Old and New Cribs in South Phoenix

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            The housing in South Mountain Village, once known as just South Phoenix, has changed drastically over the years.  The past developments here had not been enforced by any major zoning, so most of the houses are thrown in between retail and government land.  The last of the older houses are various sizes too.  Ranging from quarter acres to many acres, some people here have a lot of land, giving the area a rural feeling.

            As I went into developments east of Central and south of Broadway, I noticed that the older homes have a huge architectural impact on the environment.  There is not any respect for the desert when looking at the landscaping of these older homes.  The houses have lawns and trees.  There are even palm trees and heavy landscaping.  It seems people built this up as if they forgot that they were living in the desert.  The architecture of these houses is varied too.  Some houses are Tudor style, like you would find in the Midwest and on the East Coast.  These homes are two stories and again donít fit in with this area.  Most of them were built in the 60ís and 70ís it seems.  Some were built later in the 80ís.  The colors of these homes are varied.  There are houses that are blue, green, brown, black; anything goes with the older homes.  These houses are not in master planned communities at all, and the area around is rather deteriorated, for instance torn down fences with a shopping cart sitting outside of the property.

            The houses we see springing up today are master planned community housing.  This means lack of variation in architectural design and cookie cutter variety.  These houses are four years old at the most and mainly occupied by low-middle income Caucasians.  Most of these developments off of Baseline donít have too many houses in each subdivision.  The security is provided by ADT, and this is showcased with signage by the driveway.  There is recycling going on, with a huge blue bin by the curb that is Phoenix recycling.  There is practically no landscaping at all, this is Xeriscape (zero-scaping), but a few small plants are on the gravel.  If you need to get your mail, community mailboxes are at the center of the subdivision.  There are mini cul-de-sacs, but nothing major or pushed back.  These houses are mainly 4-bed and 2.5-bath.  Three styles provide houses with no major distinctions form each other, making for a boring place to live.  The colors of these homes are light green, light grey, and amber.  There are not any sidewalks here, and the houses sit on very tiny lots with no room between each other, maybe 50 feet at most.  They have 3 car garages and are mainly 2400 square feet.  The homes in this subdivision that were still available were selling for $232,500.  This seems steep to me.  Houses that I am used to, in the Midwest and East coast, tend to be over 4000 square feet and have basements and are not single level like these homes.

            The difference in the housing between older South Phoenix and the newer South Mountain Village is huge.  These homes look very different and the communities that they are set up in are not similar.  The housing that is being created here was supposed to make this area look nicer I thought, but instead it provides expensive and ugly homes that destroy the homes, rural atmosphere of this area.  I see that Phoenix would like to clean up South Mountain Village, but this is not the way to go.  There needs to be less expensive housing that is more fun and inviting to the people that already live there.

                          First Time Buyers

The City of Phoenix has set up a first-time homebuyers program for families that do not make enough money to buy a home on their own.  Mortgages here are offered at 4% interest to buyers.  There must be a $500 down payment by homebuyers and they also must pay the closing costs.  The total price of the home with all extra costs canít exceed the maximum amount that is loaned to the homebuyer.

This program is restricted to those that are eligible.  The buyer cannot have owned a home within the last three years.  Annual income canít exceed 60% of median income for the Phoenix area, according to family size.  The property that is bought must be occupied by the buyer as a principal resident. 

This program shows how it appeals to low income families.  As family size varies, so does the maximum income level for a qualifying family.  For example: a family size of one could make at most $24,320 a year, a family size of eight could make at most $45,860 a year. 

There are also various program guidelines for participants to buying a home.  The value of a home must be established by an appraisal by a qualified appraiser.  A minimum of $5,000 in rehabilitation must be needed for the home that is going to be bought.  All of this rehabilitation must be completed before the house is occupied.  The City of Phoenix building codes enforces the rules of the house that is bought.  Condominiums and town-homes are sold on a case by case basis.