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(October 3, 2014) – A panel of developers and builders agreed to an optimistic, if cautious outlook on the Tucson market last week at the annual Tucson Land and Housing Forecast presented by The Land Advisors Organization and Bright Future Real Estate Research.

Sean Walters, Chief Operating Officer for Sunbelt Holdings, told the assembled crowd at the Sept. 25 event at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain that now is the time to make small bets.

“It feels to me right now that we’re in the capitulation of the sine wave where it feels really, really bad right now, but I believe truly that you have way more risk of missing the up right now than you do of getting caught down,” he said.

Michael Iles-Cremieux, Regional Vice President of Land Acquisitions for Meritage Homes, acknowledged that there’s risk out there— Arizona posts lower volume and lower profit versus, for example, North Carolina, Florida and Texas markets. But there are still opportunities, he said, noting a need for a diverse product line. Taber Anderson, Chief Investment Officer for True Life Companies, described himself as bullish but cautious— feeling good but “sufficiently nervous.”

Longtime Tucson developer David Mehl, owner and President of Cottonwood Properties, said Tucson has been a great place to do business. (Dove Mountain was one of Cottonwood’s developments.)

“The cycles come and go. Things looked bleak when we bought Rita Ranch back in 1991. It looked a lot bleaker than it looks today. We’ve had terrific volumes the last three years in Dove Mountain,” he said. “So if this is bad I’m sure enjoying the bad times.”

Ryan Huffman, Vice President of Land Acquisition and Development for the Arizona division of Mattamy Homes, said today is the time to act for returns in 2016 and 2017.

Mattamy, Canada’s largest homebuilder, has an established presence in Phoenix and made its appearance in the Tucson market this summer with acquisitions in the Rancho Vistoso and Dove Mountain areas. The company also seeks to build a contentious subdivision on the site of the historic Lazy K Bar Guest Ranch in Marana.

“I tell my corporate folks, it’s patience and perseverance right now but we will get through this,” Huffman said. “It will get better.”

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