Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gilbert new-home construction on rise, leading Valley

Gilbert continues to lead the Valley in new-home construction, and the town has outpaced even Phoenix in single-family home permits issued each month this year.

After ending 2010 with five months of sluggish activity, homebuilding in Gilbert is on the rise again, more than doubling in pace from January to June, town records show.

Year-over-year permit numbers are climbing, and the town is on pace for its best year since 2007.

In January, Gilbert began to see a modest uptick in home permits issued with 63, a 26 percent jump from December.

The town then issued 88 single-family permits in February, and the number spiked 53 percent to 135 in March.

As homebuilding revs up, the town receives a financial boost through increases in system-development-fee and sales-tax revenue.

Gilbert assesses eight types of impact fees on developers that total $19,684 per single-family residential unit. The fees pay for infrastructure such as roads, water lines and public-safety facilities.

The town has brought in $2.1 million more in development fees than officials projected for the first 11 months of fiscal year 2011, which ended June 30.

Mark Toon, a designated broker for Re/Max Alliance Group in Gilbert, said agents in his office have noticed the surge in new-home sales.

"People are sick and tired of messing with short sales," Toon told The Republic. "It's getting to that point where the buyer is saying, 'I'll pay $50,000 more to get a brand new house in the neighborhood I want.' "

Many real estate agents recommend new homes to their clients, Toon said.

"You still don't get as much for your money as in a resale, but that's quickly changing," he said.

Meanwhile, the number of existing homes on the Valley market has fallen below 22,000, or about two months worth of inventory, Toon said.

The result is resurgence in consumer demand for new houses.

"It's just like it was in '05, except the prices are half of what they were," Toon said.

If the current pace holds in Gilbert, the town will issue more than 1,400 home permits this year, the most since 2,900 were issued in 2007.

From 1996 to 2006, Gilbert issued more than 3,000 home permits every year but one, according to Census Bureau statistics. In 2004, that number peaked at 5,071.

Then the recession put the kibosh on speculative construction, and the number of residential permits issued plummeted to 1,109 in 2008 before rebounding to 1,275 in 2009.

Most of the construction permits issued this year are for homes in south Gilbert, where developers are looking to finish partially-built neighborhoods.

Between Jan. 1 and May 16, 20 different homebuilders were issued permits, with Blandford Homes receiving the most, 68, according to statistics provided by Gilbert.

Other major players include Ashton Woods Homes, K. Hovanian Homes and Taylor Morrison.

Power Ranch, a giant master-planned community near Power and Germann roads, saw the most activity with 72 permits issued. Morrison Ranch, Seville and Lyons Gate also were among the hot spots.

At buildout, Gilbert's population is expected to exceed 300,000. Census 2010 figures put the town's current population around 209,000.

More on this topic
New-home permits

The number of single-family home permits issued in Gilbert has spiked after several months of sluggish activity late last year.








*On pace for 1,440.














by Parker Leavitt The Arizona Republic Jul. 15, 2011 08:30 AM

Gilbert new-home construction on rise, leading Valley

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