Shea Homes is no stranger to Phoenix. It’s been a major player in the metro area since 1989 and has built more than 25,000 homes across the Valley in its 27 years. In 2015, it held about 5% of the area’s home-builder market share, according to Metrostudy.

Now, Shea Homes has started construction on model homes at its newest Phoenix community – 24 North – which, when finished, will feature 111 two-story, single-family detached homes.

The 25.7-acre site was purchased from Evergreen-North Valley & Sonoran for $4.85 million. Ken Peterson, vice president of sales and marketing for Shea Home Arizona, says the new gated community should complement Phoenix’s job landscape nicely. “We are excited about this community, the type of homes we are bringing to market and the strong employment corridor which surrounds our community,” he says. “Before beginning construction at this community, we met with a large employer in the area and garnered extremely positive feedback from their employees regarding our community and this new product offering.”

Since the beginning of 2015, he says, the Phoenix market has been steadily improving, with escalations in employment growth, population growth, a strong resale market and some price appreciation.

According to Metrostudy, there was a 2.2% lift year-over-year in the average price of newly sold homes, reaching $346,198 per unit in January. Also, a total of 11,295 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in January, down from 11,347 for the year that ended in December.

Mark Boud, principal at Real Estate Economics, says the 24 North location is strong with convenient access to I-17, Route 303, and core job centers. Shea has done well in Maricopa County, of which Phoenix is a part, Boud adds, but mainly with its age-exclusive product – Trilogy by Shea Homes.

For 24 North to be a success, he says, pricing will be a key factor. “Much of the remaining improved residential land offered in Maricopa County has been overstated in price, with housing values needing to catch up to land prices,” Boud says. “Future appreciation is positive but not significant, so builders will need to be careful in avoiding land prices which will force them to overstate home prices. If Shea delivers in product, which they usually do, and if they are able to offer market-supported prices, this community will do very well.”

Homes may start in the high $200,000s, Peterson says. All homes will be two-story, and around 2,000 square feet with “very efficient backyards requiring very little maintenance.” Shea Homes also is introducing “progressive exterior architectural designs,” which are new to the area. “We are targeting two distinctive consumer groups: First-time home buyers and empty nesters with the desire to downsize,” he says.

The estimated opening has been moved up to July ahead of previous projections of this fall, Peterson says.

In 2016, Shea Homes Arizona will have 20 communities under construction, while Trilogy by Shea Homes in Arizona will have four communities being worked on, Peterson says.

Although he couldn’t disclose any details, Peterson says Shea Homes is continually seeking opportunities throughout the Phoenix metro area. The next couple years are shaping up to be busy for Peterson’s division in Arizona.