Friday, May 4, 2012

Gilbert home construction outpaces other cities in Valley

Home construction in Gilbert continues to outpace every other Valley municipality, and the town is on track for its most robust year in new-home permits since 2006.

Several new and existing subdivisions around Gilbert are experiencing a flurry of activity as homebuilders look to capitalize on a rebound in the housing market.

Nearly every Valley community has seen a significant jump in permit activity during the first few months of the year, but nowhere is the spike more pronounced than in Gilbert, according to data produced by the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona.

The town has issued 981 single-family home permits this year, compared with 437 permits during the same four-month period in 2011. Gilbert is on pace to issue almost 3,000 permits this year, which would nearly triple its total from two years ago.

A lack of inventory for resale houses is driving more real-estate agents to point prospective buyers toward new homes instead, Pulte Homes spokeswoman Jacque Petroulakis said.

"Overall, the Southeast Valley is seeing a lot of activity and buyer confidence in terms of real estate," Petroulakis said.

Pulte Homes is selling houses in two partially built subdivisions in Gilbert: Stratland Estates and Lyon's Gate. Both communities have seen an increase in traffic over the past six months, and the company has sold about twice as many homes as expected during the past three months, Petroulakis said.

Meanwhile, prices for the new homes have increased slightly with the rise in demand, she said.

Gilbert's sprawling Power Ranch community near Power and Germann roads has been one of the most active in home construction, according to town records. Gilbert issued 56 home permits for Power Ranch in April, more than any other subdivision.

About two dozen other communities, mainly in the town's southern region, were issued single-family permits in March and April, records show.

The vast majority of home permits result in a finished house with occupants, Planning & Development Services Manager Kyle Mieras said.

"I don't think we have many that are sitting vacant," Mieras said. "Builders aren't really building spec homes right now."

With Gilbert's average household size just over three people, the new homes could end up drawing several thousand residents over the next several months.

Homebuilders' construction plans are reviewed by nearly every town department to analyze the effect on traffic, schools and municipal services. Although it is rare for the town to reject a proposal, developers often work with officials and nearby residents to make changes to plans before they are approved by the Planning Commission, Mieras said.

In addition to single-family construction, at least three apartment plans are in Gilbert's pipeline that would result about 900 total units. There are now about 7,200 apartments in Gilbert.

About 95 percent of the town's housing inventory is single-family detached residences, according to the General Plan. A Maricopa Association of Governments report estimated there were about 74,000 homes in Gilbert in 2009, but the report suggests that number could grow to 92,000 in 2020 and 109,000 in 2030.

From 1996 to 2006, Gilbert issued more than 3,000 home permits every year but one, according to U.S. 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.

By the numbers

Gilbert has issued more than twice as many permits through the first four months of this year as compared with the same period in 2011.


January: 149.

February: 262.

March: 286.

April: 284.

Four-month total: 981.


January: 63.

February: 88.

March: 135.

April: 151.

Four-month total: 437.

Around the Valley

Permit numbers suggest more homes are being built in Gilbert than any other Valley municipality. The town has issued about twice as many permits in 2012 as Phoenix, which has issued the second most. Here are some municipalities' totals for the first quarter of 2012.

Gilbert: 697.

Phoenix: 347.

Mesa: 163.

Glendale: 71.

Chandler: 181.

Scottsdale: 64.

Goodyear: 201.

Queen Creek: 42.

New communities planned

The Gilbert Planning Commission has recently approved plans for several communities in Gilbert, including the following:

Marbella Vineyards

Date approved: April 4.

Description: The second phase of an existing community near Higley and Ocotillo roads, the project will include about 300 homes.


Date approved: April 4.

Description: The project includes plans for about 80 homes on the west side of Higley Road south of Riggs Road.

The Bridges East.

Date approved: March 7

Description: Plans include about 850 single-family homes in a master-planned community near Recker and Ocotillo roads.

Cooley Station North

Date Approved: Feb. 1

Description: The project will add about 70 homes to the Cooley Station subdivision near Recker and Warner roads.

by Parker Leavitt - May. 2, 2012 09:29 AM The Republic |

Gilbert home construction outpaces other cities in Valley

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