What types of homes are needed in Apache Junction, Gold Canyon?

A view of a house under construction in the East Valley. (Photo by Arianna Grainey, Independent Newsmedia)

The wide spectrum of housing options and prices in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon are important to present and potential employers. Although the options are good and getting better, local officials contend there is room for improvement.

Developers are building new single-family homes costing $200,000-400,000 and up to the east and west of Apache Junction, with homes in the city going for closer to $100,000.

At Tonto Forest, north of Superstition Boulevard/Brown Road and west of Meridian Drive, the county line, homes start at $494,000, according to the Bellago Homes website.

At Peralta Canyon, between Peralta Trails and Gold Canyon and close to U.S. Highway 60, six home builders are working in the area, with homes in phase I going for $200,000 and more.

With new and used homes, it is a seller’s market in both Apache Junction and Gold Canyon, a real estate broker familiar with the area says.

A mixture of types of homes in Apache Junction means the area can be more affordable for some buyers, Liz Harris, designated broker of Liz Harris Realty, said in a phone interview.

“Gold Canyon is mostly single-family residences. There’s not really a housing mix in Gold Canyon, whereas Apache Junction has the manufactured homes and mobile home parks, so there’s a little bit more of a mix in terms of affordability,” Ms. Harris said.

“Right now, that’s affordable housing because a lot of the manufactured homes in the mobile home parks are under $100,000,” she said.

Ms. Harris is a member of the board of directors for the South East Valley Association of Realtors. Her website is http://lizharrisrealtor.com.

Having a diverse portfolio of housing types is important for Apache Junction, Janine Solley, director of economic development for Apache Junction, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“From an economic-development perspective, diverse housing options that meet the needs of a wide spectrum of a diverse workforce is important,” she said.

“Employers need access to a local, reliable workforce within a reasonable commute shed,” Ms. Solley said.

“The types and quality of jobs determine what an employee would consider a reasonable commute. And, the types and quality of housing stock options may dictate what neighborhood or area (within that commute shed) an employee will choose to live,” she said.

Building permits

In the first three months of 2018, the city of Apache Junction has issued 16 building permits for single-family homes.
Full-year data includes the following building permits issued per year: 2017, 42; 2016, 52; 2015, 33; 2014, 35; and 2013, 68.

For all of unincorporated Pinal County, which includes Gold Canyon and property to the north and east of Apache Junction, but also down to Picacho and Casa Grande, in the first three months of 2018 there have been 449 building permits issued for single-family homes.

Full-year data includes the following building permits in unincorporated Pinal County: 2017, 2,133; 2016, 1,549; 2015, 1,384; 2014, 1,059; and 2013, 1,170.

Under construction

Housing subdivisions under construction in Gold Canyon include the following:

  • Peralta Canyon: The 320-acre master planned community planned for 752 lots. “Peralta Canyon, which boasts excellent views of the nearby Superstition Mountains, consists of the last significant privately owned parcel of undeveloped land in Gold Canyon,” according to a press release from Crown West Realty. Homebuilders including Lennar, Cal-Atlantic, Gehan Homes, Beazer Homes, David Weekley Homes and KB Home purchased finished lots in the master-planned community between June 2017 and February 2018. “Peralta Canyon is situated between two completed residential developments and is the last available master planned community in Gold Canyon,” according to the release.
  • Hughes Development: Four semi-custom homes priced from $590,000 remain in the gated community of Mountain Whisper development, some on South Willow Springs Trail in Gold Canyon, according to the Hughes Development website.
  • Club Village: The development at 3324 S. Woodbine Court in Gold Canyon is with Bellago Homes, according to its website.

Housing subdivisions being developed in Apache Junction include the following:

  • Bel Agave, south of East Old West Highway and east of Tomahawk Road, an age 55-plus gated community, has houses starting in the high $100,000s, according to the Kauffman Homes website.
  • Stagecoach Trails, north of West Superstition Boulevard and east of Ocotillo Drive, has houses starting in the $100,000s, from Kauffman Homes and Liberty Homes.
  • Bella Corona, at Ironwood Drive and 20th Avenue, by Bela Flor Communities.

There are “a number of semi-custom home sites at various locations throughout the city. The city has identified a ‘Top 10’ list of parcels that would provide excellent residential infill opportunities for additional quality, residential site-built homes,” Ms. Solley said.

Under construction in Maricopa County northwest and adjacent to Apache Junction is Bellago Homes’ Tonto Forest housing subdivision with homes starting at $494,000, according to the Bellago Homes website.

“There’s not a ton of building going on in Apache Junction and Gold Canyon like there is in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, but there is building,” Ms. Harris said.

“In AJ, you have more of the affordable housing like Kauffman and Liberty, whereas in Gold Canyon you have a little bit more of the custom-home builds. We’re talking about the $400,000-plus price range, whereas in AJ the builders that I mention, by the time you do your upgrades you’re in the low $200,000s,” Ms. Harris said.

Single-level homes needed?

Apache Junction and Gold Canyon need homes that are one-story or have elevators, Ms. Harris said.

“What’s really in need are a lot of single-residence smaller homes, but they don’t always pencil out for the builders after the acquisition of the land,” she said.

“What they need is for 55-plus communities, active-adult communities, they don’t want stairs. So we need the single-level homes,” she said.

“Another alternative would be single-level, more of a condo with an elevator,” with a lock-in lease, Ms. Harris said.
“So that someone can come to Arizona, enjoy the winters here and be able to lock the place up and spend six months up north,” she said.

When winter residents decide to move permanently to Apache Junction or Gold Canyon, they could have a home they can access that doesn’t have stairs.

“They would be a lot of one- and two-bedrooms,” she said. “It’s not quite an apartment complex because you have the amenities. You have ownership. So you actually buy the unit, you’ll have an HOA expense, the HOA will maintain the amenities, but there’s not that yard maintenance,” she said.

“Gold Canyon, there is a lot of 55-plus living and I think we need to start catering to those people coming, moving to Arizona. A lot of Baby Boomers and older, they’ve been wanting to retire to Arizona for the last decade, but because their properties up north have fallen in value they have to wait for that recovery before they were able to sell. Now they’re able to sell, they’re coming here and it’s time to really ask the developers to build the right product,” she said.

‘Live-work-play’ buildings

Live-work-play buildings, where retail or other businesses and employment are on the first level and housing above, could be a good fit for both Apache Junction and Gold Canyon, Ms. Solley and Ms. Harris said.

“Mixed-use developments that would offer ‘live-work-play’ options are perfectly suited for and already allowed by the city’s B-3 zoning, which is primarily found in and around the downtown core area,” Ms. Solley said.

“That is a phenomenal concept,” Ms. Harris said of “live-work-play” developments. “It takes you back to the days of New York City, where they have the shops on the bottom. Phenomenal concept, but it doesn’t always take off,” she said.

“If it’s marketed correctly, I think it’s very smart,” Ms. Harris said. “It would be a brilliant move for them,” she said if live-work-play developments were offered in Apache Junction.

Editor Richard Dyer can be reached at rdyer@newszap.com

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