Sales data provided by Optima show that the average sales price for a new Camelview Village unit in late 2006 was about $639,000.
The average new-unit price increased in 2007 to $709,000 and dropped slightly to $696,000 in 2008.
The largest drop in new-unit value occurred from 2008 to 2009, when the average sale price was $612,000.
As of Aug. 30, the average new-home price at Camelview Village has recovered this year to $630,000 - less than 2 percent below the original price in 2006.
Sales activity has slowed over the past four years, which Hovey said was not unexpected.
"There's always a pent-up demand at the beginning," he said.
In the last four months of 2006, Optima sold 96 units, and another 252 units in 2007.
New-unit sales decreased to 149 sales in 2008 and then 53 sales in 2009.
This year's total of 39 new-unit sales, as of Aug. 30, was on pace to match or improve upon the 2009 total, Hovey said.
He said that most other Phoenix-area upscale condominium projects are either selling their units at a fraction of the original asking price or have converted them into luxury apartments.
Camelview Village homeowner and resident Coreen Young, 73, said she bought her home in late January, after the death of her husband, Don.
Young, who has lived in Scottsdale since 1991, said she had resolved to move into a new living space and that her home search kept leading her back to Camelview Village.
She said the central location, at Highland Avenue and Scottsdale Road, the wide variety of amenities and the project's unusual architecture all weighed heavily in her decision.
"It's a unique property - it's recognizable," Young said. "All you have to do is mention the garden terraces and people immediately know what you're talking about."