Builders see new home buying pick up in East Valley - East Valley Tribune: Real Estate

Builders see new home buying pick up in East Valley

As new developments move forward Gilbert among most desirable spots

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Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013 7:04 am | Updated: 7:31 pm, Wed Jun 26, 2013.

How much movement has there been in new home construction in the East Valley in recent months?

Shea Homes expected to still be building at its existing Gilbert and Chandler developments through the end of 2013.

But today, halfway through the year, the Gilbert developments of Seville and SPACES at Evans Ranch, as well as Lantana at Power Ranch and Old Stone Ranch in Chandler are all sold out, Ken Peterson, the vice president of marketing and sales for Shea Homes told the Tribune this week.

Gilbert’s Morrison Ranch – the highest selling master-planned community in Arizona in 2012 — opened Elliot Groves to buyers this spring and there’s movement in getting two new areas ready for development.

And then there’s Mesa’s Eastmark, a 5-square-mile master planned community which opened its first residential development to buyers June 1.

Though the recession hit the area hard, the East Valley’s growing transportation system, job creation and community amenities are leading buyers to pick the area, home builders and community leaders said.

“I think that’s why even the housing recovery in Chandler and Gilbert have come along so much more quickly than other communities. Everyone wants to live in the southeast Valley because of those amenities, those jobs, the focus the communities have had in developing a great place for a well educated workforce to live,” said Chandler’s economic development director Christine Mackay.

Shea’s Peterson agreed.

“When you look at the southeast Valley and its infrastructure and its freeway system, it’s a good corridor to get to venues and sports events,” he said. Then there are the employment opportunities with Intel expanding in Chandler and job growth around Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, he said.

Gilbert is especially good, Peterson said, because prices remain more affordable than other areas.

“When a family looks for a place to live, Gilbert is a good choice. It’s planned its community with parks and trails,” he said. “If someone wants to come to an area that’s vibrant with a lot of shopping, it’s Gilbert.”

Shea fast-forwarded plans for its next big Gilbert development, Marbella Vineyards, because it’s run out of home sites to sell in Gilbert and Chandler, Peterson said. Marbella will open in late July and will eventually have 380 homes. Marbella will also launch a new home design concept for the company.

One mile north of Marbella, at Higley Road south of Queen Creek Road, The Bridges at Gilbert is also nearing its grand opening. The community will feature more than half a dozen builders, including Shea, Pulte, Maracay, Meritage, T.W. Lewis by David Weekley Homes and more.

Home builders are anticipating sales to start in the fall.

July will be busy for Morrison Ranch as it seeks to slightly tweak its plans for 157 acres at the northwest corner of Higley and Warner roads to make lots a little bigger than expected. The developer planned to give 10 acres of land to Gilbert Unified School District for a school site, but received a letter in February that the district will not seek to build a school there.

Scott Morrison said he expects home builders to start work there in May or June of next year.

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