A master-planned community is a community in which thought has been given to the lifestyle of the residents and their needs. For example, there may be an area with condominiums or townhomes for those who enjoy a carefree, low maintenance lifestyle. Another section may offer larger homes and home sites for those who require more bedrooms and living space. These areas frequently will have parks, playgrounds, barbecues, ramadas, and you may even find an elementary or K-8 school nearby. Another neighborhood could be designed for active adults, which would have an age restriction for homeowners and their occupants.
There are typically several different builders in a master-planned community, providing a variety of architecture, floor plans, and prices. Amenities such as lakes, golf courses, walking/biking paths are also very common. Living in a master-planned community often provides an immediate sense of "belonging."
Master-planned communities typically have a Homeowners Association (or HOA). There may even be more than one HOA, one for the master association, and one for the sub-association or individual neighborhood. There might be optional memberships, for use of the country club/golf facilities.
These profiles of master-planned communities include an estimate of what the master association fee might be. The sub-association or neighborhood fee will vary, depending on what is included, i.e. gates, front yard landscaping, street maintenance, exterior maintenance, neighborhood pool, water, garbage, cable, blanket insurance policy, tennis courts, etc.
Don't be fooled by the fact that many master-planned communities include the word "ranch" in their names -- very few cater to horses or cows!
The communities described here are examples of the various types of master-planned communities that you'll find all over the metro Phoenix area. While they are all lovely communities in good neighborhoods, there are plenty of others, and some additional community names are listed at the end of each profile.
Now, let's get to know some of the master-planned communities of the Greater Phoenix area!
Power Ranch - Gilbert, Arizona
This community has won numerous awards, including being named as one of the Top Five Master-Planned Communities in the nation in 2002. In Arizona, Power Ranch was named the Best Master-Planned Community in 2003, 2004, and 2005.
- Located in the southeast part of the valley, in Gilbert. Power Ranch is not far from Phx-Mesa Gateway Airport.
- The homes found here are single family production homes, townhomes, and basement homes. New construction is still available; however, the community is in the final stages of completion.
- Amenities at Power Ranch include use of two, large community pools, parks, trails, lakes, splash fountain, clubhouse, and more. Some subdivisions have their own neighborhood pools.
Looking for other master-planned communities in the East Valley? You may want to explore Seville, Layton Lakes, Sun Groves, Cooper Commons and Agritopia. In Tempe, Mesa, and Chandler, take a look at Fulton Ranch, Ocotillo, Dobson Ranch, Warner Ranch, and Andersen Springs. Looking for an age-restricted community? Try Sun Lakes.
Mountain Park Ranch - Phoenix, Arizona
This well-planned community encompasses 2,700 acres and an estimated 25,000 people. It is located in Ahwatukee Foothills, commonly referred to as simply Ahwatukee (see how to pronounce that). Some people mistakenly think that Ahwatukee is a city, but it is not. It is the southernmost urban village of Phoenix.
- Located in the south part of the Valley, Mountain Park Ranch is located within the City of Phoenix. It is separated from the rest of Phoenix by South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the country.
- Ahwatukee is considered somewhat geographically isolated, so traffic can sometimes be difficult around Mountain Park Ranch, especially during rush hour.
- You will find a variety of homes including apartments, townhomes, single-family, and custom estates.
- Amenities include three recreation centers that offer pools, spas, tennis courts, and parks. Walking paths are found throughout.
Other master-planned communities in the Ahwatukee area include Foothills Club West, Lakewood and Cabrillo Canyon.
Estrella - Goodyear, Arizona
When completed, this community will include 50,000 homes. Estrella is designed to offer shopping, schools and activities, all within its boundaries. It is a great area for someone that likes to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city when they head home for the evening. Natural desert surrounds this area.
- Located in the southwest part of the Valley, in Goodyear. Estrella is nestled right next to Estrella Mountain Regional Park.
- The homes at Estrella are single family production homes, custom, basement, and an age restricted area (55+). New construction is available.
