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Luxury Home Trends and Water Concerns: Phoenix Builders' Perspective

In this file photo, framer Jose Mares of Le Blanc Framing works on a home under construction at Windermere Ranch in Chandler.
Jim Poulin | Phoenix Business Journal

While concerns about Phoenix's water supply have recently made headlines, the attention has primarily been directed towards remote areas, bypassing the prosperous communities where Valley's premier luxury home builders ply their trade. Amid these concerns, these builders are more focused on the fine details of luxury home trends and construction.

The annual Custom Home Builders survey by Phoenix Business Journal posed a series of optional questions to the leaders of these companies. One such question was, "Does water availability affect the luxury home market in wealthy enclaves such as Paradise Valley and Scottsdale, and if so, how?"

Here's what some of them had to say:

"No, not at this point. I have clients from out of town call with concern because of all of the national coverage, but all of what we build is 'Infill' and not on the outskirts, or undeveloped areas, which will be impacted." – John Sebald, president/owner, Santorini Homes Inc.

"No. However, we are cognizant that water is a resource that should be used conservatively, and as a result, we are regularly incorporating turf, rather than grass or sod; and, we are regularly incorporating lower water use plants into our projects." – Anthony Salcito Jr., president/CEO, Salcito Custom Homes Ltd.

"Yes! The issues with Rio Verde water has made Scottsdale tighten its control over meters and meters are taking much longer to get installed. We are now having to hire water trucks from other sources in order to comply with air quality requirements." – Jeri McGwin, vice president, Sonoran Classic Homes II.

"It has not started to affect us. We are an infill builder. Water and other infrastructure have already been installed to our sites." – Evan Boxwell, founder/president, Boxwell Homes.

"No. Our clients assume they will have city water." – Steve Wiggins, president, Regency Custom Homes.

Additionally, the builders were questioned about the emerging luxury home trends in the Valley's custom home market.

"Energy-efficient designs, flexible living spaces with generational accommodations." – Thomas Fisher, president, Fisher Custom Homes LLC.

"Gyms and training areas. Lush gardens which produce fruit and vegetables for personal use. More and more technology and security." – Sebald.

"Anything to do with wellness and nutrition. Cold plunge pools, red-light saunas, pickleball courts, gyms, etc." – Boxwell.

"I don't feel like anything we do is trendy; however, currently, we do have increasing requests for his and her offices/craft rooms, and more garage space to accommodate car collections, etc." – Salcito.

In conclusion, while news of water availability issues is widespread, most builders report minimal impact on their operations or clients' concerns, with a few making conservation adjustments. Moreover, they're observing a trend in the luxury home market preferences, such as energy-efficient designs, adaptable living spaces for multiple generations, wellness and nutrition features, and enhanced technology and security.

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