AP NEWS

Home construction industry rebounding in Casa Grande

January 6, 2020 GMT

CASA GRANDE, Ariz. (AP) — Housing construction is on the rebound in Casa Grande, a south-central Arizona city where the industry suffered during the Great Recession.

Casa Grande in 2019 received 549 building permit applications for new single-family homes through November, up from 225 through November 2018, the Casa Grande Dispatch reported.

Most of the new homes are being building in subdivisions that have lain dormant since the housing market collapse in 2008.

“About two years ago, there were approximately 6,000 lots located within subdivisions which had been platted but remained vacant or largely vacant,” said city Planning and Development Director Paul Tice. “Since that time, a significant number of those lots have been purchased by builders who are actively constructing homes on them.”

City spokeswoman Latonya Jordan-Smith said factors that may be driving the increase in new housing permits include Arizona in general and Pinal County in particular being prime locations for new businesses, job-seekers and retirees.

“There is also a recent trend of Pinal County residents electing to upgrade to new homes in our city” as some suburbs southeast of Phoenix grow closer to full development, she said.

Upgrades to two city parks and the addition of a new community recreation center also may be draws for buyers, while builders may be attracted by the city’s efforts to attract new construction by streamlining the permitting process and reducing local development impact fees, Jordan-Smith said.

Some builders are now more cautious about how many homes they build, Jordan-Smith said.

For example, she said “builders are constructing the infrastructure for 50-100 lots versus the massive 300-plus lot developments that Casa Grande witnessed in 2006-2008.”

With developers building on a smaller scale, the city has revised its requirement for assurances that subdivision improvements will be provided even if a builder files for bankruptcy and can no longer complete a project, Tice said.

“Installing required subdivision improvements such as streets, sidewalks, drainage facilities, open space, perimeter walls and common area landscaping can involve significant expense,” Tice said.

Casa Grande’s development efforts generated news headlines in December when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, and other officials attended a Lucid Motors groundbreaking ceremony for a planned new plant to produce electric automobiles.

Company officials said the $300 million facility is scheduled for completion in late 2020 and will create more than 4,000 jobs over the next decade.