AZ Central – Land broker sees Valley population doubling by 2045

by Peter Corbett – Nov. 18, 2010 02:14 PM
The Arizona Republic

Greg Vogel sees Valley growth over the next 35 years leaping to roughly 8 million people from 4 million.

Metro Phoenix will double down if his forecast plays out.

It’s rather startling when you see it plotted on a large digital map at Vogel’s Scottsdale office of the Land Advisors Organization.

“Everything you see now needs to be duplicated” to meet that population growth, Vogel says of the Valley’s developed area of homes, businesses, schools, parks, airports and other infrastructure.

Vogel, Land Advisors’ chief executive officer, has a vested interest in that growth curve as a top land brokerage in Arizona. Homebuilders, investors and commercial land users turn to Land Advisors for a wealth of data on historical trends and market forecasts.

Land Advisors, founded in 1987, calculates that every 6.2 people living in metro Phoenix consume one acre of land. With the population expected to grow to 7.1 million by 2030 from 4.6 million this year, the developed area would increase to 1.1 million acres from 742,000.

The Northeast Valley has 1,800 available home lots so most of the initial development of production housing will be in the Chandler-Gilbert area of the Southeast Valley, the Northwest Valley and Goodyear, Estrella and Palm Valley in the Southwest Valley, Vogel said.

Growing out, then up

He predicts that growth will first be out, into more distant suburbs, and then up, with taller buildings.

Consumers still want to buy suburban single-family homes and builders face opposition any time they want to add height and density, Vogel said.

“You’ve got to fight (for height) and quite frankly it’s not worth it,” he said.

There is a place for higher-density workforce and student housing, Vogel said, but noted that only a few of the Valley’s mixed-use projects have succeeded: the Scottsdale Waterfront, Esplanade and Kierland Commons.

All the condo towers in Tempe and downtown Phoenix are “total financial disasters,” he said.

Housing to recover

Land Advisors is predicting a recovery of the new-home market by 2012.

Owners who lost their homes to foreclosure in 2008 will re-emerge next year from their credit problems and can get back into the housing market as buyers, Vogel said.

Greater affordability also is attracting hesitant buyers.

After years of overproduction of new houses, peaking at 61,000 in 2006, the Valley has seen three years of underproduction with just 8,000 homes last year and ever fewer this year, according to Land Advisors.

That is expected to increase over the next few years.

“We do believe we come out of this pretty strong,” Vogel said.

He will join other top real estate experts Dec. 1 at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown for Land Advisors’ Second Annual Metro Phoenix Land and Housing Forecast.