Is it risky to buy a home in Anthem, AZ built with Chinese-made drywall for a long term investment?

Asked by AZbuyer, 66044 Sun Apr 19, 2009

Wall Street Journal artice, Senators Seek Interim Ban on Chinese Drywall, talks about the potential problems of homes that were built with Chinese-made drywall. Some home owners in Florida that have homes made with Chinese drywall are losing a lot of money because of the problems associated with the drywall. I have read that realtors in parts of Florida are complaining that this problem has started hurting sales. Areas with moist, warm climates like Florida are where the problems are being reported currently. However, I have read an article that implied that homes in drier climates in Nevada and Arizona built with the Chinese drywall imported through California could (which also means might not) have similiar problems over time. There does not seem to be much information on this subject. With the uncertainty surrounding Chinese drywall, I definitely would prefer a newer home in Anthem that was not made of chinese drywall. However, how do you know if it has Chinese drywall?

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David - Appr…, , Maricopa, AZ
Mon Apr 20, 2009
I received the message you sent. I can understand your concern given the nature of the problem. And with some expierence in residential construction I can provide my opinion on the subject and maybe provide answers your questions.

First - There is really no way of knowing IF an existing home built during the housing boom in the 3 areas you were questioning were constructed with that particular material without removing panels to see IF they were stamped or labeled with the manufacturers info. Not all panels are labeled and not all foreign manufacturers follow US manufacturing regulations and guidelines. Quality wallboard is made primarily with gypsum, whereas a lower (or cheaper) grade has flyash included, which is a byproduct of coal burning (thus the sulfer compound) and primarily used as an aditive in concrete.

Second - Another option in determining if it was used is to contact the builder of the home(s) during that time period. Unfortunately many builders went out of business since that time and that info may not be available, or given due to possible liability issues.

Third - The use of the material (from info available) appears to be predominant in the southeast region (gulf coast states) where the climate is moist, humid and hot, and used as a result of a shortage of domestic materials. The 3 areas you were questioning are in an area which is predominantly dry and hot. Now that's not to say that the possiblilty does not exist or should not be a concern.

Personally - I would be more concerned with other possible problems such as: IF the property was flooded, mold would most likely develop before any emmisions of toxic sulfer gases from the material. IF the property was built during the boom, was the pad compacted sufficently before the foundation was poured to avoid settlement and cracking of the foundation. And when the foundation was poured, was it allowed to fully cure before construction of the structure to avoid cracking from the structure's weight over time (which has happend in the Anthem area to some). And is the property located in a known area for ground fissures which are caused by depletion of ground water from pumping (Queen Creek/San Tan area) and can open up after heavy rains and cause structural/property damage. And the usual concerns such as radon gas and termites or other infestations such as ants, roaches and scorpions.

All of which can affect the health, safety, soundness and the market value of a property, in addition to the amount of foreclosures, inventory/supply, location, amenities, environmental and economical factors of the market area.
3 votes
Michelle Car…, Agent, Coppertino, AL
Tue Apr 26, 2011
This is a big unknown. Maybe you should consider homes that are less likely to have been built with this material - either in another area or built when this product was not yet in use.
0 votes
Rkinsell, , Scottsdale, AZ
Wed Sep 22, 2010
There is more risk in buying a home in Anthem because it is in Anthem. Its so far from anything its going to be a LONG time before they are worth anything.
0 votes
We bought in Anthem (country club) in 2011 because it was under valued. Now selling 4 years later we're up over 50k from what we paid. Loved the community, going to miss it. But with the conversion from US Greenback to our currently low Canadian Loonie that home has become a great investment!
Flag Mon Mar 23, 2015
we moved here to anthem 10 mos. ago & love that it's away from everything. that's the main reason we moved here. Much quieter & less congested than other parts of the city. You were so wrong in the home values here. Our home has increased substantially in the few mos. we've been here.
Flag Wed Aug 7, 2013
AZbuyer, Home Buyer, 66044
Mon Apr 20, 2009
David -

Thank you for answering my targeted question for Maricopa and Queen Creek, "Were some of the homes in Maricopa or Queen Creek, AZ built with Chinese-made drywall?" You were the only person so far that answered that question. I respect a good appraiser and someone willing to speak their mind as you have in some of your past answers to other questions from individuals.

Although you answered my question saying that it most likely would not cause the same problems in Arizona, would you feel that the chance of it causing problems in Arizona to be low enough that it should not be a significant concern to long term homeowners who have chinese drywall? If I do not know whether or not a house is built with chinese drywall, and a home inspector cannot tell me for sure one way or the other, then I will assume it is possibly made with chinese drywall until shown otherwise. This is why I changed my question about chinese drywall when asking in the Anthem Q&A section.

I appreciate you and everyone else that is willing to take their time to answer my questions. Thank you!
0 votes
David - Appr…, , Maricopa, AZ
Mon Apr 20, 2009
You asked this same question about Queen Creek and Maricopa a several days ago. The answer I provided then applies to Anthem as well -

"It would be very difficult to determine if Chinese Drywall was used without removing the existing walls to see. However, as you stated before, being in a dry climate area, there most likely would not be the same problems, as in more humid and moist climate areas, with plumbing fixtures, pipes, exterior walls, and appliances getting corrosion from sulfer contaminents since the product was concentrated mostly in the Southeast. The concern about Chinese Drywall and its use has been around for quite some time so the article is not saying anything new."
0 votes
Lucinda Tkach, , Phoenix, AZ
Sun Apr 19, 2009
I have not heard of this there! However a full inspection should be able to disclose this!

I am bringing several buyers to the area because of the awesome community! If you have to commute to the city for employment it is about a 45-60 minute drive in the morning! I am bringing buyers that do not have to commute there or work in North Phoenix.

Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions!

Lucinda Tkach
Windermere Central

0 votes
Doreen Drew, Agent, Anthem, AZ
Sun Apr 19, 2009
I recently sold a home to a former EPA executive who had the same concern. They alerted their home inspector to search for any signs during the home inspection. The signs are clear and easy to spot, if they know anything about the problem. This specific home showed no signs and the inspector said the drywall did not come from China. The home was built by Del Webb-Pulte. If you buy anything, during the years, this was going on just make sure your inspector checks for any traces.
0 votes
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