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By KEVIN REAGAN Staff Writer Jan 30, 2017 Updated Jan 30, 2017
CASA GRANDE — Last year was good for Casa Grande’s housing market and may put the city on a positive path for 2017.
According to data collected by The Cromford Report, which studies real estate trends in Maricopa and Pinal counties, the average price per square-foot in Casa Grande grew by 6.8 percent over the last year.
Tina Tamboer, a senior real estate analyst for Cromford, said the local market balanced during 2016 with its housing supply shrinking and demand increasing.
She estimated the city’s home sales grew by about 15 percent and its housing supply decreased by 10 percent, making the market more competitive for buyers.
Excitement seems to be in the air, Tamboer said, after Lucid Motors announced plans to build an electric car plant in Casa Grande. When a community is expecting more stable jobs, she said, that generally makes people more optimistic about real estate.
Though Casa Grande is seeing more activity, it hasn’t been gaining as many homes compared to Maricopa. Tamboer reported the neighboring city approved 471 residential building permits between November 2015 and November 2016.
Casa Grande reportedly approved about 140 permits during that same time. The city’s most recent building report shows only one home permit was approved in December 2016.
Perception seems to be a reason why home builders are flocking to Maricopa, according to Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland. The younger city is geographically closer to Phoenix, seen as having an easier commute for drivers.
The mayor wants to change how Casa Grande is marketed to Phoenix developers, convincing them one can get to the Valley just as fast from Casa Grande.
McFarland said he met with land brokers and builders last week in Scottsdale and was told the community first needs to clear its inventory of vacant lots. Many subdivisions were left unfinished in Casa Grande after the housing market crashed in 2008.
A dialogue has been started with the folks up north, the mayor said, and the city will be examining how it can be more appealing to builders.
Homes in Eloy, Arizona City, Coolidge and Florence have also seen the average price per square-foot increase over the last year.
The growth in Pinal County doesn’t mean a situation that led to the Great Recession, Tamboer added. The previous housing bubble was spurred by investors buying multiple homes they didn’t use, but this latest growth is led by people purchasing homes they will actually occupy — a trend that leads to more positive results in the whole economy.
Tom Ruff, a data analyst for The Information Market, sees 2017 as having a slightly stronger housing market compared to last year in Arizona. One factor contributing to this theory is the projection more people will be able to qualify for home loans in the new year.
Those who lost homes to foreclosure during the recession are starting to again qualify for loans after a seven-year moratorium.
Tamboer expects local house prices to continue rising, as long as there are no bold changes made on a federal level with the new administration.
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