Communities with a “Buzz”

People from California, northern states and Canadians have been flocking to the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas for many years now, making the Phoenix metropolitan one of the most populous areas in the U.S.

Clearly, the weather, with over 300 days of sun each year invites many young people and retirees, but there is a clear mix of affordability and affluence that is suitable for just about anyone’s budget.

With so many visitors, naturally the surrounding cities and communities have built up and created reputations of their own.  The buzz is here, and it’s likely here to stay.  This site is dedicated to educating and offering real estate direction as they move forward with living decisions in the Phoenix area.

The Phoenix Metro Real Estate Spectrum:
The Phoenix metropolitan area covers a huge swath of land that seems to be somewhat nebulous as it sprawls, but one can easily drive for an hour and a half from one side to the next.  For the purposes of our discussion, we’ll use Surprise on the northwest corner, Maricopa on the southwest corner, and San Tan Valley on the southeast corner, and Scottsdale on the northeast corner.

Home buyers can find real affordability with three and four bedroom homes for as little as $70,000 all the way up to multimillion dollar mansions all over the area, but mainly centered in Paradise Valley and North Scottsdale.

In each area, certain communities have popped up over the years which seem to get more buzz than others, whether that is from the sheer size of the communities or because the communities have done something to separate themselves from the pack.

McCormick Ranch
This was Arizona’s first master planned community, established in 1972 in what then was north Scottsdale, but today is really in the heart of Scottsdale in a relatively affluent area.
McCormick Ranch covers a huge area, encompassing 44 different subdivisions, over 25 miles of bike paths, seven lakes, and two championship golf courses (McCormick Ranch Golf Club’s Palm course and Pine course).

Available properties in McCormick ranch will range from the high 100s for some condos and townhouses up to the multi-million dollar homes on over an acre of property.

If one is looking for new homes here, they probably won’t succeed without finding a rare empty lot or tear down home from which to build new.  As it was developed in the early seventies, most homes were built in the seventies and eighties.

The appeal of is in the proximity to both downtown Scottsdale, access to the 101 freeway and north Scottsdale McDowell mountains, along with the general beauty of the community.

Gainey RanchGainey Ranch Homes
Located just to the north of McCormick Ranch, Gainey Ranch was once 640 acre Arabian horse ranch owned by Daniel Gainey.  When the ranch was sold to Markland Properties in 1980 for development, the Gainey family held on to 80 acres to stable their horses for the All Arabian Horse Show which comes to Scottsdale once a year.

Smaller than McCormick ranch with only 19 communities and roughly 1,000 homes, Gainey Ranch is similar in affordability.

Homes for sale in Gainey Ranch will range from the low 200s for condos up to the multi-million dollar mark on the Fairways of Gainey Ranch Golf Club, in which Daniel Gainey’s former home was converted to the Estate Club.

Desert Ridge
With over 5,700 acres in the total development Desert Ridge sits on the northeast edge of Phoenix bordering Scottsdale to its west.  The community expects over $50,000 total residents when completed and building has really just begun, even though it started about 10 years ago.  The financial collapse of 2007 and ensuing rough economic years appear to be over and Desert Ridge is booming again.

Desert Ridge feels like Scottsdale with prices of homes for sale in Desert Ridge moderating a bit compared to Scottsdale.

DC Ranch HousesDC Ranch
Formerly a 43,000 acre cattle ranch abutting the McDowell Mountains in what is now northeast Scottsdale, the development of DC Ranch opened and welcomed its first residence in 1997.

The homes for sale in DC Ranch are well known to be upscale, although the low price point is still reasonable for many people at around $500,000.

The master planned community of DC Ranch is broken up into four Villages: Silverleaf, Desert Camp, Desert Parks and Country Club, and 25 neighborhoods inside the four villages.  Currently, some of the most expensive homes Arizona are listed in Silverleaf.

DC Ranch is an active community with two large recreation centers and two golf courses:  The Country Club at DC Ranch and Silverleaf.

Troon VillageTroon Village Living
Located approximately seven miles north of the 101 freeway in North Scottsdale, Troon Village is a 1,400 acre masterplanned community surrounding Troon Mountain.

Troon Village encompasses 12 communities and roughly 1,300 homes. Troon Village homes for sale will ranch from the mid-400s up to several million dollars.

