Pinal Partnership hosted its February breakfast at Elements Event Center with the focus on the housing market in Pinal County. Jeremy Ramsdale of Ashton Woods and Jeff Gunderson of Lennar comprised a panel discussing the home-building and home-buying outlook. Some points to ponder:
- There is an overall good outlook for housing in Pinal County.
- Both Ashton Woods and Lennar are very active in San Tan Valley. Maricopa is “not quite as active” as STV but more typical of a steady growth in home-building.
- “We think the future is bright for Maricopa,” Ramsdale said. “I think it’s going to be an attractive location.”
- Developers see Maricopa has a wonderful quality of life but has “some challenges” with traffic.
- Maricopa needs a new sign policy allowing builder signs to direct traffic to developments off the main road. Ramsdale said the current kiosks are hard to read, so newcomers on John Wayne Parkway have trouble finding Sorrento, where Ashton Woods operates as Starlight Homes.
- Lennar has taken “a couple of looks” at Maricopa, Gunderson said, but the market “hasn’t matured enough” for the company to come to town.
- All existing home sites are being absorbed. When all are absorbed, the prices will go up.
- Good things will happen south of the railroad tracks when the overpass is completed.
- Finding labor for home-building continues to be a big challenge. Many workers were lost to the recession and SB1070, a sweeping, anti-illegal immigration law. A program was even started in the penal system to train inmates in building trades, with “fantastic response.”
- Home-builders are advertising all across the country to get skilled labor to move to Arizona.
- Gunderson said more young people need to be encouraged to go to a trade school rather than college to fill a need in the market and “make more money.”
- Pinal County is finally seeing entry-level homebuyers coming into the market.
This article appears in the March issue of InMaricopa.