Daily Archives: March 11, 2009

#3 state in the U.S. for February foreclosures: Arizona


Sign of the times in sunny Arizona (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

[Source: Maurna Desmond, Forbes] — Rising unemployment is delivering another blow to the depressed U.S. housing market.  After months of declines in the number of foreclosures despite rising mortgage defaults, with a barricade of state and lender moratoriums preventing repossessions, foreclosures rose 6% in February from the month before, with 209,631 filings in all, according to Irvine, Calif.-based data firm RealtyTrac.  Compared to the corresponding month a year ago, foreclosures were up 30%…

Coming in at #3 is Arizona where high vacancy rates in overbuilt areas continue to plague this sunny state:

  • Pre-foreclosures and foreclosures, February 2009: 18,119
  • Rank, housing units per foreclosure: 147
  • Rank, housing units per foreclosure: No. 2
  • Rate, change from February 2008: 88%
  • Unemployment rate, January 2009: 7%
  • One-month increase (from December 2008): 0.4 points
  • One-year increase (from January 2008): 2.6

[Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Arizona Republic issues “report card” on Phoenix mayor

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — A year after Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon gave his 2008 State of the City address, [the Republic takes] a look at how well he followed through on his policies and goals:

What he said in ’08: “Phoenix is a city on the rise.  And because we are a city on the rise, we face our challenges — our opportunities — from a stronger position than most other big cities can.”  The reality: The housing crisis and broader economic recession dealt Phoenix’s budget a fierce blow.  But Phoenix literally is a city on the rise. Several projects have helped fill the downtown skyline, including the expanded convention center, Sheraton hotel, and future CityScape project.

What he said in ’08: “We need more investments, more partnerships, more international flights.  Last year I hinted at a new non-stop flight to Europe… We’re nearly there and we’ll have it before we meet again.” The reality: Well, we met again, and Lufthansa, the referenced airline, abandoned its plan for a non-stop flight across the pond due to the economy.  “We’re just grateful the airline is still in business,” the mayor’s spokesman said.

What he said in ’08: “We’re proud of our innovative solar projects… But let Phoenix now become the global center for sustainable energy.”  The reality: The city and state have lagged behind other regions when it comes to attracting solar and other renewable-energy firms, but Gordon has laid out a bold plan to make Phoenix the greenest city in the country.  Stay tuned.

What he said in ’08: “Before this year is over, 20 miles of light rail will be operating.  And that train will leave the station on budget and on time — on Dec. 27.”  The reality: Metro light rail launched its $1.4 billion starter line by its Dec. 27 target.  Ridership has exceeded expectations but fare hikes are imminent given the budget crunch faced by Phoenix and other cities.

[Note: To read the full article and online comments, click here.]

Phoenix mayor to unveil 17-point “green” plan

[Source: Scott Wong, Arizona Republic] — Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon will use today’s State of the City address to outline an ambitious strategy to make Phoenix the first carbon-neutral city — and the greenest — in the entire country.  Green Phoenix, a 17-point plan developed in collaboration with Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability, would require about $1 billion in water, renewable energy, public-transit, and other investments.

Gordon is turning to President Barack Obama’s economic-stimulus package for help, though he doesn’t expect to receive funding for every goal.  The mayor’s proposal, if fully implemented, would cut city-generated greenhouse-gas emissions by roughly 70 percent, or 430,000 metric tons a year, the equivalent of taking 80,000 vehicles off the road, based on one estimate.  The three- to four-year plan is essentially a mix of new concepts and projects already under way.  They range from providing bicycle rentals at light-rail stops to developing Phoenix’s canal system for recreation and business use similar to the Tempe Town Lake area.

In a bid to secure funding from the $787 billion federal stimulus package, Gordon and ASU President Michael Crow pitched the plan Tuesday to Energy Secretary Steven Chu in Washington, D.C., emphasizing that it also would create jobs and improve neighborhoods and health.  During the meeting, Crow said, he sensed that Phoenix was the first city to approach Chu with a comprehensive program promoting green technologies, which could be used as a model across the U.S.  “We put a new idea on the table,” Crow said by phone after the meeting.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

Gallup says Arizona ranked 10th in happiness & health

Gallup, Healthways, and America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) are providing a new national pulse of individual and collective health and well-being, as well as solutions for a healthy America.  The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a 25-year partnership in research and care, is an on-going daily survey that began in January 2008.  It surveys 1,000 Americans 350 days per year.  The research and methodology underlying the Well-Being Index is based on the World Health Organization definition of health as “not only the absence of infirmity and disease, but also a state of physical, mental, and social well-being.”

And the results are in!  Arizona is ranked #10 in overall well-being.  And within Arizona, the happiest, healthiest congressional district is Harry Mitchell’s District 5, followed by:

To do your own comparisons by state or congressional district, click here.