If you live within a few miles of a city center, chances are there is gentrification happening not too far away. Gentrification is the thing that happens when older homes, usually in and around a downtown area, start getting bought up by investors and homebuyers of a higher socioeconomic status. Those homes get renovated (while hopefully maintaining the unique and charming flavor of the era in which the homes were built), significantly raising home values and the desirability of the neighborhood. Commercial “updating” often parallels or closely follows residential gentrification. The arrival of a Sprouts, Whole Foods, or unique and trendy ethnic restaurants and coffee shops are a sure sign that gentrification is happening.
The controversy lies in the fact that homeowners who could afford living in that neighborhood begin to feel themselves squeezed out. As home values rise, the pressure mounts for surrounding homes to fall in line with the updated appearance and curb appeal that begins to spread as more homes undergo renovation. Whether you support or oppose gentrification, it’s happening throughout the valley. I was in two neighborhoods this weekend talking to sellers who would like to take advantage of the movement in their own neighborhoods to purchase homes better suited for them.
The Hoy Homes Annex neighborhood near the northwest cross streets of Arizona Avenue and Chandler Blvd is a great example of a newly gentrifying area. Near downtown Chandler, these homes were built in the 1950’s. Despite it’s diminutive size of less than one square mile, as of this writing, there are 8 homes currently listed for sale that would be considered “gentrification properties”. The difference in price per square foot between a renovated property and one not updated is significant. An “older” home recently sold for $66 per square foot while a newly renovated home is currently listed for $117 per square foot.
The Willow District in downtown Phoenix is another area that has undergone extensive gentrification. And there are many like it that border the downtown area: Encanto, Coronado, Roosevelt and Garfield to name a few. Today, I was west of 16th Street and South of Glendale Avenue in a neighborhood called Orango Place and previewed a home that was gutted and renovated from stem to stern, and listed for $550,000.00. Next door was a home built circa 1951 that appeared to have all of it’s original “charm”. And an estimated value of $160,000.00. And sure enough, within a quarter of a mile, a brand new Sprouts!