By Catherine Reagor| May 06th, 2019
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As metro Phoenix home prices hit another record, it’s not only first-time buyers looking for deals.

Move-up buyers are searching for the best values on bigger and pricier homes.

Phoenix’s Arcadia area, north-central Scottsdale, Ahwatukee, south Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert are some of the Valley’s most popular neighborhoods for move-up buyers. Prices in those areas have soared with demand.

The housing crash slowed upgrading for many buyers who couldn’t sell their homes. But now that Valley home prices have recovered from the crash for most homeowners, more are ready to trade up.

Here are some areas quickly climbing in popularity with move-up buyers.

North-central Phoenix

This popular neighborhood, also known as uptown, is drawing more families moving from Valley suburbs farther out.

The area is home to popular restaurants, historic and new homes, light rail and prestigious private high schools.

“We are seeing more people, particularly from the West Valley who want to move back to the central city for schools and jobs,” said Bobby Lieb with HomeSmart Elite. “People are discovering great values in north-central, particularly compared to Arcadia."

North-central’s median overall home price dipped about 1 percent to $545,000 in 2018, according to The Arizona Republic’s Street Scout Home Values.

The Street Scout data comes from The Information Market, owned by the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service.

SEE OUR DATABASE:  Home values in metro Phoenix: See how your ZIP code fares

Queen Creek

As home prices in Chandler and Gilbert have climbed, move-up buyers have headed farther out in the southeast Valley to find deals on new houses.

Queen Creek is a good area for finding some of the best values to move up in the East Valley, said Darwin Wall with Realty One Group.

Queen Creek neighborhoods closest to Gilbert and Chandler are the most popular. Neighborhoods farther out toward San Tan Valley are less expensive and drawing first-time buyers.

Buyers can often find new houses in Queen Creek similar to ones a few miles away in Chandler and Gilbert for at least $50,000 less.

The median new home price in Queen Creek is $334,155, compared to $407,463 in Gilbert and $423,450 in Chandler.

Peoria

In the northwest Valley, Peoria is drawing many move-up buyers.

The area that stretches from Glendale to Lake Pleasant has million-dollar homes in communities such as Vistancia, West Wing and Arrowhead Ranch.

And in newer Peoria communities closer in, houses are selling for under $500,000, as much as $100,000 cheaper than similar homes in the northeast Valley.

Loop 303 and Interstate 17 make the area closer in than Anthem and more accessible for buyers.

The overall median home price in Peoria is $310,000, compared with the Valley’s median of $268,000.

A Phoenix neighborhood just south of Peoria that borders I-17, the 85083 ZIP code posted the fourth biggest increase in sales – 35 percent – in 2018.

Desert Ridge

Development in this north Phoenix neighborhood, bisected by Loop 101, took off during the housing boom when land in the area sold for record prices.

But the bust stalled some of this area’s development as builders walked away from their pricey land. But buyers didn’t lose interest in Desert Ridge, they just had fewer options.

Now Desert Ridge is growing again, and the area’s new homes are definitely priced for move-up buyers.

Home sales climbed 29 percent in Desert Ridge’s 85054 ZIP code last year. The median home price increased 13 percent to $550,000.

Home builders D.R. Horton, Taylor Morrison and Pulte have all recently bought big tracts of state-owned land in the area.

In January, Crown Realty & Development paid $54 for a 96.5-acre parcel in Desert Ridge’s core called City North, where it plans homes, apartments, offices and retail.

Next hot spots

Here are areas where location and rising prices are enticing builders to construct larger homes with more amenities and buyers to renovate and expand older houses. Those two trends entice move-up buyers. 

  • Central Phoenix.
  • South Scottsdale.
  • Arcadia lite.
  • Downtown Tempe.
  • Central Glendale.

Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-8040. Follow her on Twitter @Catherinereagor.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

MORE ON STREET SCOUT HOME VALUES:

See home values by ZIP code on our Street Scout map

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