CASA GRANDE — Casa Grande’s building department issued 101 new home permits in January, a number the city hadn’t seen in years.

But that number might just be an anomaly, said Paul Tice, the city’s planning and development director.

Nevertheless, it shows a positive momentum in the city. In comparison, the city only issued 255 new single-family home permits all of last year.

Tice said February’s number will be back down to the more “normal” range of about 30 for the month.

“Activity is picking up for single-family homes,” he said.

Tice said 98 percent of the permits issued were issued to production builders, homebuilders that purchase multiple lots and offer select home styles in certain neighborhoods.

Several homebuilders actively are building in the city after receiving approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission last year, including Brown Homes. Michael Brown, CEO of Brown Homes, said the company recognizes the potential that Casa Grande has and has made an investment in three neighborhoods: Desert Sky Ranch, Los Portales and McCartney Center.

Brown Homes came back to the Casa Grande market in early 2017, after leaving for several years. Los Portales is the most recent addition to the Brown Homes inventory, and Brown said the homes are designed for “move-up” buyers and active adults. The homes feature Casa Grande’s first RV garages, oversized garages that accommodate recreational vehicles, fifth-wheels or boats.

Brown said his company is poised to be in the Casa Grande market for the near future, saying that he believes the economy will remain strong for homebuyers. With the different pricing points offered at his three communities, he said, he believes now is the time to buy.

“There is a 25 percent better value in homes in Casa Grande than in Maricopa (city) for the same home and similar commute to Chandler or Gilbert,” Brown said.

Housing

Homes are under construction at Desert Sky Ranch in Casa Grande.

Brown predicts Casa Grande will continue to grow, with jobs and corporations moving to the city. Add that to the affordability, and he said growth is likely to continue.

Additionally, Brown said, it is easy to do business in Casa Grande. The pro-development city makes it easy for production homebuilders like himself to start building.

Tice said that once a builder has submitted plans and the housing product has been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, builders simply need to tell the city what specific house is going on each particular lot. In essence, that’s the building permit that’s issued.

Tice said there still remain close to 6,000 lots that have been platted and approved. Not all of those are on the market, of course, but with the plethora of lots, building is poised to continue.

And that’s just for single-family homes. The city also issues building permits for manufactured homes, which Tice said historically has been a significant portion of the building in Casa Grande.

In January, just six permits were issued for manufactured homes.

But that could soon change. A new 205-space mobile home park is set to be developed near Casa Grande Avenue and O’Neil Drive on a 42-acre parcel. Tice said mobile homes often come into the market at a lower price point, typically about $110,000 to $140,000 for a double-wide home.

In comparison, Brown said homes in Desert Sky Ranch, the company’s starter home neighborhood in Casa Grande, start in the $180,000 range.

“There is a need in Casa Grande for affordable housing,” Brown said.

Elsewhere in Pinal County, prices are dependent on location. In Coolidge, where Brown Homes recently has begun building in McClellan Meadows, prices start in the high $160,000s for a 1,250-square-foot home. But in Gold Canyon, where Lennar Homes is building in Peralta Canyon, homes start at $218,990 for just shy of 1,400 square feet. Requests for comment to Lennar Homes weren’t immediately returned.

In January, Pinal County officials issued 247 single-family permits outside of cities, two multifamily permits, 15 manufactured home permits and three permits for park models.

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