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WV boasts top master-planned communities

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Estrella resident Kim Doud, left, helped establish the Weststar Hill Trail with Ken Hill, John Peters and Brian “Harv” Roberts. (Photo courtesy Estrella)

By Wayne Schutsky

The West Valley is home to two of the nation’s best-selling master-planned communities as Goodyear’s Estrella and Buckeye’s Verrado each ranked in the top 30 on RCLCO Real Estate Advisor’s Top-Selling Master-Planned Communities Mid-Year 2017 report.

Estrella made the largest leap of any community listed in the report. After ranking 50th on RCLCO’s 2016 year-end report with 270 homes sales, the development approached that total with 214 sales midway through 2017, good for the 29th spot on the mid-year report.

“We are definitely experiencing an uptick in sales, and as of late July, Estrella’s sales are ahead year over year by more than 50 percent,” said Newland Communities Senior Vice President and Division Manager William Olson. Newland Real Estate Group is the developer.

Verrado ranked 26th on this year’s list with 228 home sales after coming in at 20th on RCLCO’s year-end report with 413 total home sales last year.

Verrado could make up that ground in the coming months and rank in the top 20 again by the end of 2017 because the community tends to see a sales spike in mid- to late summer that is not reflected in the midyear report, said Lauren Charpio, Verrado’s marketing director.

Verrado attracts move-up buyers and first-time buyers with its range of homes in the $100,000s to the high $500,000s, Charpio said.

That spike is largely driven by families moving to the community before the start of the new school year. The schools in Verrado are a major draw for the community, which saw about half of its home sales this year go to young families.

Verrado Elementary and Verrado Middle schools received 9/10 overall scores from BestSchools, a national nonprofit that provides school information to families. The schools each received scores above the state average for standardized test scores in science, math and English.

Verrado High School received a 6/10 rating from BestSchools and had mixed results on its standardized test rankings. The area also features the public Verrado Heritage Elementary and The Goddard School, a private child care center and preschool.

Those schools, which are in walking distance of most homes, contribute to the small-town feel — a rarity in the Valley — that is drawing residents to Verrado.

“It really does mimic a small town in that way, with small and large homes options and tree-lined streets,” Charpio said.

Verrado resident Debbie Sailer agreed. As the Warm Welcome leader, Sailer helps welcome new neighbors with a freshly baked apple pie and information about the community.

“Verrado provides an atmosphere of community togetherness filled with 78 parks and over 50 miles of walking paths that encourage people to get out of their homes, meet their neighbors and enjoy fresh air,” she said.

“Unlike many communities, the design is to slow people down and enjoy the many amenities and community functions that are scheduled throughout the year that brings everyone together.”

She also enjoys the 60 clubs that offer a wide variety of interesting venues and people, from Taste Buds, a monthly theme-based potluck gathering, to Utilities Council.

Estrella perks

Estrella is attracting buyers from a range of demographic groups, including young families, empty nesters and the 55 and older group, Olson said.

“Our wide range of home and community offerings appeal to a variety of potential buyers, and we have seen a wonderfully diverse mix of new residents joining our community,” Olson added.

Despite being in development for more than two decades, Estrella still offers various new builds and opened three additional neighborhoods this year. The community offers new homes from eight builders.

People interested in Estrella tend to be move-up buyers as it is a more established community with luxury properties and higher average price points, said Arizona realtor Justin Schlegel.

The community also offers a range of attractions and amenities that appeal to residents, including various bike trails.

“(People love) not only the number of homes here but also the opportunities,” said Estrella resident Kim Doud, who is on the HOA board and chairman of the trails committee.

Doud said the committee has approved about 30 miles of trails in the area.

The DMB community offers homes from 11 builders with architectural diversity that ranges from farm houses to bungalows and Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired designs.

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