- Amenities include use of the Starpointe Residents Club, which has a water park, heated lap pool, fitness center, café, meeting rooms, and lots of activities. There are two private lakes for boating and catch and release fishing, and many walking paths. In addition, there is an 18-hole championship public golf course.
- Not far away, Goodyear Ballpark is used for Spring Training Baseball as well as local events throughout the year.
Looking for other master-planned communities in the Southwest Valley? Try Verrado, Canyon Trails, or Coldwater Springs.
Sun City Grand - Surprise, Arizona
Sun City Grand is an active adult community with nearly 10,000 homes. An age-restricted community, 85% of the homeowners are required to be 55 or older, and 15% may be in the 45-54 age group. You may have also heard of Sun City and Sun City West. They are three separate entities, and Sun City Grand, while nearby, is not in Sun City. Sun City and Sun City West are in unincorporated areas of Maricopa County. Sun City Grand, however, is located in the City of Surprise and is served by their police and fire departments.
- Located in the northwest part of the Valley. It is quite close to the White Tank Mountain Regional Park.
- The homes here are single level, single family production homes, and condominiums. There is no new construction.
- Amenities are numerous, including several golf courses, pools, hot tubs, activity groups, fitness centers, restaurants, trails, lakes, day spa, pickle ball and tennis courts, bocce ball, and even a dog park.
Looking for other age-restricted, master-planned communities in the Northwest Valley? Consider, Trilogy at Vistancia, Arizona Traditions, Sun City West, Westbrook Village, and Happy Trails Resort. Not interested in age-restricted? Try Arrowhead Ranch in Glendale.
Anthem - Maricopa County, Arizona
Anthem is a community where residents can live, work, play, shop and dine, without ever leaving, if they so choose.
- Located about 25 miles north of Phoenix, just off Interstate 17. It is in an unincorporated area of Maricopa County, at the base of Daisy Mountain. Phoenix has announced plans to annex it in the future.
- There are a variety of homes including apartments, townhomes, condos, and single family homes. New construction is still available.
- Amenities at Anthem are abundant. The community center provides activities, events, clubs, fitness center, water park, pools and more. Within the 63 acre park, there are fields for sports, lake with catch and release fishing, and a skateboard park. The Country Club community has two championship golf courses, two clubhouses, two pools, and two sets of tennis courts.
- There are pre-schools, elementary schools, and a high school within Anthem.
- Instead of a master homeowner’s association, they have a Community Council that oversees the whole area, and 3 separate homeowners’ associations: Parkside fees: less than $100 per month; Village Condo fees: more than $200 per month; Country Club fees, which include a mandatory social membership: more than $200 per month.
Not quite as far north as Anthem, Desert Ridge is a master-planned community in North Phoenix also worth checking out.
DC Ranch - Scottsdale, Arizona
DC Ranch is an upscale 4,400-acre community located adjacent to McDowell Sonoran Preserve in north Scottsdale. It was designed in harmony with the architecture and environment of the area. DC Ranch is conveniently located near the Loop 101 Pima Freeway, shopping and restaurants.
- Located in North Scottsdale, near the base of the McDowell Mountains.
- There are a variety of homes including townhomes, condominiums, production homes, and custom estates. New construction is still available.
- Amenities at DC Ranch include an 18-hole, private championship golf course, several gated subdivisions, community pools, spas, tennis courts, fitness center, and trails.
Interested in other master-planned communities in Scottsdale? Try Gainey Ranch, Scottsdale Ranch, McCormick Ranch, or Grayhawk.
Encanterra - San Tan Valley
Encanterra is a newer, guard-gated community known for its 60,000 square foot resort clubhouse. Located in the southeast part of the Valley in San Tan Valley, Encanterra is actually in Pinal County.
- Shea Homes is the sole builder here. They pride themselves on being green certified, which means the homes are energy efficient and environmentally sound. The homes are all single level, and there is an age-restricted (55+) area called Trilogy.
- Amenities include an 18-hole, private championship golf course, tennis courts, pools, day spa, fitness center, and restaurants.
Looking for other master-planned communities in Pinal County? Consider Johnson Ranch, Circle Cross Ranch, Anthem at Merrill Ranch, or San Tan Heights.