Arizona has seen a spike in homebuyers since the pandemic started in early 2020, but one town, in particular, is reaping the benefits of this boom, especially with first-time homeowners — Gilbert.
The Town of Gilbert has long been the little brother to its larger neighbors, such as Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe, but over the last 12 or so months, the small community with agricultural roots has overtaken each one of those cities in terms of growth and average home value.
Currently, Gilbert is growing at a rate of 1.63% annually, and the population has increased by 25.93% since the 2010 census, going from 208,453 to 262,514 in 2021. The town also has the fifth-highest average home value in the state and has become a main attraction for first-time home buyers.
Eleazar Medrano, branch manager and co-founder of The Medrano Group with HomeSmart, explains. “Gilbert is so community-focused, and it still has that small-town feel but with big city amenities, if you will. There are so many different things to do in Gilbert, such as Top Golf and Flipside, and we’ve got dozens of golf courses.”
He continues, “Gilbert is 30 minutes away from local lakes if you really feel like being near water, but just to talk about Gilbert itself — there’s everything you can think of here that you could do in the big cities.”
With Gilbert such high home values, one could wonder why Gilbert homeowners are choosing to pay a premium price to live in an area that’s not centrally located, such as Phoenix or Tempe.
“The reason people are coming out here and are okay with paying the higher prices is because of what Gilbert’s turned into and the value that they see personally for their families. It’s a place that they want to be able to call home.” Medrano says.
According to Medrano, Gilbert is far enough away from the hectic city life of Phoenix and Tempe but close enough to all the amenities its urban neighbors offer, which isn’t the case for farther flung destinations, such as Queen Creek. And because of its more rural location, Gilbert residents also enjoy more flexibility in the type of homes they can purchase.
“You can find horse properties, or you can find condos just like you would in the inner city,” Medrano says. “There are acre lots, apartments, multifamily, single-family — every type of property that you can think of is in Gilbert.”
Location and a sociable vibe played a factor for first-time homeowner Nancy Owens, who recently moved from Northern California to Gilbert this past year. Owens said she was considering two locales, Queen Creek and Gilbert, and ultimately made her decision based on the sense of community in Gilbert.
“My dad asked me, ‘Which one has the best neighborhood?’ It wasn’t even about the house; it was about the surroundings. Gilbert was just a better neighborhood — there’s a strong sense of community here,” Owens states. “Plus, Queen Creek is further out and more removed from everything.”
In addition to its welcoming ambiance, another positive for Gilbert homeowners is the town also boasts an A-rated school district and is the third-safest city in the state according to online home safety and security specialist SafeWise. As the town continues to grow, it’s poised to become a premier location for homebuyers in the long haul, not only because of its small-town feel but also because of the amenities it offers.
“Gilbert is a viable option for pretty much anyone who is looking to really find a place to call home that’s focused on the community,” Medrano says. “You name it, we’ve got it all in the East Valley.”