Observations

IT’S HOTTER IN SCOTTSDALE.

Second-home buyers can’t get enough of Arizona.

Miles Garber
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Warmer climates, year-round outdoor recreation, luxurious amenities and small-town vibes have retirees and investors alike looking to Arizona’s Sonoran region as a major destination. Arizona has seen more visitors than ever before in recent years, and high-end home buyers can’t seem to get enough of the Phoenix and Scottsdale markets. So where are they all coming from and how much are they investing in their new properties? We have been investigating area trends, and we’ve uncovered some insights into what might be driving the move to the high desert.

Living a life of leisure.
Award-winning golf courses, spas, shopping and dining along with year-round swimming, tennis, hiking, boating and outdoor living are all must-haves for affluent sun-seekers looking to settle into the good life. For that reason, the majority of homes being purchased in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area are either below $100,000 or above $1,000,000, suggesting the bulk of these second-home shoppers are relatively well-to-do (and primarily retiring from more expensive out-of-state markets).

Desperately seeking sunshine.
When we look closely at the numbers, we actually find a concentration of buyers from Arizona and California at the $100,000 price threshold, which could mean that locals are recognizing the demand and looking to capitalize on value-driven listings as potential rental properties. The majority of buyers from the Midwest, Canada, and the Pacific Northwest have budgets of $1,000,000 and beyond, often with the aim of permanent relocation or the option of seasonal desert living. These snowbirds are responsible for driving the development for one of Arizona’s swankiest small towns, Scottsdale.

A return to Main Street.
More second-home buyers are choosing Scottsdale over Phoenix as their desired destination these days, with second-home ownership in the region rising from 16% to 38% since 2009 as a result. The greater Phoenix area has seen significant market growth over the last decade, likely due to more affordable real estate options (relative to West Coast markets) and an influx of affluent retirees from out-of-state. Scottsdale shows the highest concentration of second-home buyers in the area, whereas downtown Phoenix and Encanto, where only 1 out of every 4 purchases are for second homes, reported the lowest concentration.

The greater Phoenix area is experiencing record growth as more buyers than ever before are making Arizona their home away from home—and this red-hot market shows no signs of cooling off anytime soon.

“Second-home ownership in the region rising from 16% to 38%.”
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