New Construction Suggests Phoenix on the Brink of Major Growth

By: Anne Eliason

The Phoenix real estate market, ever strong and stable, has dipped slightly in recent months, giving astute home buyers a chance at deals they wouldn't have seen last year, and may not see again for quite some time. Sometimes a dip in the market is seen as "the market settling", but take a closer look at what's going on in and around Phoenix, and you'll see that this dip is just a moment of calm before the next rise in the Phoenix real estate market.

The most immediate, and perhaps the most exciting event for most Phoenix residents, is the imminent arrival of Metro Light Rail, a commuter rail service for the Phoenix metropolitan area. The first segment of Metro Light Rail is scheduled to open in December of 2008, beginning at Phoenix Spectrum Mall, heading south into downtown Phoenix, passing by Sky Harbor International Airport, through Tempe, and terminating in the city of Mesa. This 20 mile section will consist of some 27 stations, and will eventually be extended by 37 miles, westward to Glendale, farther south into Tempe, to Paradise Valley, and northwest into the Rose Mofford Park area. Metro Light Rail will begin with a passenger load of 5,000/hour, eventually increasing to 15,000 passengers per hour, as much as a six lane freeway. The system will run at street level, on electricity, which brings us to the next great imminent development in Southern Arizona.

These days, one of the challenges of building - or even living - in the desert is the production of clean, affordable electricity. Hydro electricity is difficult to produce in Arizona, (few fast-flowing rivers) and many people don't like to think too hard on nuclear power these days; enter the NEW coal. Coal power has come a long way since the days of the Industrial Revolution, and many modern power plants use a process that removes harmful components like sulfur before burning. In addition, these plants often use sophisticated "scrubbers" that further clean the emissions before they are released into the environment.

This is the technology that will be used in the 600-megawatt Bowie Power Station in Bowie, Arizona. One of the mains benefits to residents and potential home-owners is the low price of coal-produced electricity; while natural gas prices are soaring (and tend to fluctuate at the best of times), coal is abundant in the U.S., particularly out west. In addition to being one of the cleanest coal plants in the world, the Bowie station will use 25 percent less water than a gas plant - an important consideration in the desert.

In light of these major developments, it seems clear that the greater Phoenix area is poised to continue its trend of measured growth. Major power plant operations and light rail systems are not the sorts of projects that cities build when they want to generate growth; these things are built when expansion is imminent. This is why the time is right, right now, to buy in Phoenix.

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