Far-flung areas of the Phoenix metro were hardest hit when the Great Recession took its toll on real estate. Home prices in the north Valley community of Anthem fell by as much as 50% from the 2006 peak before the dust settled in 2011.

Now distant suburbs, or exurbs, of our metro are charging forward once again. September sold data from The Cromford Report, a local MLS statistics aggregator, showed a significant increase in year-to-date sold transactions in areas like Gold Canyon, Carefree, Wickenburg, Rio Verde and Wadell.

The interpretation

The stronger record of real estate transactions in these communities means stabilizing prices have reached to the furthest corners of the Phoenix metro. Limited inventory in our brisk Phoenix core market has begun to move buyers outward in search of inventory and lower prices. The following table is adapted from The Cromford Report.


Exurb 2016 YTD Sales 2017 YTD Sales % Sales Growth 2016-2017
Waddell 201 265 31.80%
Carefree 101 130 28.70%
Wickenburg 119 151 26.90%
Rio Verde 120 151 25.80%
Gold Canyon 354 439 24.00%
Coolidge 182 223 22.50%
San Tan Valley 2622 3188 21.60%
Maricopa 1424 1661 16.60%
Queen Creek 1293 1473 13.90%
Apache Junction 581 655 12.70%
Sun Lakes 458 432 -5.70%


More central communities in the Phoenix metro gained between 5% and 13% for the same period. It was the distant communities on the outskirts of the metro that stood out in this data.

Trailing the trend

One of the exurbs where sales have not fared well in 2017 (as compared to 2016) is Sun Lakes. Sold transactions here dropped by 5.7% over the same timeframe. Sun Lakes is a Robson Communities active adult development in the south Valley exclusively for ages 55+.

It is possible that potential Sun Lakes buyers are being courted away to other corners of the Valley and to newer active adult developments. Encanterra, a Trilogy Resort by Shea Homes in San Tan Valley, is one such community.


My interest generally is the hidden Americans; the ones who live far away from the headlines. – John Updike, American novelist, and short story writer