Desert resort has affordable luxury
Canadians own half of homes in Arizona project
Encanterra, a luxurious resortstyle community in the southeast valley of Phoenix, has been enchanting Canadian second-home buyers since it opened in 2007.
It’s not only the stronger Canadian dollar, the warmer winters, or the lowest housing prices in 10 years that are clinching the deal.
What Canadians are finding so irresistible is how affordable it is to belong to a private country club.
This architecturally designed country club is part of the Trilogy by Shea Homes Active Lifestyle Communities.
It’s the company’s first venture into exclusive country club living and, since it opened three years ago, Canadians have snapped up more than 50 per cent of the homes.
“People are surprised at how affordable it can be to live in a country club like Encanterra, which rivals some of the highest five-star resorts in the country,” says Mike Fraley, general manager of Shea Homes Inc.
“Canadians are really attracted to the country club lifestyle.”
He says prices have dropped from their peak in 2006 and are back to where they were 10 years ago.
“Although prices have been flat since May of this year, we are starting to see prices pick up in the new home segment and resale homes that are not foreclosures.”
In 2008, two years before Canadians replaced Californians as the biggest out-of-state-home buyers in Arizona, Fraley says they raised a 3.5-by-5.5metre Canadian flag, alongside the U.S. and Arizona flags at the entrance gate. Anything to make their many Canadian members feel at home.
The majority come from Alberta and B.C., while 15 per cent are eastern Canadians who prefer Arizona’s hurricanefree weather and lower taxes than in Florida, he says.
Encanterra is a 298-hectare gated residential community about a 45-minute drive south of the downtown Phoenix airport in the San Tan Valley (formerly Queen Creek).
It’s nestled on flat farmland between the Superstition Mountains to the northeast and the San Tan mountain range to the west.
Unlike the more desert-like topography of Phoenix, this agricultural area surrounds the community with fields of alfalfa, cotton and corn, and trees bearing peaches and olives.
The private non-equity country club is open to all ages, although at the request of members, Fraley says they will introduce a section of homes in early 2011 that are adult-only.
As of December 2010, 250 homes have been sold.
By 2020, at full build-out, the community will include 2,470 luxury homes.
They will start from $170,990 for 1,314 square feet with two bedrooms, two baths and a two-car garage, to $396,490 for the ultra-energy-efficient, 3,764 square foot, two-storey with three bedrooms, 3.5 baths, master retreat and three-car tandem garage.
Completion time for a typical 1,400 square foot home is 60 days, including landscaping.
Trilogy’s active lifestyle communities revolve around wellness, exploration, continued learning and social connections. At Encanterra, the heart of the community is the 60,000 square foot, Mediterranean-style clubhouse.
Opened in February 2010, La Casa includes 45,000 square feet of inside air-conditioned space and 15,000 square foot covered outside areas, which actually is divided into 10 separate seating areas.
Designed by award-winning architect Bing Hu, La Casa is an elegant blend of old-world style and new-world technology, featuring Spanish roof tiles and warm Tuscan colours, soaring ceilings and stone arches, and hand-painted floor tiles from Turkey.
There are four restaurants, a private dining room for members, a business centre, concierge services, a day spa, a 1,700-bottle wine storage and tasting room, and a demo cooking kitchen for Saturday classes with the chef.
The 18,000 square foot athletic club offers cardio and strength training, a studio room for yoga and Pilates, and a heated indoor exercise pool with treadmills in the water.
There’s a circuit training room in the women’s locker-room, and the men’s locker-room has a barber shop, separate lounge area, and pool and card tables.
The outside amenities, which overlook the golf course and Superstition Mountains, were completed in May 2009. They include a 25-metre junior Olympic lap pool, an outdoor beach-entry pool and Jacuzzi, an outdoor movie screen, lighted tennis courts, a beach volleyball court, a fitness lawn and an amphitheatre.
Above, prices at Encanterra have dropped to where they were a decade ago. Below, a resident enjoys a game of golf.