Aazami explores the cutting-edge real estate pursuit in Arizona
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press
In the modern Arizona luxury real estate marketplace a seismic shift toward sustainability is under way.
Core ideas of luxury housing are emerging around building with an acute eye toward the existing landscape and providing a sustainable approach to any lot part of the arid environment found here in the Sonoran Desert. In today’s society, an expert contends, aspirational living is one now intertwined with environmental consciousness and a growing awareness of responsibility toward planet Earth.
“Defined by any green space or nature nearby a neighborhood, a ‘naturehood’ acknowledges the growing disconnect between society and nature, and the barriers that prevent people from connecting with it. There are a number of factors contributing to this, such as distance, inequitable distribution of green space, lack of knowledge, cost, lack of equipment and cultural perceptions of nature spaces,” explained Frank Aazami, principal of the Private Client Group at Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, Scottsdale.
“We’ve seen ‘naturehood’s’ scattered throughout Arizona in recent years, Silverleaf in north Scottsdale is seen as a luxury ‘naturehood’ with 4,600 acres dedicated to open space and an expansive trail system that meanders through the McDowell Mountains in the heart of the Sonoran Desert.”
An “agrihood” — similar to a “naturehood” — is a planned community that integrates agriculture into a residential neighborhood, one concept that has already taken hold in the East Valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Mr. Aazami notes.
“We see this at Agritopia in Gilbert, where the neighborhood is surrounded by 11 acres of urban farm land designed to encourage agrarianism, Mr. Aazami told the Arizona Digital Free Press.
“What is the goal of an agrihood? Build neighborhoods where every neighbor participates in planting, harvesting and preserving — a real focus on sustainability,” he explained.
While the build should be integrated to the existing landscape, the build should be built to last in concert with the environment, Mr. Aazami says of this subsect of the marketplace.
“Imagine a build perhaps meant to last 40 to 50 years rather than the typical 10-year timeline in mind for luxury real estate proprietors,” he explained. “A practical property with foldable and disappearing walls and doors, transforming the use of a single space into many more. Depending on the time of the day, season and need the space can adapt.”
A shift toward sustainability in Arizona luxury real estate
As the luxury real estate consumer evolves so do the desires, Mr. Aazami explains of the growing desire for clients to feel connected to nature.
“It should be for all age groups although retirees may like to become more involved in order to enhance productivity; spirituality and sense of leadership,” he explained. “However, in recent years, we have seen a focus on luxury naturehoods targeting wealthy homebuyers fleeing major cities to move to more remote regions with the desire to be closer to nature.”
These homes that are found part of the natural landscape, or embedded within a farming utopia, are often not primary residences, Mr. Aazami explains.
“For many luxury buyers, these homes may not be their primary residence,” he explained. “For second-home property owners, there should be a whole other achievable green energy mindset for it to work.”
Getting out of the hustle and bustle of the human race found in New York City or the Bay Area has become a real desire in the market.
“We are seeing nature become more of a focus for nearly all new build communities in Arizona along with a heavy focus on sustainability,” Mr. Aazami explained.
“Karma in uptown Phoenix — scheduled for completion end of 2022 — for example will be the first community in the country to use SPAN electric panels, which can be controlled via smartphone. Not only are we seeing these sustainable changes within the Phoenix MSA but in Northern Arizona as well.”
As technology becomes faster, cheaper and more reliable, rural communities can offer a special kind of peace.
“Northern Arizona where basic utility infrastructure, roads, rails and airports provide access, affordable land and need for workforce housing is in need.” Mr. Aazami said. “Mindsets are behind these decisions, such as ‘if we design and build it, they will come,’ which has translated to sophisticated and mindful civil, agricultural engineers, architects and designers who value nature, style and longevity.”
Aside from typical green certifications, Mr. Aazami explains as with all things luxury, sustainability is an option.
“Rainwater collectors, greywater systems, bamboo flooring and green insulation of cork, rather than stucco walls are just a few options to feature in a sustainable home which can reduce water and electric use,” he said. “Cork, looks and feels like stucco; yet its mold and fire resistance, it does not crack and will retain its color for at least 10-12 years. I’m also realizing the transformation of using non paintable products to avoid contact aesthetic upgrades.”
Mr. Aazami explains the modern luxury homebuyer is prioritizing wellness at home, requesting features and amenities such as tranquility gardens, jetted pools, saunas, and steam showers, as well as massage rooms, yoga and Pilates studios, various cycling activities — all by an abundance of natural light.
“Always in pursuit of a combination of privacy and views from the primary bedroom including seamless, zero-grade indoor to outdoor extensions,” he said. “The popularity of water exercise has us searching for lap pools for clients. Here in Arizona, the demand for golf membership has spiked to where most clubs have announced at least a five- to 10-year wait time.”
Mr. Aazami points out typical requirements for clients are secure mail and delivery points as regular deliveries are commonplace.
“While we have seen ‘naturehoods’ and ‘agrihoods’ become more common in Arizona, developers, architects, engineers and landscapers are continuing to further embrace sustainability and the idea of nature focused communities. Interested in living in a luxury sustainable home? Private Client Group offers enhanced global real estate marketing services, tailored for best exposure and result.”