CASA GRANDE — The number of permits pulled for the construction of new homes in Casa Grande continues to grow and is even starting to match or even exceed the number of new home permits issued in the city of Maricopa.
Last year, the city of Casa Grande issued a record 549 permits for new single-family homes. In 2018, the city had a total of 254 permits pulled for new single-family homes. So far this year, the city has had a total of 317 permits issued for new homes and is still on track to exceed the number of permits that were issued last year, despite the arrival of COVID-19.
The number of new homes being built is a good thing, according to Debbie Yost, a real estate broker and owner of Yost Realty Group at Re/Max Casa Grande.
“We need more housing availability in Casa Grande,” Yost stated in an email. “New construction didn’t keep up with normal population increases over the past ten years.”
At the same time, new companies like Lucid Motors and the expansion of existing companies are attracting more people to the area, she said. And the COVID-19 pandemic has even created a demand, with more people looking to move to the suburbs and away from many metro areas.
“As employees shifted to working virtually, they realized they could live in areas with less population, more outdoor living opportunities and lower-priced housing,” Yost said. “Our location in central Arizona offers an ideal place to live: amazing climate most of the year, close to two metro areas, the intersection of two interstates and within a day’s drive of so many climates, recreation and opportunities. It’s an ideal place to live and this will only continue.”
Casa Grande isn’t the only area experiencing a tight housing market. The number of available houses on the market is low across the country and the state, Yost said.
New housing stock will not help today’s home prices because the current demand to purchase homes in Casa Grande is so great, she said. However, because so many of the houses that are being built are being designed for first-time or entry-level home owners, the new construction could have an effect on rent prices. Rental rates have been increasing over the past few years, Yost said.
“Many of the families who have been renting are shifting to new construction purchases. With interest rates so low, it’s often less expensive to purchase a home than to continue to rent,” she said.
There’s a number of reasons why a home buyer may look at purchasing a new home over an existing home, Yost said. New homes usually need fewer repairs, the appliances and heating and cooling and other systems are brand new and still under warranty. They may just like being the first family to live in the home or it may be the only option open to them on the market.
New homes are also attractive to investors who like them because all of the appliances and systems in the home are new and may not need a lot of maintenance for a few years, she said.
However, new homes also have a few drawbacks, Yost said. They often don’t come with extra features such as window coverings, ceiling fans, landscaping or pools that an existing home might have.
SE Construction from Gilbert is one developer that is looking to build new homes in the Casa Grande area. The company has purchased property near the Interstate 10/Interstate 8 interchange and plans to build energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and technologically advanced homes, stated SE Construction owner Elizabeth Adams.
“Arizona as a whole and Pinal County specifically are experiencing growth at a rate higher than the national average. The inventory of available homes is at an all-time low. Homes are selling quickly,” Adams said.
Part of that demand is being driven by all of the economic development that is happening in Pinal County and Casa Grande, she said.
“In addition to Lucid Motors, there is a great deal of growth happening in Pinal County,” Adams said. “Jackob Andersen (president and CEO of Saint Holdings) and others have positioned Pinal County to be the next manufacturing hub. In addition to Lucid, Nikola, a shopping center at the I-10/I-8 interchange, the gas plant, new manufacturing training at CAC and all the supporting businesses are already slated to open doors. There are other companies that are eyeing Casa Grande and the surrounding areas to bring their businesses to as well.”
SE Construction homes include energy-efficient insulation, construction materials and windows, solar power, plumbing that allows septic water to be used for irrigation, tankless water heaters, LED lighting and smart home technology. The company plans to initially offer five 2,200-square-foot homes on 1.5-acre lots.
Adams said the company believes that the solar-powered, energy-efficient homes will complement the alternative energy work that Nikola and Lucid are doing and be a great draw to people who are looking for homes with such features.
“The demand for these types of homes continues to increase. There are communities popping up nationwide that are solar powered. Building environmentally friendly and technologically advanced homes is quickly becoming the norm across the country as consumers desire independence and a simpler, more comfortable way of life,” Adams said.