Deep-pocketed home buyers looking for luxury homes have long turned to Paradise Valley, Scottsdale or Phoenix’s Biltmore area. But in recent years, the West Valley has seen more homes sprout with desert views, big lots, exclusive amenities and price tags approaching $1 million.

Less than a handful of luxury residential neighborhoods existed in the West Valley three years ago, but that has doubled, according to real-estate consultant Jim Belfiore.

“The reason is consumers are more optimistic about the future, they have more financial wherewithal, jobs are back and the West Valley is offering a good opportunity for folks to expand their products,” said Belfiore, president of Belfiore Real Estate Consulting in Phoenix.

City leaders in Peoria and other parts of the West Valley say this trend benefits the region, in large part by attracting commercial amenities for residents with higher disposable incomes.

What is a luxury home?

Price and size are not all that define a luxury home.

According to Belfiore, the exterior of the house is typical “architecturally interesting” and not the cookie-cutter model of production homes. Inside, ceilings are 12 to 15 feet high, as opposed to the 9- or 10-foot standard.

Kitchen countertops are quartz or marble, floors are wood, porcelain or marble, and cabinets are larger and higher.

The lots also are large enough to allow for custom additions, such as an RV or boat garage, or a backyard pool with outdoor cabanas.

More for your money

The West Valley offers more home for less money, Belfiore said.

“You can get a lot more home and a phenomenal piece of property on land that has topography and views at a price point that you cannot get in Scottsdale,” Belfiore said. “The value proposition to a luxury buyer is great.”

The average price per square foot in Peoria is $150, compared with an average of $510 per square foot in Paradise Valley, $235 per square foot in Scottsdale and $280 per square foot in the Phoenix Biltmore area, he said.

Growing incomes and luxury options

Overall in metro Phoenix, seven-figure home sales are up more than 30 percent compared with last year. In the West Valley the vast majority of these luxury developments are in Peoria, Belfiore said.

Many of the new homes are in the northern part of the city, where homebuilders tend to cater to a high-end market because rocky soil in the area hikes construction expenses, he said.

In 2005, 1,180 Peoria households had incomes above $200,000. That nearly tripled to 3,431 households in 2015, according to census estimates.

This demographic change, paired with a recuperating housing market and a stable economy are contributing to a boom in all types of residential construction, including more luxury housing options.

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