by Shelley Sakala

Just in time for Christmas, the shiny, new toys are here! Of course, I’m referring to Union Park at Norterra. If you haven’t heard, this master-planned community at 19th Avenue and Happy Valley Road is featuring single and multi-family homes, plus restaurants, retail, services, and office space. It’s an ambitious development that’s generating lots of buzz in North Phoenix. While many people are interested in buying a home at Union Park, a number of current homeowners are wondering how this development will impact the surrounding communities in Norterra/Deer Valley. Lately, I’ve been asked this question quite a bit: “How will Union Park at Norterra affect my home’s value?”

The answer? It’s complicated.
Any time you throw 1,100 new homes into the pool of existing inventory, you’re likely to see everyone’s home values take a dip. It’s a simple case of supply & demand. Home buyers suddenly have more choices, which means they can be selective.

New communities, especially communities like Union Park at Norterra, bring with them certain amenities that drive home values up, such as restaurants, retail, schools, and offices. The mere existence of a place like Union Park can make the Norterra/Deer Valley area a more sought-after place to live. Think back to when Harkins Theatres came to town. Or Starbucks. Or Fry’s. When you put in the right types of businesses and services, it really does become a case of “If you build it they will come.” By contrast, however, the addition of businesses such as funeral homes, strip clubs, or homeless shelters have been known to drive home values down by as much as 14 percent.* No disrespect to honest business owners trying to earn a living, but some businesses were never part of the “master plan” in these master-planned communities. And from what I’ve witnessed, the homeowners in Norterra and Deer Valley are pretty adamant (and well-organized) when it comes to maintaining home values and keeping their neighborhoods desirable (and not in a gentlemen’s club sort of way).

So, what’s the verdict?
The impact of Union Park on local home values remains to be seen. My prediction is a small dip in home prices, followed by a steady ascent in everybody’s home values once the initial excitement wears off. By all accounts, the Norterra/Deer Valley area should start seeing more cool restaurants and shops in the near future, as well as opportunities for companies to lease space in offices surrounded by those cool restaurants and shops. The ability to live, work, and play, all in the same neighborhood, is enough to make anyone want to move to this part of Phoenix. And that’s how lasting home value is built.