A condo as a second home is so popular in the Valley that in at least one amenity-rich condo community, 100 percent of the new condos have been purchased by seasonal residents. In other luxury communities, it’s common for at least 30 percent of the buyers to be part-time residents.

Family, friends and fabulous amenities
“Our buyers love to spend time in the Phoenix area and see owning a condo here as a way to easily enjoy the destination and have a place that feels like home,” said Tim Hundelt, a residential real estate expert with Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, representing Mountain Shadows Resort Condominiums in Paradise Valley, where all of the current owners also maintain a primary residence outside of the Valley.

Many of the second-home owners at Optima Kierland in Scottsdale have been visiting Arizona since they were kids, said David Hovey Jr., the president of Optima Inc., the designer, developer and general contractor for Optima Kierland. “Many have also been coming to the Valley for Spring Training or work conventions and fell in love with the area.” Some buyers have purchased more than one condo at Optima Kierland with the intention of customizing multiple units to turn them into one expansive residence.

“Many second-home buyers are retired and have family and friends who live here,” said Jeff Tallman, the consulting broker for HomeSmart, a real estate company based in Scottsdale. “They also like the many outdoor local activities, such as Cactus League Spring Training, the Waste Management Open, Barrett-Jackson collector car auction, Arabian horse show, Fiesta Bowl and Cactus Bowl, just to name a few. Buyers also appreciate that they can take day trips to Sedona, Prescott, Tucson and Flagstaff.

Lock-and-leave resort lifestyle
At Optima Kierland, buyers are looking for a lock-and-leave lifestyle, “in a resort -style community with the ability to walk across the street to countless entertainment, dining and shopping options,” Hovey said. “Optima Kierland has 16,000-plus square-feet of amenities, including a rooftop lap pool, spas, cold plunge, saunas, hydrotherapy, steam room, state-of-the-art gym, indoor basketball court, squash court and a golf simulator.”

At Mountain Shadows, buyers also love the resort amenities, Hundelt said, whether it’s golf at The Short Course, “aerial yoga or seasonal dishes at Hearth ’61.” Hearth ’61 is the restaurant at the resort that embraces the property’s rich history dating back nearly six decades. “There is an ease of ownership here that buyers love,” Hundelt said. “The resort amenities differ the most from their primary residences — being able to enjoy room service or walk down to the pool for craft cocktails.”

“Once they [potential buyers] see the units and all of the resort amenities and spaces, it becomes easy for them to picture themselves here.” — Tim Hundelt, Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International Realty, representing Mountain Shadows Resort Condominiums

Mountain Shadows condo owners also can take advantage of an optional rental program; the resort handles everything and the condo can be rented nightly as a suite by resort guests. “The majority of owners are choosing to take advantage of this program, particularly because this is not their primary residence,” Hundelt said.

Because a substantial percentage of second-home or vacation-home owners are retired, “working around the house or out in the yard can become a burden,” Tallman said. “One solution is to buy a condominium where homeowners’ associations maintain the common areas. For those who want more freedom and less maintenance, condominiums offer a wide range of choices.”

Timing is everything
All three condo representatives pointed out that the first several months of the calendar year are prime high season for condo buyers. Indeed, Hundelt said that January through March is not only the busiest time of year for the Mountain Shadows Resort, “but also our busiest season for condo sales.” Hovey said that at Optima Kierland, sales are “sprinkled throughout the year, but the concentration is in the spring.”
Tallman agreed, adding that in addition to springtime buying season, November and December have become busier than in previous years, “as more families spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in the Valley than in the past.