Valley housing market becomes real-life Monopoly-style board game - East Valley Tribune: Apache Junction

Valley housing market becomes real-life Monopoly-style board game

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Posted: Sunday, July 29, 2012 8:04 am | Updated: 8:29 am, Tue Jul 31, 2012.

So many investors have flooded the Valley’s housing market that they seem to be throwing cash around like it’s Monopoly money.

So perhaps it’s appropriate the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service has just created a Monopoly game based on the Valley’s residential real estate market. Like the Parker Brothers classic, the ARMLS-opoly game has its players collect $200 when they pass go, pay rent to other players — or perhaps even go bankrupt.

But don’t look for Marvin Gardens or Boardwalk. The ARMLS version replaces the well-known game properties with Valley cities.

The organization created the game for its 30th anniversary. Staff members spent months working out every detail, said Chris Heagerty, ARMLS director.

“We wanted it to have a long shelf life,” she said. “We wanted it to have something that would be interactive and we wanted it to be fun.”

Monopoly’s Park Place and Boardwalk are replaced by Scottsdale and Paradise Valley, respectively. The first — and cheapest — space is Apache Junction at $60. It’s followed by Queen Creek, which is also $60 in the game even as real Queen Creek housing is substantially more expensive than Apache Junction.

The affordability of cities on the board doesn’t reflect for the most part what agents see in real life. The first row includes Chandler and Mesa, both a bargain at $100 each; Gilbert costs a little more at $120. Even though Gilbert is one of the hottest submarkets for housing today, it’s priced for much less on the board than West Valley communities. And little Guadalupe is a pricey $220 — the same as Ahwatukee Foothills.

The placement of cities is only somewhat reflective of housing prices, Heagerty said. ARMLS grouped cities that are geographically close to each other next to each other on the board.

Some other changes include the four railroads being replaced by the Valley’s four regional realty associations. Community Chest and Chance are substituted with real-estate related prizes or penalties, such as “Family dog escapes during showing — pay $200.”

ARMLS had to create every detail of the game, including graphics, before having a vendor start production on 250 copies. The organization looked at several online vendors who made custom Monopoly games, finding the price and quality varied.

“We had one made and it wasn’t the quality that we wanted to last,” Heagerty said. “We really went top of the line because we wanted it to be something that people could keep.”

Heagerty said she’s not aware of any other real estate listing services that have customized the beloved board game.

ARMLS has given away some games as prizes and has heard from some real estate agents who want to buy a copy. The listing service will consider making more games if demand warrants, Heagerty said.

ARMLS will sell copies for $40, which she said doesn’t cover production costs.

“We’re not really looking to make money from it,” she said. “We’re just looking to celebrate our 30th anniversary.”

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