The appeal here is in the elevation of the community (2,400 – 2,800 ft.) allowing for slightly cooler summers than the valley below, big views of Pinnacle Peak, the Sonoran desert, and the Phoenix Metro area, and lastly the golf.

Designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, Troon Country Club is one of Arizona top Golf courses.

Troon North PhotoTroon North
Situated just to the north of Troon Village, this 1,800 master planned community encompasses 15 different neighborhoods.

Like Troon Village, the appeal of this community is centered around overall lifestyle and golf.  The Troon North Golf Club has two Championship golf courses: Monument and Pinnacle.  Both are of world class quality.

Homes in Troon North will range from the mid 400’s up to several million dollars.  Additionally, there are lots for sale in Troon north and many people are building custom homes in this area as it continues to grow.

Traveling west from north Scottsdale along the 101 roughly 20 miles to northwest Peoria at the base of the Sonoran Foothills rests the 7,100 master planned community of Vistancia.

Established in 2004, Vistancia sits in the middle of a mountain preserve offering mountain views to its residents from each angle.   Currently with roughly 10,000 residents, the community features a 1,000 acre nature preserve and 1,700 acres of open space.

Those looking for properties for sale in Vistancia will have three major communities from which to choose: The Villages, Blackstone, and Trilogy.   Homes begin in the Villages at Vistancia range currently from the 200s to the high 500s.

Blackstone is the flagship brand at Vistancia.  Blackstone features a Jim Engh. designed 18 hole golf course at the private Blackstone Country Club.  Homes for sale in Blackstone range from the low 400s typically up to about 1 million, but the customs for sale can go up from there.

The last community at Vistancia is Trilogy.  Trilogy is an active adult community featuring an 18 hole course designed by Gary Panks at the Trilogy Gold Club.

Trilogy at Vistancia homes for sale will range from the low 200s to the high 800s.

Sun City Grand
Developed beginning in 1996 by Del E. Webb, Sun City Grand is an active adult community in the city of Surprise about 10 minutes to the south east of Vistancia, and 45 minutes northwest of downtown Phoenix.

This is a huge community with 4 championship golf course, two fitness centers, 5 swimming pools, two restaurants, and 40 plus activities clubs.  This is an extremely active community and was designed around the idea that the residents can live in a, for all practical purposes, self-contained community.

Homes for sale in Sun City Grand begin the mid-100s and can range into the 800s.  In fact, Del Webb created a variety of homes and condos with over 50 different floor plans from which to choose.

Terravita is a 823 acre gated and private golf community located in north Scottsdale, roughly 10 minutes north of the 101 in the high Sonoran Desert, with Cave Creek bordering the community to the west.

The golf course at Terravita Goff and Country Club is consistently ranked in the top 10 in Best of Arizona Business listings of Arizona’s top 10 private golf courses in five of the last nine years.

There are currently 1,380 residences at Terravita and home prices range from the 300s to over 1 million with a wide variety of floor plans.  Terravita was Del E. Webb’s first non-active adult community in Arizona.

Scottsdale Ranch
Located in what might now be considered mid Scottsdale at the southeast corner of the 101 freeway and Shea Blvd, Scottsdale ranch runs east about 1 mile.  Developed in 1984 by Markland Properties and Costain Arizona, Inc. this master planned community is over 1,100 acres with 3,938 properties, offering a wide variety of pricing and types of homes for sale in Scottsdale Ranch.

One can find high density condominiums in Scottsdale ranch priced in the 100s, all the way up to luxury homes in Scottsdale Ranch on 1 acre, priced over 1 million.

In the middle of the community is a 42 acre private lake, developed by the city of Scottsdale, Scottsdale Ranch and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and is part of the Indian Bend green belt system and serves as a control from runoff from the McDowell Mountains.  The lake is fed by a well located on the Scottsdale Ranch property.

McDowell Mountain RanchMcDowell Mountain Ranch Homes
Abutting the majestic foothills of the McDowell Mountains in northeast Scottsdale as the east/west running Bell Rd. must bend north/south due to the mountains, sits the 3,200 acre master planned community of McDowell Mountain Ranch, or the to the locals “The Ranch”.

Development began in 1995 and the last of just under 4,000 homes, in 26 different communities, from 14 different builders, was completed in 2003. Currently homes in McDowell Mountain Ranch will range from the low 300s up well in excess of 2 million for exclusive luxury properties high up in the hills abutting public land.

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