Locals know the Phoenix Metro area is divided into several overarching subsectors including the East Valley, West Valley and Central Phoenix. As a member of WeMAR (West Maricopa Association of REALTORS®) the West Valley is not only where I call home, but the predominant area in which I work. For context, the West Valley is generally considered anything west of the 1-17 and encompasses, among others, like Avondale, Buckeye, Glendale, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Peoria and Surprise.
I will admit my beloved West Valley has been slow to the party in terms of development, both from a commercial and residential standpoint. Historically, a majority of new commercial, residential and job development has been concentrated on the East Valley – think Scottsdale, Central Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert. But the tides are changing, and during the past several years, there has been a steady increase in interest in the West Side.
Currently, more than 1.6 million people live in the 15 communities that make up the West Valley. According to the Western Maricopa Coalition (WESTMARC), more than 43 percent of growth in Maricopa County within the next 25 years will take place in this area.
In light of this growth spurt, I’ve compiled a few insights into what draws people and companies alike to answer the call to “Go West.”
Residential real estate is one of the main things that draw people to the West Valley. In these Phoenix suburbs, you can find everything from multimillion-dollar custom homes to reasonably priced starter homes and everything in between. We are currently in a seller’s market with very low inventory and the West Side simply has more availability and affordability than many other areas in the Valley.
In the past few years, many well-known homebuilders such as Toll Brothers, Shea Homes and Lennar have continued to expand their footprint westward, offering a fantastic mix of home options for the area’s rapidly growing population.
These days it seems you can’t read local news without seeing an announcement of another new commercial project in the West Valley. Corporate giants like Microsoft, Amazon, Nike, Boeing, Conair and Banner Health have a large presence in the area and/or have purchased land for upcoming development. In fact, the JLL Q2 Phoenix Industrial Insights Report ranked the Southwest Valley as the number one location in the nation for industrial relocation and/or expansion.
The reasons really come down to three key factors: land, infrastructure and benefits. The West Valley still has plenty of open lands ready and available for large industrial and corporate developments. The Loop 303 connects I-10 to I-17, allowing for easy access to major highways leading both in and out of town. Many West Valley cities also have railroad tracks and telecom/fiber optic paths already in place.
Hungry for growth, these cities often offer attractive tax benefits or other incentives for businesses looking to relocate.
Long gone are the days when you had to travel into Phoenix or Scottsdale for sports and entertainment events. The West Valley is home to a variety of fantastic venues including Ak-chin Pavilion, State Farm Stadium, Gila River Arena, IMS Raceway and five Spring Training facilities. If you’re looking for art and culture, look no further than Arizona Broadway Theatre and the West Valley Art Museum.
The Wildlife World Zoo and Desert Diamond Casino are just a few other popular West Valley attractions. The casino is currently undergoing a major renovation that will more than double its size and include five restaurants, extended gaming options and two parking garages.
No Slowing Down
Don’t expect the West Valley boom to come to a stop anytime soon. Companies are continuing to expand in the area and home builders are heeding the call to match supply with demand.
The West Side is no longer the best kept secret in the Valley.
Jan Leighton is the 2019 First Vice President of the Arizona REALTORS® and an experienced real estate professional. She lives in Peoria.