Why the West Valley still hasn’t passed the East Valley

By Mike Sunnucks | Rose Law Group Reporter

It is a question on the minds of the real estate and home building industries for years: When will West Valley surpass the East Valley with new home and development?

Despite continued build-out of the East Valley, the West Valley still has not surpassed its eastern neighbors.

“I think for the past 15 years a lot of developers and builders and analysts have expected a shift from the East Valley to the West Valley because of the continued build out of East Valley land,” said Jim Belfiore, president of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting in Phoenix.

That just has not happened, Belfiore said.

He said in the fourth quarter the East Valley accounted for 32 percent of all new home sales in the Phoenix. The West Valley accounted for 29 percent of fourth quarter home sales, Belfiore said.

Those numbers mirror past splits between east and west sides of the Phoenix metro area. It comes despite much of the East Valley being built significantly more than the open expanses west of Phoenix.

Belfiore said the East Valley is still viewed as having more jobs and better paying jobs than the West Valley. Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe and Mesa have all seen job gains during the current economic cycle. “The East Valley has far more employment and its jobs are higher paying,” Belfiore said.

The West Valley continues to see growth with the opening of the Loop 303 and South Mountain freeway and economic development wins such as Microsoft’s data center in Goodyear and a new White Claw production plant in Glendale.

Belfiore said the East Valley also continues to have a wider variety and higher price points for new housing.

“In the East Valley many of the new communities are gated, and they have more extensive amenities,” Belfiore said.

He points the variety of price points (including some higher ones) at new developments in the East Valley and those have a greater variety of amenities. 

Conversely, the West Valley housing market is still focused on affordability, Belfiore said.

“They are targeting more affordable buyers,” he said.

Though the real estate expert points to Toll Brothers’ Sterling Grove community in Surprise as setting a new standard for West Valley homes and amenities.

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