Washington state homebuilder entering Arizona’s luxury market

Posted By Mike Padgett

Aug. 7, 2008

A homebuilder active in Washington state for more than 40 years is entering Arizona’s luxury home market.

Chaffey Homes is busy with two projects in Carefree – Tranquil Trail Estates, which will offer seven luxury homes, and Almarte, a custom duplex development with 24 homes.

Grand opening for its Tranquil Trail model is November. The project is between Tranquil Trail, Carefree Drive and Happy Hollow Drive. The price range is $1.2 million to $1.6 million. The homes will have from 3,800 to 4,400 square feet. The seven lots range from 16,000 to 20,000 square feet.

The Almarte model will be ready in March 2009. One phase will have eight residences in four, two-story duplexes. It will offer an elevator option. The other phase will have 16 single-level homes in eight duplexes.

Almarte is on Hum Road, a block east of Cave Creek Road. They will be priced from $600,000 to $1.3 million. The size range is 1,600 to 3,800 square feet.

Chaffey Homes was started by Herb Chaffey in 1963 in Kirkland, Wash. Today, the company is managed by sons Bob and Rick Chaffey, says Kelly Lawrence, general manager of Chaffey’s Scottsdale office.

Lawrence gave me a tour of the properties in Carefree earlier this week. We met on the property at 7:30 a.m. in a futile effort to avoid the heat. It was a muggy 88 degrees, about 10 degrees above average.

We entered the Casa Serena model through the three-car garage. It will be used as the model for the luxury development.

Inside, we saw that workers had started laying tumbled travertine tile. The pattern is called Versailles.

The home has 4,200 square feet. The price will be about $1.6 million. It has 12- to 15-foot ceilings. The great room has large wooden beams on the ceiling. There is a wet bar and a nearby wine room with a decorative metal grate on the glass door.

We check out the patio and negative-edge pool. The concrete pool is almost ready for its plaster and tile work. The patio faces west, where the view is dominated by the east face of Black Mountain.

The master bedroom has a sitting room and his-and-hers closets. Two other bedrooms have their own baths and closets. Custom tiles in the baths are in the browns, tans and creams. A flex room could become a fifth bedroom, an office or den, a fitness room or almost anything else the owner wants.

The home includes an attached casita with its own entrance in the front courtyard. Lawrence says the demand for casitas in luxury homes is strong.

“People like having that option,” he says. “They use it for extended-stay guests, the mother-in-law or the kid home from school.”

We walked around the corner of the luxury development to the smallest home. It has 3,800 square feet. The price will be about $1.2 million. The design includes a narrow patio – almost like a balcony – that overlooks the desert wash cutting through the development.

The homes offer design features rarely found in production housing, such as brick, tile or metal work near windows,  and interior and exterior wall niches. Other features include rounded or intricate rafter tails, hip or parapet roofs, and squared or arched interior doorways.

“You can offer a nice home with nice features and things like that and still not totally break the bank,” Lawrence says.

We walked back to Lawrence’s SUV. He drove us the short distance to the company’s other luxury development. It’s on Hum Road, about a block or so from Carefree’s Spanish Village and new shopping nearby.

He pulls into Almarte’s roundabout driveway. Almarte has four, two-story duplexes, or eight units.

Elevators will be offered as an option. In the middle of the roundabout is space for a 12-foot-high sculpture. Across the street is Almarte’s second phase. It will have eight duplexes, or 16 residences, all single story.

Lawrence says the two Carefree projects are Chaffey Homes’ first excursion outside of Washington state. He adds that the Chaffey brothers are looking for other properties in the northeast Valley.

“They felt like there’s an opportunity here,” Lawrence continues. “I’m hoping that in five to seven years, we’re closing on 150 or 200 homes a year.”

Lawrence expects Chaffey buyers to be seasonal owners who also are empty-nesters. And unlike buyers of production housing, his prospective buyers of custom homes are less affected by the downtown in the economy.

“It’s for people who are here part time, but they’re people who are experienced, people who have owned many homes, and probably this will be the third or fourth home that they own right now. So they’ve been through the process. This isn’t their first rodeo.”

Aug 7th, 2008

One Comment to 'Washington state homebuilder entering Arizona’s luxury market'

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  1. Kathryn said,

    Great article! These developments look amazing.

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