Far from it being a bad idea, I think your plan is rather smart and you're not the first person I've spoken to about investing in Maricopa with a view to retiring there later. I work with a lot of buyers considering the Casa Grande, Maricopa, Florence and Coolidge areas. For some, after driving the areas and looking at what you can buy for the same amount of money, they are 100% set on Maricopa.
I'd love to know where the notion of '900 rentals on the market right now' came from? Maybe they mean Maricopa County? (Maricopa City is located in Pinal County, FYI.) I show 170 on MLS today and 34 on http://www.rentalhouses.com. The good news is that these rentals are being rented and not just sitting there - MLS shows 198 rental contracts signed for Maricopa in the last 3 months, so the market is actually quite balanced.
The largest employers for Maricopa are:
Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino
University of Arizona Maricopa Agricultural Center
It's worth bearing in mind that it's also not a huge drive to either the south end of Phoenix, or Casa Grande. Many residents make those commutes because the home prices are so affordable in Maricopa. They prefer a larger (or more upgraded) home and a longer drive, than vice versa.
The current property market in Maricopa is hot, and single story homes with pools are selling almost as fast as they come on the market. Golf course and lakefront properties are also in high demand, and the inventory there has been declining as it has elsewhere in the Valley, putting some market sectors firmly into the sellers' favor. I know of several investors flipping homes there very successfully, as well as buying and holding for monthly cash-on-cash returns. The relatively high rents ($800 approx. for 1500sf) and low home prices are making the numbers stack up, and with so many people having lost their homes and their credit standing, there is every reason to believe there will be a supply of renters for some time to come.
Central Arizona College is opening a campus soon, and new shops, schools and other facilities seem to be opening quite frequently. I'd encourage you to take a look, talk to a few locals and get a feel for the area. It's not for everyone, but there are plenty of people who feel it's just right - for them :)
Good luck with the home search, and please let me know if there is anything I could do to help.
RE/MAX Casa Grande Yost Realty
You are not the only one person that has the same mindset of buying a home at these low prices for the purpose of renting / retirement. I have worked with buyers that have purchased a retirement home at these low prices and then rented out. There are also a few that will use the property as second home and once they retire they plan on making the property their primary residence.
There will always be those that say Maricopa is a "bad idea" but any investment involves risk. Are there risk involved in buying in Maricopa? I would say yes and you should speak with an agent that knows what some potential risk are like myself. However, there are risk in any purchase.
The argument of "one-way in" and "one-way-out" is a concern if there is a major accident (which might happen a few times a year) but other than that, have you seen how the 347 flows? It's not bad and so many drivers speed because of the open lanes.
Regarding employers, many Maricopa residents work in the Phoenix area (Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Phoenix, etcâ€¦People are willing to make the drive for a newer, more affordable home in Maricopa.
As for the rental market, it's the highest I have seen as there are over 150 rental homes currently on the market. However, if a home shows well, priced right and in a a sought-out community, it can be rented in a few days. I am currently working with investors that are buying and getting their properties rented!!
You will find it difficult to find homes newer homes with the same square footage and features (pool, etc..) in the same price range. Homes that sold for $60-70K in Maricopa AZ, the same exact model in the Phoenix area has sold anywhere from $120K-150K. I currently am representing a Buyer in Maricopa and we have a property under contract for under $65K and the exact model / floorplan recently sold in Phoenix for over $165K! Now, thereâ€™s reasons why homes sell for higher in the Phoenix area and we can discuss further if needed. Visit my website to learn more about Maricopa real estate. You can also visit my â€œYouTubeâ€ video channel where I have uploaded over 200 videos regarding Maricopa real estate. Here is the link:
The videos are not all positive as I show negative aspects as well. I do have a video of the drive to Maricopa from Phoenix. Check it out.
"real estate" RAY
Ray D. Real - REALTORÂ®
Good idea. Rentals are hot everywhere including Mariocpa. Many people have lost their homes and have to live somewhere. The home prices are at historici lows in Maricopa for the newer homes. Here are the last closed rentals in Maricopa during the past two months. http://www.flexmls.com/link.html?uazomwyl2av,12,1 There are over 180 homes that were leased by their owners.
If you need to see all of the homes for sale right now in Maricopa for free on the MLS with no registration: http://www.arizonahomesland.com/freearizonamlssearch.html
Let me know if you have any more questions.
Arizona Homes and Land
Rentals are in demand due to the turn of the market, most of the individuals loosing homes in foreclosure or short sale are staying local and becoming renters. For the next few years the rental market is expected to stay strong as a result.
Maricopa, like most places it is not for everyone. If someone wants a little smaller feel close to a large city it can be great. Sure it has one way in essentially, but it is a 4 lane road that runs pretty good most days. You seemed to of answered the question that you liked it as many others do. Lot's of the people suffering hardships in Maricopa are going to stay and will need a place to live for a few years while they re-build credit.
Seems to be a perfect fit to me. Buy a property now while prices are low, let someone else make the payment until you are ready to use it and you have a nice place at a great price.
It's your decision, choice someone with a wealth of experience to guide you in this crazy market and find your future home. It might be a good tax deduction in the mean time to come check it out once or twice a year (in the winter) while its rented.
Arizona Homes for Sale by a Guy from Iowa
I know to make a decision to buy real estate is scary but at some point you need to trust your common sense and just do it! Good Luck, hope to meet you in Maricopa one day. - Before I forget, I recommend a Realtor that lives in this city and has the best knowledge about Maricopa real estate. Many agents say they are Maricopa agents and they aren't. They advertise for many cities and claim expertise for all of them.
As a Realtor, we can not give financial advise - that's for your accountant and financial consultant. We can give you the statistics and information about a specific market.
What others have stated about Maricopa is true. There is only one direct way to Phoenix (there are other ways out but add time and miles to the commute). There are no large employers located in Maricopa, the closest is Intel in Chandler. And there are a large number of rentals in Maricopa because homes were short sold or foreclosed on and the people wanted to stay in Maricopa so now they rent.
The real question is how long will they rent before they buy again. We've heard they will be eligible between three and seven years. At one point in time, the market may be saturated with rentals when people start buying again. The key word is MAY. That's a crystal ball situation that is anyone's guess.
If you are going to retire in a few years and really like the area, you should discuss the economics of buying a rental with your accountant. Key information to have available, the income potential and the anticipated expenses (property management fees, property taxes, home owners insurance and HOA fees). Make sure you allow for annual maintenance as well.
Working with a local agent will help you to know the nuances of the various subdivisions in Maricopa. Some areas are more desirable for the commute access and amenities than others. The prices reflect this. And of course, look for the home YOU want to live in in a few years!
If you are not working with another agent and would like a current list of available properties to discuss with your accountant, please send me an email.
Rox Real Estate