Valley real estate market: 3 myths you need to be aware of

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX -- There have been a lot improvements in the real-estate market recently. It looks completely different than it did just six months ago, but those improvements have lead to a lot of myths about the Valley's market.

Myth #1: The market is improving, home prices are going up, so we don't have to worry about foreclosures or being underwater anymore.

Truth: There are still thousands of Arizona homeowners facing foreclosure and stuck in mortgages that are extremely upside down. It's important that we don't forget these victims of the mortgage crisis so that we can continue to offer them the help that is available; government programs, refinancing or short sales.

Myth #2: If the market doesn't correct my underwater mortgage I can always short sale.

Truth: The clock is running out on short sales as we know them. Uncle Sam was generous in 2007 when it gave hurting homeowners a tax break. Letting them withhold any mortgage debt written off by lenders in a loan modification or short sale, from taxable income. Unless Congress extends it, that's done at the end of the year. If you're headed for a short sale and don't want to risk losing Uncle Sam's generosity, it's best to get started.

Myth #3: The Valley market is hot; all homes are getting multiple offers.

Truth: Homes listed at $200,000 and less are getting multiple offers. Homes in today's "luxury" market start at $300,000; homes priced there and higher are sitting on the market. Many in this price range have been on the market for 200 days or longer.

The Arizona Department of Housing, Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force and CSSPE are teaming up to help homeowners at a free event on Oct. 24. Homeowners can find out if they qualify for government funds for things like principle reduction or paying off a second mortgage and what options are out there if they don't qualify.

The CHOICES for Homeowners Workshops are Oct. 24, 6 p.m.-8 p.m. at the Harkins Theater at Tempe Marketplace. Register online at

For more information, call 480-CHOICES.