A Phoenix Housing Boom Forms, in Hint of U.S. Recovery

February 25, 2013

It seems like cocktail parties and dinner tables are filled with stories of families trying to find their next home. As the metro Phoenix market recovers and buyers are searching for that right home, the competition for homes is beginning to heat up again. Local builders like Pulte and Taylor Morrison are reporting strong sales and forecasting for a stronger, but measured future.

In their cover story on February 21, Bloomberg Businessweek examined the housing market in Phoenix and national housing and financial trends that are influencing the market. The reporter spent time with local realtors, visiting communities like Verrado and Eastmark to understand the dynamics of the return of the market here.

The first image in the Businessweek story is an aerial of Eastmark and the story closes with a short interview with Charley Freericks, DMB’s President. During their visit, Berfield was able to see the development of the new roads within Eastmark and the progress on Eastmark’s Visitors and Community Center, The ‘Mark. Eastmark’s grand opening is planned for June 1st.

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A Phoenix Housing Boom Forms, in Hint of U.S. Recovery

The Developer
In the eastern part of the Valley, past Superstition Springs and Superstition Boulevard, on 3,200 acres where General Motors (GM) used to test cars, the beginnings of an ambitious master planned community are taking shape. Called Eastmark, it’s being developed by a private company based in Scottsdale, DMB. Right now it’s rubble from the buildings and racetracks that GM left behind; it’s dirt; it’s palm trees so newly planted they’re still wrapped; it’s sidewalks scattered here and there.

The price of homes in metropolitan Phoenix could rise 8.5 percent this year, according to Zillow’s Humphries. Anything much higher than that would be worrisome, says nearly every economist who has looked at the city. Orr, the Cromford Reportpublisher, thinks people are still wary. “But knowing Arizona, we’ll probably build too much at some point.”

When Eastmark opens this summer, there will be model homes from seven different builders, blueprints and glossy maps showing the 775 lots planned for the first phase, parks, gazebos, and basketball courts. The debris will be hidden behind screens. DMB is also recruiting employers. So far, First Solar (FSLR), a solar panel manufacturer, has set up an office.

DMB bought the GM Proving Ground in 2006 for $265 million. The land remained unused for five years. Now everyone working on the development has a countdown clock on their desk: fewer than 100 days to go. DMB President Charley Freericks says his company is trying to be responsibly optimistic. “It’s like any trauma,” he says. “You forget when it gets good again.”

Jill Hegardt

Vice President

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